09.05.2010 - 09.05.2010
These are the words that Elaine spoke as we landed in Hamburg on our morning flight—she had arrived in the homeland of her family's ancestors.
Checkout of our hotel and the taxi ride to the airport were uneventful; Sunday morning is quiet in Copenhagen. The flight to Germany was only 40 minutes long.
After we got our baggage, we stopped at the Hertz desk and picked up our car. We'll be driving this week. Fortunately, the ol' GPS that's loaded with new maps of Europe was nearly flawless as it guided us to the hotel. We checked in, unloaded our bags, and headed out onto the street. First stop: Einstein's Bistro next door for some munchies and—of course—German beer. It hit the spot.
Next, we disappeared down the subway tunnel and took a train to Jungfernstieg where we boarded a boat for a water tour of Lake Alster. This is a good sized lake in the center of the city that is very popular for recreation: sailing, canoeing, and people watching on the shore. We had an extra special treat as today was the last day of the "End of Summer" celebration. Stages with live bands were set up around the lake and everywhere in between were tents and stands selling every kind of food imaginable (and many things we had or could have never imagined...) and slushies and drinks and beer. We had one small glass of beer and watched the people go by for some time. Eventually, we walked across the street and through the town hall square. The town hall is a very ornate building that faces a plaza. Along one side is a canal that leads out of the lake. Ducks and swans make their way through the most of the canal area.
On the other side of the canal is a restaurant, the Friesen Keller. Thinking what we really needed to round out our first day in Germany was a good German meal, we stepped in, had a seat, and ordered dinner.
What we really, really needed was three more people to help us eat our dinner.
Susie and Elaine both ordered roast beef rouladen, which consisted of two huge slices of roast beef rolled up with onions inside, and sides of vegetables and a large bowl of parsley buttered potatoes. John ordered the "small sausages" (that would be eight big links) on a bed of sauerkraut and lots of those potatoes. None of us could eat more than have of what we were served. Needless to say, no room for dessert...
The subway entrance was just up the steps outside of the restaurant, so we took the train back to our neighborhood. A few calories were burned off with a little after-dinner walk on the street in front of our hotel.
We have finally retired to our room to settle in and rest up for tomorrow. The only English language shows on television are a nature show, CNN World News, and BBC news. Thank goodness for iPods!