My last day in Hamburg was perfect. I slept in, then Svenja and I had brunch before hitting the town. I had been eating vegan sausages for breakfast every day (weird?), and today was no exception. Vegan sausage + coffee + tangerine = one happy Amanda.

Anyway, we got ready, put on matching hats, took a selfie, then hit the town. Still a little learning to do with the camera.

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Before going into the city, we stopped by the local farmers market. This one vendor was selling apples with little designs on them! She put a sticker on each one, and the sun didn’t brighten the spot where the sticker was. Before she put them out for sale, she took the stickers off. Genius!

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So cool. And, as always, I am obsessed with the flower carts.

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After our walk through, we hopped on the next bus and took off toward the warehouse district. I get most excited about the weirdest things in each city, and in Hamburg I really wanted to find the one building that stands alone in the water. I’d seen it in pictures but I hadn’t been able to find it on my own. Luckily I had my tour guide, Svenja, for the day. Which means we (she) found it, of course.

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Hallelujah!

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I got a nice touristy picture. And then we attempted the selfie mode on the camera again. If anyone knows how to take a selfie using a digital camera without it being blurry, please enlighten me.

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Following the epic stand alone building, we wandered around downtown. We got some coffee, hit up the ice skating park (to watch the kids, not to skate ourselves!), and then wandered down to the touristy shop so I could get a postcard for Jeppe. We walked past a mini castle, and I asked Svenja what it was. I thought it must be some really fancy government thing?

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I was kind of right. It was the police station. A pretty fancy police station, if you ask me. I snapped a quick pic and then we took off, because we were on a mission. One of the things I was most excited to do, go to my first European brewery!

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I got a taster tray, which comes with five little tasters. Luckily I got a couple pictures, because my camera battery died immediately after this picture. I think it was a signal to enjoy the moment!

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The beers were all very good, the IPA was my favorite (no surprise).

It was a great ending to my time in Hamburg!

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On my third day in Hamburg, I decided it would be nice to have a more relaxed day. I woke up late, made breakfast and coffee, and took a long shower. I wanted to explore the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day; it had rained in the morning and the sun was slowly trying to come out from behind the clouds. I got ready and headed outside.

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There is an adorable park down the street from where I’m staying.

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I love the little orange play toys.

I headed down to the main street to do some window shopping.

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I am amazed at the flower shops they have here.

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The roses were delectable.

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They even had Christmas bouquets all made up.

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And mini Christmas trees!

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I love the greenery.

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Next, it was off to lunch. I passed the gluwein stand, and was a little tempted to grab a glass.

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But I stayed focused. I had found a raw food restaurant a couple days before that I wanted to try out.

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That’s what I’m talking about!

I got the raw burger with a side of kale salad. It was delicious.

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Next up, kaffe?

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I headed to the grocery store to pick up some vegetables, and miraculously left with a beer.

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How odd! I’m not sure how that ended up in my cart.

I was super excited to find an IPA in Germany. It reminded me a little bit of home.

All in all, a happy ending to a good day! Here I am, being happy.

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I arrived in Hamburg around 3:30 PM on Tuesday. Svenja (my host in Hamburg) was going to meet me at the Central Station when she got off work, so I had some time to check it out. I love train stations. I think they are so cute and I love seeing all of the people hustling and bustling, catching trains and buses. I like to imagine where they are headed off to.

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Since I had some time, I figured I should try a German pretzel and beer! I found a little place in the station serving beer and pretzels, and had myself a seat. I got my pretzel and beer, but – interesting fact – most of the places in Germany are cash only. Since I had just come from Denmark (which uses Danish krones, not euros), I didn’t have any money on me. Luckily the woman trusted me enough to let me go find an ATM. Crisis one, averted!

I met Svenja at Starbucks in the Central Station, and we took off on a bus toward her apartment. The buses in Europe are insanely busy, which meant that there was standing room only. My goal for this trip is to not fall down on a bus. So far, so good.

Once we got to Svenja’s apartment, I threw down my backpack, and we decided to hit the town. She lives a little north of Abenalster lake, so we walked through her adorable little neighborhood and a little bit down by the lake. IMG_8928.jpg

We stopped at a little Italian restaurant and got dinner. I had a gnocchi with vegetables and a glass of Merlot. It was the perfect ending to a long day of travel.

Day 1: Amanda tries to do everything 

The next day, I woke up at 6:30, raring to go. I get so excited when I’m in a new place, I just want to get up and explore. I got ready, but soon realized the sun doesn’t come up until 8:15 AM. I waited until it got light, and then sprinted out the door. I stopped at a little coffee shop on the way to the city center. It was adorable. They had vegan breakfast sandwiches! There are so many vegan options here, it is really incredible.

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I headed back out into the super cold 45 degree weather and started my journey around the lake. It is so beautiful here. There are a ton of people running and biking around the lake. Finally, I got to the city center. It’s adorable!

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I wandered around for a bit, until I found St Michaelis church. There is a tower on top, which of course I went to the top of to get a great view of the city. I attempted a panorama on my iPhone.

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There is a bit of a learning curve with that one.

The view is amazing!

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After the tower, I wandered around to HafenCity, the old warehouse district. It is filled with these beautiful old buildings, separated by canals.

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Super cool!

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One side of the street is old, and just on the other side of the canal, the buildings are new. There are places in Hamburg with older and newer buildings interspersed. This is because a lot of the older buildings got wiped out from bombs in World War 2.

After wandering around the old warehouse district, I found the town hall, which had a massive Christmas market in front of it.

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That is one impressive building! I wandered through the Christmas market for a bit, looking at all of the merchants with homemade alpaca scarves, chocolates, and gluwein for sale. The Christmas markets are the place to be here – they are packed!

I was a little tired after all that excitement, so I headed back around the lake and to the apartment. I found my future home on the way back.

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It will be hard to choose between this one or the castle in Sweden.

When Svenja got off work, she met me at the apartment, and we headed off to get some German gluwein! The German gluwein is totally different than the Danish glogg. They are both equally delicious! Apparently the gluwein in Germany is served to children, and the adults get it with a shot of amaretto in it. I am technically an adult…. so I had to try it.

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Another perfect ending to a great day!

Day 2: The Harbor and Alter Elbtunnel

The next day, I decided to take it a little easier. I like to track my steps to see how far I walk, and I had walked 15 miles the day before! It was a little tiring, to say the least. I slept in a bit, which helped. I got ready and headed out around the lake again. It’s a long walk, but it’s so beautiful that I can’t bring myself to take a train or bus. Plus, I usually prefer walking through new cities. It’s the best way to see the sights!

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There is a little Christmas market on the edge of the lake.

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I decided to head over to the harbor on this day. It was a little cloudy, but the harbor is stunning. These pictures do NOT do it justice.

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The little red boat was all decorated for Christmas.

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All of the little boats on the little canal. So precious.

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I even got another pretzel. No one can hold me back when I see a pretzel for sale.

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After the harbor, I headed over the the Alter Elbtunnel – it’s an underground tunnel that connects HafenCity to the mainland. It isn’t super long, but it was fun to walk through.

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After all of the excitement of the day, I headed back home. I walked through the Christmas market by the lake on the way. You can pretend that random Asian girl is me.

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Svenja and I finished the day with chocolate and red wine. Is there anything better? No.

I am loving Germany so far!

 

 

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Sunday In Sweden

I was feeling a little restless. I needed a change of scenery. So what do you do in this situation? Go to another country for a day!

Jeppe and Estelle told me that I could get to Malmo, Sweden from Copenhagen in less than one hour. Sign me up! I decided on Saturday night that I would like to go there the next day. Jeppe helped me look up tickets, he gave me very detailed instructions on how to get to the bus, and I convinced myself that I could do this without getting lost. And by some kind of miracle, I made it there without missing any buses!

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Malmo had A TON of Christmas trees, lights, carolers, they even had a Christmas parade in the square! There was a Christmas fair going on with a giant snow globe containing light up reindeer, penguins, and Christmas trees. The other igloo had “ice cubes” to sit on to watch a live band. Way to go, Sweden!

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Of course I made friends with the live reindeer.

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I mostly wanted to see the Malmo castle, which has recently been turned into a museum. There were quite a few exhibits on display, my favorite being one about sustainability. They talked about everything that Sweden is doing to become more sustainable, which I am all about.

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I loved seeing the castle and going inside. I felt like I belong there. (ahem, insert princess emoji here)

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After the castle, I roamed around the city center for a bit. There were heaps of shops and Christmas decorations. Some of the shops were closed because it was Sunday.

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I am so amazed by the buildings – they are all massive!

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Malmo also has a canal running around the city center – and you know how I feel about canals!

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After walking through the city center, I went over to the harbor to watch the sun set over the Baltic Sea. It was cloudy, so not much of a sunset, but the harbor is beautiful! I love the lighthouse out there.

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My arms were getting tired from all of the selfies by this time, so I went inside Central Station and had a good look around. I popped into the bookshop, bought a book, and then had a nice long read with a cup of tea. The sun sets around 4 PM here, which I am still getting used to, but it makes for cozy nights.

Next up – Germany! Stay tuned 🙂

 

 

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Copenhagen: Part 2

This is Part 2 of my time in Copenhagen, Denmark. To read Part 1, click here.

Luckily, I survived the jet lag from Day 1 in Copenhagen. I spent the next two days doing these super cool things:

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Day 2: The Church Tower & Christiana

I started off day 2 with coffee from Baresso, which is the local version of Starbucks. They are everywhere in Copenhagen, so I had to try it! I got an Americano. They gave me a huge one, which worked out well for what was to come. Maybe they knew what kind of day I was getting in to.

I took my coffee to go and headed toward the Church of Our Savior, which is an amazing church. The architecture is incredible. There is a tower that goes super high up and you can get a great view of the city from there. Side note: you are climbing extremely narrow and steep staircases to get up there. No one gave me this warning, but luckily I’m one tough girl.

It was worth climbing all those stairs once I reached the top.

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That’s what I’m talking about.

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It was freezing up there! I thought my hat was actually going to blow off of my head. Thankfully I had my massive cuppa coffee to keep me warm.

I decided to head over to Rosenburg Garden & Castle next, but I was starting to get hit hard again by jet lag. I walked through the gardens, but didn’t have the energy to walk through the castle. I decided to stop by the grocery store and head home for the afternoon/night. I ate bread and hummus for dinner before dying of exhaustion. I ended up sleeping 17 hours that night. Amanda=1, Jet lag=0.

Day 3: All the Cool Things 

After seeing all of the touristy destinations, I wasn’t sure where to go next. Luckily, Jeppe had time to spend with me on Saturday! As a local, he knows of all the cool places that most tourists don’t know to visit. First, we went to a park called Superkilen – it has a really cool concept behind it. It was designed by a famous Danish architect who goes by his initials, BIG. He took pieces from around the world and put them all together in this huge, functional park.

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It is separated into sections – black, green, and red.

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It is really fun to see and play around on. It might be a little more fun in the summer, when it is dry and warm, but I would definitely recommend checking this out. My pictures do NOT do it justice.

Next, we went by a Christmas market and a huge graveyard. I didn’t get very many good pictures of this, but the graveyard was really gorgeous, and the market was so fun. I’m not usually a seeker of graveyards, but this one was superbly done, and had a few famous philosophers buried in it.

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Post-graveyard, we needed a little pick me up, so we headed to the “food hall” as Jeppe calls it. It reminded me of the Oxbow Market in Napa; it is a huge building with a lot of little markets inside. We scurried around and tried samples from all of the vendors before settling down at a cafe table with warm drinks. I tried my first glogg, which is a Danish holiday drink made of mulled red wine with almonds, raisins and warming spices. It was very good, I would definitely recommend trying it out!

After the glogg, we needed some real food, so we headed to Riz Razz Steaks and Veggies, which has a vegetarian/vegan buffet. I was so happy to get my fill of fresh vegetables and pita bread with hummus.  I have a serious obsession with hummus.

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On the way there, we walked over a canal as the sun was setting. It was amazing.

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Next we headed to a jazz bar, where I had my first Danish Christmas beer. Yum! Coupled with a live band and a warm venue, it was the perfect ending to the night.

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