Dienstag, 11. März 2008


A couple weekends ago Jenny had a NECIS (International School) Basketball tournament in Hamburg, Germany. Jenny left school early on Friday with the team and mom, Tim, and I drove up a little later in the day. With traffic the drive wound up taking a little longer than we expected (just over 4 hours), so we went straight to Jenny’s first game at ISH (the International School of Hamburg). The ISD Alts did very well and won their first game 61-12. Due to a faulty scorer, or scoring machine, the final score appeared as ISH 12 - ISD 3, but I kept score the whole time and know what really went down. Mom, Tim, and I drove to the hotel afterwards, inadvertently through St. Pauli, the well-established Red Light District of Hamburg, while Jenny went home with housers from the other team. Then we went out for seafood on the harbour. I haven’t had seafood in a while and it was great!

The next morning we woke up and went to another one of Jenny’s games. The Alts won 38-10, so overall it was a very successful tournament! The team took the bus back to Düsseldorf, but Jenny stayed with us to explore Hamburg. We started off by taking a bus tour of the city to get oriented. Hamburg is really quite beautiful, especially some of the areas around the Alster (a large lake in the middle of the city). Fun fact: apparently Hamburg has more bridges than London, Amsterdam, or Venice! After the bus ride we walked on our own past the impressive Rathaus and the very Italian-looking shopping esplanade near the Alster. We made a pit-stop at Starbucks to warm-up for a bit and found out we weren’t the only ones who had the idea – it, and every other coffee house in the city, were packed. We walked back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. We wound up going to a place called the Old Commercial Room – a Hamburg institution, which of course served great fish. The Old Commercial Room’s list of famous guests was impressive and included the likes of Sting, George Clooney, and maaaany more people I have since forgotten.

On Sunday we woke up and enjoyed the massive breakfast buffet at the hotel. There are so many nationalities in Europe that hotel breakfasts aim to make everyone happy, so there was American breakfast food, German food (mostly meat), sushi, etc. There was everything you could ever want. It was great. Then we drove back into the city and checked out St. Nikolai’s Church, or what used to be a church. St. Nikolai’s is the bombed-out remains of a once-grand church that was the tallest building in the world from 1874-1876 and was ruined in the Second World War. Its steeple is the second tallest in all of Europe after the Kölner Dom. We made sure to stop by Europa Passage for some shopping afterwards. We were especially excited to shop because it was a Sunday and most places in Germany are closed on Sundays. But since I was listening on our bus tour I figured out that the shop owner’s in “Europa Passage” (a large shopping arcade in old town Hamburg) elected to hold their own opening hours and were therefore open on Sundays. When we finally got to Europa Passage we discovered that my German is not as good as I thought it was and everything was closed. So much for getting our hopes up. Maybe next time. Disappointed and dreading the 4-hour drive home we got some more Starbucks and got going. It was a short getaway, but we had enough time to figure out that Hamburg is definitely worth a trip back.

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