Here’s a life update for you guys. I’m currently located in Hamburg, Germany, and I will be here rehearsing for another month and a half. I find honesty is the best policy when it comes to writing blogs, so I’m just going to come out and say it right away: I DO NOT LIKE THIS CITY. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m staying on the Reeperbahn, ie the red light district’s main road for red light shenanigans. Wherever I turn I’m confronted with PVC-clad hooker-types (I actually don’t have a problem with these as generally they’re quite polite), hordes of aggressive-seeming stag parties (generally not polite), and collections of similarly aggressive drunken homeless people. Also, strangely, the odd very old German couple strolling along as if they’re on Eastbourne Pier, merrily meandering through the cacophony and snapping away with their cameras so they can remember these scenes forever. The main scent clogging the air is a combination of urine and bins, and as the days have worn on I feel increasingly like I’m in some kind of strange post-apocalyptic video game, dodging zombie-like creatures dragging their limbs along, sobbing women who’ve had waaaay too much to drink, and almost worst of all- gigantic piles of sick plastered across the floor. It. Is. Dirty.
All this would probably be far more bearable were it not for the fact that I’m basically living and working here until the beginning of July. Currently that seems like the longest time in the world, ever. Woe is me, you lot. Woe is me.
Feeling very sorry for myself and not wanting to sink into a deep hole of depression and urine scented doom and gloom, I thought I should probably try and explore further afield; get out of the Reeperbahn on my day off and give Hamburg another chance. So off I went to Wallring Park which isn’t too far from here, in search of fresh air and a brighter outlook on life. Finally I thought, I had found a place to escape and clear my head for a bit. But oh no my friends, that wasn’t to be…because within five minutes of sitting on a bench to just finally chill out for a while, I was joined by a smiley man in a worn-looking suit standing to my right. He gave me a friendly smile, unbuttoned his trousers, and casually went for a wee. Smack bang in the middle of the broad daylight family park. WORDS FAIL ME.It seems that people here have no fear when it comes to urinating in public places, as this isn’t the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve witnessed the odd public wee in my time but generally in other countries they’ve at least all given the impression they were trying to be discreet about it. Is this brazenness a Hamburg thing or have I just had terrible luck with attracting public wee-ers???
Obviously I decided it was time to move onwards and (literally) upwards, and headed towards the spire of the St Michaelis church that I could see in the distance, still desperate not to give up on Hamburg as surely having some more pleasant parts.
This church is one of the main attractions of the city so was rammed full of people by the time I arrived and began the climb to the top of the tower. The bells started to ring just as I was climbing past them which was a rather spectacular sound (and sight), and actually helped to calm the mild sense of vertigo I was starting to feel…it was extremely packed up there but did give a beaut view of the city and I’m pleased to report that it’s also obviously so high up that the Hamburg Stench cannot reach it. For €5 I’d say that’s worth it.
When I walked into the church below, it wasn’t like being in any other big beautiful church that I’ve ever visited where the whole atmosphere is ‘hushed’ and calm and all that jazz. It was packed full of people doing there own thing to be honest, until…some kind of service began. Even though the whole thing was in German, I switched my detective skills on and the presence of a tiny baby in white alerted me to the fact that this was probably a Christening. Three ladies with matching black shoulder bags pushed the crowds to the back 10% of the massive church and cordoned off the rest of it with red rope barriers before assuming their respective positions to keep an eye on the 10%.
All I’m saying is, it was INTENSE. Mainly I ended focusing my attention on the ringleader of the three shoulder-bag ladies, who was a larger woman dressed in a bright red blouse, her hair swept up onto the top of her head so it resembled candyfloss and tied with a matching sheer red bow. She reminded me slightly of Miss Trunchbull, with a sweaty forehead and eyes so beady that it seemed like they were jumping out of the sockets…those beady eyes could spy a camera at extreme long distance, meaning that whenever she saw anyone ready to click she was ready to aggressively stage-whisper ‘NEIN!!!’ Effective at stopping the photographers, but also of interrupting Christenings. What a gem.
So, not the most chilled out of experiences but at least I got away from the sex shows and vomit for a bit. I really hope I find some parts of Hamburg that calm my first impression down slightly as I do feel bad for hating a place quite as much as I currently do. Also I’ve got bloody ages left here. If anyone could help me with some suggestions I’d be extremely gratefu…surely there must be some good parts in this city???🙈