Hamburg was the first city I visited in Germany on my own. Well actually, I visited Berlin first but I do not count Berlin because it is just 1 hour away by train from Cottbus and the trip is free for university students. I visited Hamburg during the Christmas break and it was so beautiful.  It takes three hours to travel to Hamburg from Berlin by bus. When I arrived in Hamburg, I went to the hostel where I booked my accommodation. I stayed in a dorm room with some Turkish-German Girls (their parents are Turkish but the girls were born in Germany). When I entered the room, I spoke English and they did not understand and then they started speaking Turkish amongst themselves and so I told them that I could speak Turkish. They were so surprised because Turkish is not an international language and so very few foreigners can speak Turkish. They were cool girls and I am so glad I got sensible roommates.

That night, I took a shower and went to bed because it was raining and I did not feel like going out. The next morning, I went out to the city centre. I decided to go by foot because according to Google Maps, it is a 15-minute walk from the hostel to Hamburg Rathaus. I went to the Rathaus 2 hours before the free tour was meant to start because there was a Christmas Market there and I wanted to explore it. Christmas Markets in Germany really capture the fairy-tale and magic of Christmas and it succeeded in rekindling my love for Christmas. Living in Turkey, a country where Christmas is not celebrated (I have written exams on Christmas day) for 4 years, made me apathetic to Christmas and also made see Christmas for the capitalist money grabbing scheme that it is. Now, I still think that Christmas Celebrations are over exaggerated and drain excessive amounts of money out of people’s pockets, but I now appreciate the joy that Christmas brings to people. In the Market, I had Gluhwein which is basically warm red wine. There were beautiful decorations being sold, but as you can imagine, they were very expensive.

After I roamed around the Rathaus Christmas Market (there were several Christmas markets), I went to the tour meeting point. The tour guide was very interesting and informative. Unfortunately, half way into the tour, it started raining, but I was well prepared. I had on a pair of Caterpillar Boots, three pairs of socks, two pairs of tights and two pairs of jeans, 4 t-shirts and a sweater and 2 jackets with hoodies (I was ready to battle winter). After the tour, I went on a ferry ride to the Theater im Hafen which means Theatre in Port. There, I saw that there was a lion king musical show. I decided to buy a ticket for the next night but I had to buy it over the phone. After the ferry ride, I went to my room, had dinner and then went to bed.

The next morning, I had to check out at 10am and my lion king show was at 9pm, so I had to come up with ways to keep busy until I had to go to the musical. I decided to go shopping and just roam around the city. Before I started roaming the city, I had to go to the musical venue to collect my ticket. On the ferry ride, I had a ferry ride travel schedule and so I decided to time the journey to test the punctuality of Germans. To my surprise, the ferry arrived at all the stops at the time that the schedule stated (I guess the German efficiency stereotype is actually true). My time wasting plan worked and when it was time, I went to the theatre. Although the Lion King Musical was in German, I found it very entertaining. I have seen the lion king movie enough times to remember the dialogue, so the music, dancing, and stage effects were enough for me and I do not regret it. After the show, I headed to the bus station and had dinner. I stayed in the restaurant until it was their closing time.  After the restaurant closed, I had to wait 1 hour before my bus arrived. I waited in a park that was a few minutes walk from the bus station; it was a bit chilly, but the walk warmed me up a bit. I came back to the bus station 10 minutes before the bus arrived. When the bus arrived, I made my way to Berlin and then to Cottbus.

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