I’m leaving for Hamburg tomorrow so I might not be online much over the next few days. I know I just started blogging again, and more importantly, reading blogs again; but I must leave you all for a few days. This is a planned absence though and not a case of not wanting to or not being able to write.
Since I do not own a laptop or a tablet device, blogging while away is difficult. I suppose I could log in with my smartphone and type out a few hundred words here and there; but that seems rather painful to me. It’s hard enough typing out more than 20 words for a text message. The thought of typing out an entire blog post on my phone is not something I am looking forward to.
The reason for the trip, as always, is leisure. I haven’t been to Germany in many years and I hear Hamburg is a beautiful city. It’s also the start of the Eid festivities this weekend. Eid al Fitr, the “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast”, falls immediately after the Holy Month of Ramadan, and is a significant time in the Muslim faith and calendar. After 29 or 30 days of fasting, this is the first day that Muslims can eat during daylight hours. Many big celebrations and family dinners are planned. As a public holiday, I get an extended weekend. The perfect time to go away without using too many of the annual leave days.
Dubai during Eid goes through a serious change. What better place, in the Middle East region, to come to for celebrations? Many of the shops and malls will have sales, there are hotel and resort deals, and with some world class restaurants and clubs, even non-Muslims from around the region find something to do here. In other words; half of the Middle East shows up in Dubai. Two years ago they had to stop letting people into the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall by the way, because it was too crowded for people to walk around in. So when I have an opportunity to go and leave the heaving masses behind, I will.
I’ve got some stuff lined up for Hamburg already, so I won’t be completely doing things on a whim and a prayer. I have a few friends here from Germany, one from just outside Hamburg, who have been excellent sources of information. And my friend Kim has been using her informants to get me information as well. I arrive early evening on Thursday, so I’ll check into my hotel (near the River Elbe) and ask for directions to the first place I need to go on Friday morning. I haven’t decided if I’ll eat dinner at the hotel (might be more expensive than elsewhere) or if I’ll just wander the streets nearby and see what is out there. I’m taking my camera with me so hopefully I’ll get some great photos to share. The hotel bar is supposed to be one of the most popular in Hamburg because of the views so I might have a couple of drinks there before calling it a night.
Friday morning at 10 I have an English speaking Dungeons of Hamburg tour. They have these tours in several European cities and they discuss the underbelly of Hamburg (the one in Hamburg does anyway). These are full-blown productions with actors, rides, and thrills aplenty apparently. I’ll have the rest of the afternoon and evening to roam around, clicking away. Might be a good time for a boat cruise or to go to one of the parks Hamburg is noted for.
Saturday night will see me hit the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s most famous and popular street. During the day, there are a few restaurants and cafes open; but at night … At night those close and all the doors that were locked before open, the neon signs spark to life, and the hookers come out by the hundreds. Brothels, strip clubs, the best bars in Hamburg await. And it is the safest place to be as well. The foolhardy or hardy, make it through the night and wander down to the docks to the local fish market that opens at 6 am on Sunday morning. Not content with just being a market, the Reeperbahn after party is here too; with a giant dance hall where live music plays until 11 am, just in time to soak up your booze filled stomach with a fish sandwich or other fresh seafood. Personally, I’m not sure that would be the food of choice for me if I were drinking all night. And in truth, the days of me going all night and into the next day partying are well and truly behind me. But I can try, right? Although that would ruin the rest of my Sunday so I’m not sure I want to do that.
Monday will be spent at the zoo. Or at least some of it. The Hamburg Zoo was one of the first zoos in the world to not use cages for its animals. Instead, the animals are kept in their zones by moats, giving it a more natural feel and it makes for better photos.
So you see, I do have a lot of time to go off the grid and do what takes my fancy. I’m hoping to try some night photography while I’m there and will be taking my tripod with me. That might be something I try on Thursday night given my location to the river and the cool lights that will be about from the boats and docks. They also have a few monuments to the Beatles in Hamburg; so I’ll definitely have to check those out too. I’m weird like that.
Be good to each other while I’m away and we’ll talk soon.