Monday, September 24, 2007

Our trip to Hamburg was great! We took the ICE (Inter-City Express) train there and it only took a few hours. The trains go about 250 miles per hour (406.9 km/h) and we enjoyed seeing the beautiful German countryside with the rolling mountains and rivers.

Once we arrived in Hamburg, we went to see Modest Mouse in concert at Fabrik, a concert hall in Altona that used to be a factory. The show was amazing even though Joe sustained injuries (a scratch across the face) from the mosh pit.

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Joe with the famous Schmitt Theatre

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Me with my favorite Hamburger beer, Astra.

The next day we bought a tour guide and made it our mission to check off as many sites as we could! We bought day passes for the public transportation and saw lots of great places. Hamburg is a shipping city with more bridges than Venice and more canals than Amsterdam.

We spent our last night in Hamburg on the Reeperbahn. The Reeperbahn is like Halloween and Las Vegas mixed together, and everything stays open and busy all night. After bar crawling and going to coffee shops all night, we went to the Fischmarkt at 5am and had fresh Berliner donuts, coffee, and sandwiches. The Fischmarkt was enormous and had lots of fish, produce, meat, and all kinds of vendors with clothing and things like honey. When we got to the final part of the Fischmarkt, there was a building with a live band (before 6am! and everyone was dancing and eating after their big night and there were also older people who woke up early.

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The view from the Fischmarkt of the river.

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A view from upstairs where the band was playing in a beautiful old factory.

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Joe and the Fischmarkt building...after a very long night of drinking.

We had a really great time in Hamburg and we are looking forward to Berlin this weekend!
We've been in the new place for almost two weeks now! I took a video of the place when we first got in, but we had no furniture. We just had a huge shipment of furniture, so I'll take another video soon.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Snapshots of the city

These pictures really can't capture how exciting and active the city is, but I will post them just so people can get an idea of what the place is like.

This was taken at the bus stop down the street from my school (Schiller International University - Heidelberg). It shows the variety of traffic and how there are separate lanes for trams, drivers, bikers, and walkers. There are also specific areas for the bus to pull over so that it doesn't stop traffic.

We took the train to the Hauptbahnhof (train station) to get rail passes for our upcoming trip to Hamburg to see Modest Mouse and the tunnel through the mountain was really cool to me.

This is Joe at the Max-Weber-Haus. He'll be taking intensive language lessons there this week.

This is a shot from the Hauptstrasse where you can see Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) and all the outdoor cafes.

Just beyond this picture is the old footbridge where they have lots of beautiful sculptures and the views are spectacular.

This is a map of the Altstadt (Old City) area. We're going to be living on Schlossberg Strasse (Castle Mountain Street) which is a very steep hill and only takes a few minutes to walk to/from Hauptstrasse (Main Street) where it is divided between really great pubs, cafes, "culture bars", and a huge shopping district. There are also two really big churches with beautiful bell towers.

Yesterday we took a hike up the mountain for a tour of the Heidelberg Castle and the view was phenomenol! They also had fireworks off the Altbruecke (Old Bridge) that were breathtaking. The boats in the Neckar were all out for the fireworks and it seemed like everyone in the entire area was crowded around the river for the festivities. No pictures of the fireworks, but here are some of the castle!

This is me with the castle in the background from the opposite side of the river.

This is taken at the castle, with Joe keeping watch of the city of Heidelberg.

This is me inside the castle with das grosse Fass (the big vat) where they can keep 48,000 gallons of wine.