Today is a national holiday here in Germany celebrating the unification of east and west Germany! To celebrate Germany Unification Day, today's post is about life in Hamburg.
First and foremost, life in Hamburg, especially since we've been here during the most gorgeous time of year weather wise, is all about the water. There's the large lake near where we live called the Alster, the smaller lake to the south of the lake near old town called the Benin Alster, both the Hamburg River and Elbe Rivers, and many stunning canals weaving through the city in between. Hamburgers are very active and always out and about enjoying the lake, whether that be laying out and catching some sun waterside, having a drink at one of the many waterside cafes, cycling, walking or running around the water, or taking a boat ferry, row boat, paddle boat or kayak out, locals are great at enjoying all the water Hamburg has to offer. I personally have been on a mission to gain my endurance for distance running back, and have enjoyed running around Lake Alster and beyond for a total of 35 miles ran since being here in Germany.
We have also done our best to take advantage of the gorgeous weather by dining outside, on the water if able, as much as possible at Hamburg's many outdoor restaurants and cafes. Early on in our stay here as a welcome to Hamburg dinner, Richard's work took he and I on a team dinner at an adorable beach club style bar/restaurant on the Elbe River called the Strandperle. I've since taken my mom to their sister bar on the Alster called Alsterperle. Also while my mom was here, we enjoyed rooftop snacks and drinks at Block Bräu brew pub in St. Pauli complete with Elbe River views, as well as had dinner and craft beer at Ratsherrn Brauerei, Hamburg's own craft brewery bar in Sternschanze. While traditional German food definitely hasn't proven to be my favorite, the ever classic pretzel and pilsner combination is tried and true and has become a not so healthy new go to.
Hamburg also has plenty of impressive architecture to take in, including the stunning Rothhaus city hall, the architecturally modern and unique Elbphilharmonie opera house, and the many old pristine churches that together create a skyline full of steeples. Richard and I caught panoramic views of the city after having climbed over 450 steps up to the top of St. Michael's Cathedral, and he, my mom and I enjoyed views of the Elbe Riverfront from a port boat tour.
While we've been in Hamburg nearly six weeks now, getting to know and feel comfortable in the city has been a bit of a slow process for me especially. We've been away traveling for half of the weekends since we've been here in Europe, and opportunities for Richard and I to enjoy weekday leisure in the city together are made difficult by our opposing work schedules. While we're super grateful for the opportunity to be here, had Richard's company not had their European headquarters here, Hamburg wouldn't have been our first choice of European cities to live in as expats. The city is super charming and the locals are very friendly, though I personally prefer a place with a bit more cultural diversity, as the city is very rich in German culture, but it doesn't feel very multicultural. Irregardless of our exact locale, the experience has been a challenging, mind expanding, outside of my comfort zone opportunity for personal growth. Having lived in now four states and two counties, it's safe to say my abilities to be adaptable and flexible are ever challenged. The opportunity to live as expats has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for which I will be eternally grateful to my husband for making happen.
Next on deck is a London post, and somewhere in between I have to tell you about our one night in Amsterdam. For now, tschüss!