Since it is quite easy to travel around Germany/ Europe while living here; I did what every normal travel addict would do and I booked a weekend trip to Hamburg. Only to realize the day before leaving that it was the weekend that G20 summit was being hosted there. Thoughts of not going crossed my mind but I was staying out of the city center so I proceeded with the trip. Not exactly sure what was going to take place that weekend I started to prepare myself for the worst. Everything was normal in the airport nothing to out of sorts but busy as usual for a Friday morning. Public transport was the same nothing seemed to out of the ordinary and raised my hopes that news outlets where just over reacting.
Upon reaching my Air BnB it was time for some food. Heading to Altona because it wasn’t the center thinking everything would be fine. Walking up from the underground it was easy to realize that the riots had reached outside of the center as well. Most actual restaurants where closed and only a few burger places were open. Windows had been smashed and broken, graffiti was all over walls, sidewalks, ATM’s, benches and more. After food, everything obviously still happening you could look down almost any street and see smoke, police cars, or people riding bikes. To avoid the craziness that was happening the zoo is where I ended up. Everything else was shut down.
The zoo was rather empty but for the situation I was not at all surprised. Over all the zoo was a lot of fun! Of course, my favorite part was the elephants. Although like any zoo some of the habits where rather small. In the middles a lovey Japanese garden was loacted that was breath taking. A lot of the food places and drink places where close around the zoo though which was frustrating when you got thirsty you had to basically walk around the whole zoo just to find one. Once again, the zoo was a lot of fun and it was nice going on a day which was not crowded with a ton of people.
On the way, back from the Hamburg zoo there was a transfer in the trains and once off one rather quickly it became apparent that the other line had be shut down due to the demonstrations meaning I was stuck in the center. Let me just say I never felt unsafe or in danger the whole time. Since I had no other options; most of the roads were closed to taxi’s and foot traffic. My game plan then became go the where there are cops find a restaurant or bar and stay there. So, for an hour or so that’s where I stayed. Then I went to another little Indian restaurant and had an amazing veggie curry. By the time I had finished dinner the train was running again and I went home.
To avoid a repeat of the day before I stayed in and read for most of the morning minus grabbing a quick breakfast. Then when it was afternoon I went to Blankenese which was only one stop for where I was staying so I could walk if need be. Blackenese was a quite small little district outside of the city. There is a “Beach” though it is just a river it was amazing. Watching sail boats go by while drinking a nice cold beer. For dinner that night there where floating restaurants one of which I choose to eat out and the view and food where incredible! After dinner, a short walk on the “beach” was just what I needed. Then it was time to head back to my Air BnB to pack up and leave the next day.
Honestly, I had never been more thankful for a trip to come to the end. Packing up and leaving didn’t take long since it was just a short trip to start with. I headed to the hauptbanhoff (main train station). Once there I got coffee and breakfast before heading to the airport. Due to the situation happening I figured that security would be crazy and take forever. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. Getting through security only took about a half hour. Leaving time to get coffee and read a little before boarding. Everything was on time and I got home safe and sound!
Hamburg is beautiful for the small parts I saw. Truly wish that I could have seen more. As far as the demonstrations it is truly heart breaking what the unpeaceful ones did to the city. Personally, I am okay with the ones that where peacefully just riding their bikes around the city; standing up for what they believe in. During the G20 demonstrations Hamburg obtained over 100 million euros in damages. Including a store and kindergarten. That is uncalled for and so sad. Someday I will go back to Hamburg and be able to enjoy the life the beautiful city has to offer.