Better late than never! We stayed in Hamburg this past weekend and even though it was quite chilly (55-60 degrees) it was a relaxing weekend getting to know the city.
On Saturday we jumped on the train to go to Blankenese, a suburb of Hamburg located right on the Elbe River. It was originally established as a fishing village and is now home to tons of gorgeous homes and many of Hamburg’s wealthiest people. We walked through the outdoor market, down towards the River, and ate a late lunch along the water. It was a lovely little town.
We were on a mission Sunday morning. The Altona Fishmarkt is open every Sunday morning from 5-9:30. A lot of people stay out all night and then treat themselves to a fresh fish sandwich, while others wake up early and head to the market to pretty much buy anything you want! I will let you decide which group we were in.
The market had much more than I expected. There are hundreds of stalls with fresh cut fruit, filter (difficult to find) coffee, delicious pastries, and famous fish sandwiches. We walked into the big warehouse where a band was playing and hundreds of people were dancing, singing, and drinking at 8am. After wandering for a few hours, we went to Von der Mott (thanks for the rec Everyday Champagne!). They had a good American/English-style breakfast and blueberry pancakes were just what I needed.
Sunday night we watched some Netflix and called it an early night. Excited for our trip home tomorrow and two weeks in the U.S.
Eating: making some of my favorite recipes: this, this, and this. Less coffee more tea, morning smoothies, m&ms, picnic dinner at the Zoo, fresh fish at our local restaurant.
Doing: taking my first Yoga and BodyPump class in German, gymming thanks to our new membership, lots of bike riding, German classes, walking my new neighborhood and dodging the rain storms, Saturday night Zoo event with potential new friends(!), constantly scrubbing our apartment.
Planning: two weeks in the U.S.—going to overindulge on iced tea, the English language, driving, my people, made to order food, etc. Also planning a trip to Prague and Venice in October.
Listening to: This American Life, Shake it Off (per Tumblr recommendation since I never know what new songs are playing), old Kenny Chesney songs, Ed Sheeran.
This morning we found a large pile of poop on our front doormat. If that isn’t just an euphemism for my feelings I don’t know what is…
Editor’s notes: this all occurred inside (we live on the 5th floor) and I am hoping it was dog poop although there is a very drunk man that lives on the floor below us. I did what any mature, 28 year old would do and put my mat on top of the dog owner’s mat. It has since been disposed of.
Zach and I tossed around a few ideas about where to go for our anniversary: Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, Mallorca (I know, my life is very challenging right now). We decided on Lake Como because it is pretty easy to get to from Hamburg and was somewhere we have heard a lot about!
Where we stayed:Grand Hotel Imperiale in Moltrasio. I had a tough time deciding where to stay because the lake is huge with tons of small towns. I loved our hotel because it had a lakeside pool, two restaurants, was across the street from the ferry dock, and is in a quiet, small town. I would avoid staying in Como and if you can, splurge and look into Villa d’Este—it looks so incredible!
Where we ate: Usually I plan a lot of meals and make reservations because I HATE the idea of wasting a meal at a touristy, overpriced, bad restaurant. I didn’t plan much in advance for this one but we did have a delicious dinner at the “famous” Il Gatto Nero and a couple good meals at our hotel. I made a reservation at Locanda dell’Isola Comacina but we ended up skipping it in favor of pool time. There are mixed reviews about this experience but it is a restaurant on the one island in the lake and has been serving the same menu for over 65 years.
What we did: We were both looking forward to relaxing after a couple of crazy weeks and the move. We read a few books, lounged by the pool, ate tons of Caprese salad and gelato, and napped. We were pretty active one day and took the ferry to Bellagio, “the Pearl of the Lake,” and explored for the day. There are a lot of cute little shops, nice cafes, and the Villa Melzi Gardens which are gorgeous.
What I bought: an ornament—boring but I had to. The Prada outlet is outside the Lake and Milan and had we rented a car I would have been very tempted!
pssst: the villa in the last picture is George Clooney’s
-We flew direct from Hamburg to Milan Malpensa (which is a disgusting airport) and then took the Malpensa Express to Saronno and switched in Saronno for a train to Como Nord. The entire train journey cost around €10 per person and took about an hour and a half including wait times. Once in Como, you can take a taxi, bus, or ferry to the town you are staying in (see my note below on taxis though!).
-Taxis are expensive! We took one to and from dinner one night and they start at €7 when you get in and I have never seen a meter tick so fast! It cost us €22 to go 2 miles so plan your trips wisely. The ferry is a really inexpensive option! I love to walk but the roads are very narrow and curvy and not the safest for walking long distances.
-There are a lot of great hiking paths around the lake which is something I hadn’t read about. I didn’t bring proper shoes or clothes to hike but I wish I had.
-Definitely take the ferry to explore other towns and see the entire lake.
-Someone told us that 80% of the tourists that visit Lake Como are American, and while that number seems extremely high, I couldn’t believe how many Americans were there! The whole lake is very touristy (which isn’t bad, we are tourists after all) but it may not be the place for you if you want an undiscovered destination.