What to do with one day in Germany, or zwei or drei

Midlife Sentence | Lüneburg Am Sande

It has happened before: regardless of what Einstein said about the definition of insanity, we’ve done the exact same thing we’ve always done and had something totally unexpected happen. Take this trip, for example. We’ve had such good luck finding lodging with minimal knowledge about where we were going or extra wads of cash to spend. Even when we were in Copenhagen, and I’d made our airbnb reservations after reading exactly one article on how cool the Nørrebro neighborhood is, we ended up getting a hip, little flat in what turned out to be the neighborhood about which everyone we’ve talked to since has made that sucking-air-through-your-teeth-sound at, even then we had good luck.

That luck-with-the-lodging thing kind of went pfhht in Hamburg.

I mean, the room was okay, and the price was right, but the neighborhood was gross. It was loud and dirty and there was a big World of Sex store down on the corner. Granted, it’s close to the train station, which is something we look at when we try to get away with not renting a car (which we did anyway, and the traffic in Hamburg is typical of a big city – horrible). But on the other side of the tracks, there was the swanky neighborhood. How’d we not end up there?

I felt like Will Smith in that zombie movie, keeping track of the sunset because I wanted us all safe inside when it got dark out around that place.

Midlife Sentence | Hamburg
Where not to stay in Hamburg – Sketchy Steindamm Strasse – This picture doesn’t do it justice

Fortunately, Hamburg redeems itself with some nice looking areas, particularly around the Alster Lakes, which were within walking distance from our crappy ‘hood. We also saw the Hamburg Rathaus, the outside of the 18th century Saint Michael’s Church (Hamburg’s best known landmark), and, because it was a shopping area, the inside of Zara’s, Jack’s favorite clothing store.

I’d have rather seen the inside of Saint Michael’s, but there was a sale, so…

The next day we took a train to Lüneburg, about 30 minutes away, and the place in which we wish we would have booked a hotel. We were there to tour Leuphana University with Jack, who is interested in studying abroad after high school. The school has a great international business program and is smaller, with about 9,000 students.

If he decides not to study there, I know of a couple of parents who would be interested.

From the university it’s a short walk to the medieval town square Am Sande, where we finally got to sit and have something to drink while we people watched.

So, northern Germany redeemed itself, post Hamburg (I kid. Germany didn’t have to do any redeeming. We’ve been to other parts of Germany before, and every experience has been wonderful until Steindamm Strasse).

On the way back to Denmark, we stopped at Flensburg for lunch, another cute German town, where I took some shots of the harbor and oldtown.

while there, I kept seeing these graffiti images of cats in alleyways. I thought they were interesting, and I rather had fun looking for them so I could get photos, until some members of our party thought I was going too slow and that I should get a move on. I’m sorry to say, I haven’t been successful in finding out what the deal is with these cats. Sorry, folks.

I haven’t had any better luck figuring out the shoe thing in Flensburg. Norderstraße (Northern Street) in Flensburg, is named by the New Yorker travel magazine Travel as one of the world’s strangest streets, and there are a few ideas as to what the shoes are about: commemoration of graduation, coming of age in northern Germany, extreme bullying, but my typical thirty seconds of internet research has yielded nothing as yet, so I’ll just share pictures. There were thousands of shoes hanging overhead. I only was able to get a few photos, because I was apparently still slowing people down.

Oh, and here is a photo collage of our family failing at taking selfies. Hope you like it as much as we ended up yelling at each other. These things come at a price, people.

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