Alstervergnügen

21 02 2012

I’m sure you’ve heard of Fahrvergnügen thanks to the Volkswagen ad from 1990. (No? Check it out!) Well, we’ve got something different in Hamburg. Two Sundays ago now, right after we got back from snowboarding, we headed out with thousands of other people (750,000 in 3 days) onto the big frozen lake in the center of town for the first Alstervergnügen party in 15 years!

Every winter, if the Alster freezes over, the local government double-checks the stability of the ice. If it reaches 20cm thickness, the authorities clear it for safety and then the Alstervergnügen can officially take place. But that doesn’t happen every year, so it was something quite special this time around.  Two years ago, in 2010, Tobi and I also went out onto the ice, but it hadn’t been quite thick enough then for the government’s stamp of approval. This time, however, there were even booths along the side of the river (though not on the ice) where you could get Glühwein or hot waffles or a number of other goodies.

Anyway, it was fun (as the name suggests – Alster fun!) going out there. Thousands of other people were on the ice, slipping and sliding, ice skating, sledding…winter fun galore! Even though Tobias and I were wearing our hiking boots, it was quite slippery! It was probably pretty awesome for those who had ice skates, except for the places in the middle of the lake that had big ragged chunks of ice sticking up. That’s something you don’t want to trip over or fall on, that’s for sure!

Look at those chunks of ice!

I’m so glad we got back in time to go experience this! And even though they say pictures tell a thousand words, I think you’ll get a better idea of the fun if I share a video:

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