January 15th, 2015
Copenhagen Central Station, Copenhagen, Denmark.
No time for the hangover this morning. I’m up at the crack of dawn to catch my train to Germany. I wander bleary-eyed through the expansive train station, attempting to make sense of the never-ending riddles written in Danish around me. After a solid 20-minutes of attempting to match the German words on my ticket to a Danish train schedule and platform, I finally break down and approach an attendant who has just finished helping some very lost Japanese tourists. He’s an older gentleman, who greets me with a big smile and eager “Hallo!”, I show him my ticket and he enthusiastically points me to platform “D”. I haven’t taken a long-haul train ride in a long time, but I figure there’s no more fitting way to enter Germany than by train. And, of course, its the cheapest option, costing me just €39 (around $45). The journey is slated to take just a little over 5 hours and I’m excited for the scenery along the way.
DB Bahn Train from Copenhagen to Hamburg
The train curves over a series of narrow bridges linking the little islands of Denmark together. Bays, marshes, fields and seascapes unfold across the windows and as tired as I am, I can’t help but watch them fly by. My eyes eventually grow heavy and I catch up on a few hours of sleep I desperately need.
My eyes open to see the mainland of Germany rushing past us, little hamlets cloistered together in the country soon give way to the bustling cityscape of Hamburg. Up until this point, I have had a rough idea of where I was going and what I was going to do, but Germany is totally uncharted territory, and most of what I know about it comes from wartime history lessons. I’m curious to see what lies deeper and what the city has to offer.
Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, Hamburg, Germany
I disembark the train and begin to wind my way towards my hostel, but I’m starving. Inside the train station is your normal fast-options, I opt for a little taste of home, a quick McDonalds meal. Before I order, I nervously practice some simple German in an attempt to ease the process. Once I get to the counter, clearly my accent or my pronunciation are garbage because the cashier immediately begins speaking to me in English. Mildly embarrassed, I grab my sack of food and head out into the streets of the city.
Generator Hostel, Hamburg, Germany
I wasn’t able to find a couch surfing host for Hamburg so I’ve opted to stay at the centrally located Generator Hostel. It’s located right next to the train station, there is a large bar downstairs and it’s decked out in ultra-modern decor. The check-in attendant is kind and courteous and I head up to my room to drop my bags. The rooms are simple, clean and modern, nothing exceptional but just enough to have a place to lay my head, and the price is right at just €14.50 ($17) a night for a bunk in a 6 bed dorm. Once I’m settled in, I head to the bar for a quick drink before I hit the city.
I begin to wander the streets of Hamburg, no real direction in particular. The city is remarkably new-looking, with shiny buildings flanking the harbor. I wander to Rathausmarkt, a square made infamous by the most infamous of Germans. The ornate architecture of the city hall is striking and beautiful, with its spire rising well above everything else in the area.
I wander a bit more until I get tired and then head back to the hostel to sleep and recover before getting up early again to join the walking tour in the morning.
Next up, walking tour and a museum filled with tiny people!