My short one week excursion to Germany was put in place for one reason, to attend W:O:A 2011. With that trip though, I did get to experience a few other places during my travels.
After the plane taking me from Oklahoma City to Houston International Airport was late, I knew it was not a good start to my expedition. Since my Oklahoma flight to Texas flight was tardy, I arrived in the ever so large Houston airport late, where I proceeded to run to the gate holding the plane that would take me to Europe. 7 minutes late for my 8 hour, 15 minute flight. They left. I was thinking to myself “I could have at least missed a flight in a different country, but nooo, I am just south of my home state. Still in the U.S.” There was not another plane scheduled to leave Houston for another 8 hours, so there I stayed in Houston until we boarded.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Following my 8 hour flight to Hamburg Airport I got my passport stamped, went to look for my bags of which were lost on a separate flight, and then went outside to look for a taxi. My first taxi ride. Kind of unbelievable to me too, but I guess I never really had a reason to grab a taxi back home. However, I found my taxi cab driver and climbed into the backseat of his BMW. Not speaking German, I just showed him the location I needed to get to, the Meininger Hotel in Hamburg. It was about a 30 minute drive. I admired all I could while relaxing in the comfortable backseats knowing I was on the right path to my destination.
When I arrived at the Meininger, I checked in and asked them to keep a lookout for my bags as they were to be delivered the following day.
Hamburg is a pretty neat little city, I liked it a lot. Very “European” as our American ideals reflect, and classic – kind of old, but in a good way. Lots of people were riding bikes and everything just seemed so peaceful; a very enjoyable atmosphere. I walked around for a bit taking everything in, and then decided to eat at a Chinese restaurant nearby. The best Chinese food I’ve ever had (at least until I went to Taiwan) – was not expecting that. I would have grabbed some authentic German food, but being a vegetarian, those options are limited.
I had a good night sleep and woke up hoping my luggage would be downstairs – it did finally arrive late morning. I was on my way to leave Hamburg to Wacken after all.
After returning from my exciting 3 day venture to Wacken Open Air 2011, I returned to my temporary humble abode at the Meininger. I stayed in Hamburg another 2 nights and while there took short ventures out to Schwevin and Berlin for exploration. In addition to riding in my first taxi upon arrival in Hamburg, I rode in my first train going to and from Berlin.
Berlin was not as I had expected, but still interesting. There were lots of statues and memorials from the war. Everything seemed pretty new since they did have to rebuild, but some walls in buildings still bore battle scars from bullets caught during the end of WWII. There was a nearby park, Großer Tiergarten, in the city center that I walked through for about an hour. Lots of memorials, and so much history that took place on the very soil I was walking.
My last night there I was amped up with excitement from the trip, not ready to go to bed or back home the next day – but I had to. I was glad I had the opportunity to experience a lot of firsts on my week vacation to Germany: first European trip, first cab, first train, and first multi-day music festival. Until we meet again, Germany. Until we meet again. It has been fun.