Over the weekend, I traveled to Lübeck and Hamburg, Germany with my Core Course class. I was very skeptical about how the trip would go because I didn’t have any friends in that class and I just pictured myself sitting in a hostel all alone while everyone else had fun. However, I had such a great time and got to make so many new friends…even if they do make fun of me for being Southern!
Our trip began bright and early at 7:00 A.M. on Thursday morning. We had to take a bus to the Danish border, then hop on a ferry that brought us into Germany, and then continue the two hour drive into Lübeck. In case you haven’t heard, there is a big issue with the Syrian refugees coming into Denmark, so all trains coming into Denmark were cancelled and we had to share the bus with another group of DIS students who were supposed to enter Germany by train…50 sleepy kids on a cramped bus does not lead to a pleasant ride, in case you were wondering. Here’s a link to an article explaining what all has been happening over here in regards to the refugees. http://www.ibtimes.com/copenhagen-warns-syrian-refugees-asylum-denmark-now-harder-come-2086025
Once in Lübeck, we hit the ground running. We started out in an old church that was almost completely destroyed in World War II and then continued on to a museum that I cannot remember the name of to save my life. At the museum though, I got to redeem myself in the eyes of my professors. My professors don’t think I’m the brightest candle on the cake because I hardly talk in class and they stereotype me for being from the South. It can get really annoying to have people underestimate me, but I’m learning to use it to my advantage. Anyway, back to how I redeemed myself. Our professors asked us to pick out an artwork that spoke to us and then explain why to the class. I decided to take a leap of faith and say what I was thinking about a piece depicting a mother and daughter walking down the street, and it worked to my advantage…one of the professors even bought me a postcard of the painting because he thought it was so cool that “I was able to really feel what the artist was trying to say”. I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but I don’t like being viewed as ignorant or ditzy, so I am really proud of myself for finally being looked at as someone with a brain in my head rather than just empty space.
After all the tours around town and a little power nap, we decided to go get dinner (which consisted of only ice cream and coffee) and then see what Lübeck nightlife was all about. For future reference, Thursday nights are not popping over there. After about an hour of wandering aimlessly around town, me and three other girls ended up at a cute Irish pub right near our hostel. There, we ran into a group of the guys on our trip and got to have a nice time getting to know one another better. Once we wore out our welcome at the pub, we decided to go to a hookah bar up the street. I enjoyed myself, but definitely do not recommend visiting this place without a big guy around. The plus side to the hookah bar though, is that they played Brown Eyed Girl, which is why that’s the song for this post.
Friday morning we began the journey to Hamburg. The issue with trips that only last a few days is that you feel like you need to cram everything into such a short time span. We left Lübeck at 9:00, got to Hamburg around 10:30 and didn’t stop moving until 5:00. Our day was filled with trips to museums, and even though I got to see some really great pieces of art, I was exhausted by the end of the day. My sloth-like personality cannot keep up with this fast-paced lifestyle. For dinner, I went to a restaurant that specialized in hamburgers, and words cannot fathom how happy I was to have a big, juicy, American style burger. While we were at dinner, we got to witness a neo-Nazi protest. At first, we thought that it was some sort of fun parade because we couldn’t understand a word of what people were chanting, but then we saw a group of men burning the flag of Syria from a rooftop. This made me extremely antsy because I am so used to hearing about violent protests in America, but everyone remained civil throughout the entire protest. Little did we know at the time that this event was just a precursor to what we would see later in the trip. Here’s another article that sums up the protests that were taking place in Hamburg while we were there. http://www.demotix.com/news/8532211/anti-nazi-protest-turns-violent-hamburg#media-8533658
Following the advice of our professors, we went out to an old Nazi bunker that had been renovated into a club. To say that this was one of the weirdest experiences of my life would be an understatement. We had to wait for about an hour just to get in because the line was so long, and once inside, it just turns into something you think you will only see in movies. Picture strobe lights with beautiful/intimidating German people dancing to awful electronic music and you have the scene at the bunker. I had a blast dancing with everyone, but it still feels like a dream.
As the night continued on, the group of friends we were with slowly dwindled down. By the end of the night, it was just me and three of the guys that are in my class. We decided to take a trip to the red-light district just to see what it was all about since we had heard so much about the infamous neighborhood. Reeperbahn is insane and something that I would never like to experience again. I wrote an essay about it for one of my classes, and I might post it later on just to give a more detailed description of what it was like. To put it simply though, it’s a street with clubs full of advertisements offering sex for around $40 USD and drunk men yelling at girls walking by. I didn’t realize this at the time, but one of my professors told me that young girls are not exactly welcomed in this area and that I was lucky to not have pee thrown at me. Thankfully the guys I was with got the creeps from this neighborhood too, so we only lasted about 30 minutes there and then we finally made the trek back to our hostel around 4:30 A.M.
Saturday morning was rough. We had to wake up at 7:00 and the majority of our class was just running off of pure adrenaline and caffeine at this point. Our day was filled with museum tours and then the long journey back to Copenhagen. We made it back home around 10 P.M. and I abruptly climbed in bed and then slept until 2:00 P.M. the following day.
All in all, this trip was such a great experience and now I am even more excited to go to Greece in about a month with this group!