Wedel and long weekends

29 05 2012

Whew. A nice start back to work after a long weekend. It was Memorial Day in the US, but thanks to the German celebration of Pentecost (Pfingsten, they call it), we also had a day off here. The weather even played along, so we took full advantage of it!

Tobias and I went to Wedel twice – took our bikes on the S-Bahn and headed out to the end of the line. That’s where the Welcome Point is for ships coming to the Hamburg port, and it’s a gorgeous area near the water and it even has a very nice beach area — much nicer than at Övelgönne — where you really get the feeling that you’re on vacation at the beach. God, I love living near the water!

And, to top it all off, Tobias and I found the perfect spot there where we could hang our hammock. Shaded under the trees, but still with a beautiful view of the harbor. We read, dozed and enjoyed watching the ships sail past and listening to the national anthems that were played at the Welcome Point whenever a new ship came in. We loved it so much on Saturday that we went back again on Sunday.

Life is good. Summer is here in Hamburg, even though it’s a bit chillier than what I would call summer, everybody’s breaking out the barbecues and sitting on the beach.

And good news! The painter finally finished up on Friday, which meant that we could finally spend some time getting the apartment back in order and our lives back to normal. It’s still not quite there yet, but we are already feeling a lot more zen about our clean[er] living space. Less clutter = more peace of mind. There was a thin layer of dust on everything, so it was a lot of intensive cleaning, but we saved it for Monday and then rewarded ourselves with an ice cream cone and spent the evening with friends down at the harbor and had a lovely evening of barbecue and frisbee as we caught the last few hours of sunlight.



Tag der Arbeit

1 05 2012

May 1st is Labor Day here in Germany, and we were graced with sunny and warm weather on our day off from work. We took full advantage of it down by the Elbe on the beach, with strawberries to snack on and a beer and lunch from a nearby restaurant. Life is good.

Here’s what our day looked like:

Now we’re back home, things have been tidied up just a bit around the apartment, and for dinner, the asparagus quiche cooking up in the oven right now.

Happy May!

On my next IKEA wishlist

12 03 2012

It’s getting to be springtime and I am eagerly awaiting the day when I won’t need my big, bulky winter coat anymore. Every winter, it always gets to the point where enough is enough. True spring weather probably won’t come to Hamburg for at least another month and a half, if not longer. I’m not getting my hopes up.

But with all of the stores advertising for Easter and introducing more brightly colored clothes and shoes, I am definitely in the mood for spring.

A few days ago, we got a little magazine from IKEA introducing their new line of products. So I think  it will soon be time to go back there again and pick up a few new things!

On my wishlist are:

SOLVINDEN solar lights – 14.99 € – this pop of color would be so perfect for our balcony on a spring/summer night!

GRENÖ pillows – 12.99 € – I don’t usually go for yellow, but I love the stripes!

TINDRA scented candle – 1.99 € – I usually get the cinnamon ones, but springtime calls for a new scent – green apple!

ANGENÄM bowl – 19.99 € –  it’s not necessarily springy, but I’m very into gold right now!

ANTONIUS drying rack – 9.99 € – I like that this one hangs on the balcony and would provide just a little bit of extra space so we could sit outside and let the clothes dry at the same time!

BÄRBAR tray – 6,99 € – Colorful birdies – it can’t get more springy than that!

IKEA 365+ Étagère – 14,99 € – This is probably difficult to store when not in use, but this would be perfect for the wedding-related lunches we plan on hosting at my house!

All images from the IKEA website. Click on the photo to go to their original (German) page!  This post is not sponsored or anything – I just really like IKEA!


Sort of a snow day

27 01 2012


I’m pretending today is a snow day. We do have about an inch of snow (our first snow that has stuck this winter!), but now that I’m an adult, of course work isn’t canceled when there’s snow. Especially in Hamburg. They’re so much better at dealing with the snow than the DC/MD/VA area!

But I only had one early class this morning, after which I went back home and went right to sleep.  Since I don’t have to work this afternoon, I’m just going to pretend that the rest of the day was canceled due to the snow, just like the good old days!

Remember that feeling as a kid when school was canceled? It was so exciting because those days were always so few and far in between that it was really special. We could finally pull out those sleds we got for Christmas and spend the day making snowmen, having snowball fights with the neighborhood kids, or sledding down the neighbor’s big hill. Those days were absolutely marvelous, and there was always a cup of hot chocolate ready for us when we got back inside. One year, I remember making a spray bottle with water and yellow food coloring, and my brother Jonathan and I laughed ourselves silly as we went around to every tree and sprayed the base of it yellow as if our dog had peed there. Yellow snow!

Now that I’m an adult, I’m happier to stay inside, eat a bagel and drink hot chocolate and just keep everything cozy. We’re going snowboarding in Austria next weekend for one week, so I’ll get to “play” in the snow then!

Happy snow day, Hamburgers!


Sunniest day of the year

7 01 2012

Today it’s back to gray and gloomy. But yesterday’s weather was absolutely phenomenal, and officially the best weather of 2012 thus far. Just look at this!

Tobias and I have a certain little Biergarten in mind for our wedding reception location, and we went down to visit it again. We had some latte macchiatos and shared a piece of a deliciously rich chocolate cake and tried to envision our decorating plans for the place. We had talked to the Chefin (boss lady!) the week before, and she was there again so we asked her about a few more things, such as bad weather back-up plan (tents possible!), lighting and décor. She advised us to write her an email with all of the details we have in mind, and then she will get back to us with costs.

I hope this place works out. It’s quirky, and a little different. It’s near the harbor. It’s just a 5-minute walk away from the church. So Tobi and I have plans this weekend to draft that email.

After we had finished checking out our possible reception place, we walked down to the harbor. The (relatively) new Hamburg Cruise Center’s rooftop was open, so we climbed the steep stairs up there to have a nice view of the harbor. The top is decorated with blue pieces of glass, which was probably designed to imitate the look of the water. The glass sparkled in the sun, and the seagulls were hanging out quite contentedly, and we enjoyed being out in the sun. It’s been so long since I last wore my sunglasses!

So thanks for the sunny day, Hamburg. It made me fall in love with you all over again! It’s a nice reminder of how beautiful this city can really be.


First Snow(s)

7 12 2011

Monday morning I was teaching at a company and I had paired up the students for partner work. There was an odd number of people, so I partnered up with one of the students. After finishing our task, we got to talking my partner and I were saying how there hasn’t been any snow yet this year, and that this time last year we had snow.

And wouldn’t you know it, 5 minutes later, I was back up at the front of the class teaching again and looked out the window and I exclaimed, “IT’S SNOWING!” And for the next 10 minutes or so, it continued to do so in big, puffy flakes. It was just lovely and, I must admit, a teensy bit distracting during class.

It snowed again as I was walking back to the metro, so when I got there I took a picture and a little video as evidence. Turns out Tobi also took a video for me from our window in case I didn’t see the snow.

So let it be recorded for this year: our first snow in Hamburg was on Monday morning, December 5.

Our second snow came not too much later. We had some more last night, as well as this morning. Luckily, it didn’t stick to the ground. I mean, I do appreciate a lot of snow every once in a while, but I don’t like the day after when everything gets muddy and gross. So as far as I’m concerned, our first snow was the best of both worlds: seeing the snow fall and having it not stick to the ground.

Any signs of the fluffy white stuff where you live yet?


Cold feet

25 11 2011

I spend far more time outside these days now that I live in Germany. It’s a Europe thing, I think, or at least a city thing, because I walk to many more places. On the one hand, I don’t have to worry about scraping ice off the windows of my car or having to hold onto a cold steering wheel. That’s one thing I don’t miss about driving in the winter for sure, not to mention the added danger of slippery roads from snow and ice.

But on the other hand, I find it hard to choose footwear on cold winter days. My hiking boots are warm, as are my snow boots, but I don’t want to have to wear those all day long while I teach. As soon as the bulky jackets and coats come off, it’s funny how out of place big boots look on my feet with my normal work attire.

However, when I wear regular shoes, my feet are freezing (sometimes quite literally). While my heels stay warm enough when I wear high-heeled shoes, the toes are still close enough to the ground that they freeze too.

Maybe I could bring back platform shoes like it’s 1999. But me being a trend-setter is not really all that conceivable. So what else can I do?

At the shoe stores recently, I’ve seen two different types of sole inserts for your shoes which are supposed to help keep in the warmth, or so they say. One version is with lamb’s wool, and the other with aluminum. But I’m a little skeptical.

Has anyone ever used any of these types of inserts before? Do they really help, or will I have to invest in a pair of platformed shoes after all?

What’s your go-to for cold-weather footwear, especially you city-dwellers? 


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