A Moment in Hamburg, Germany
From Amsterdam, we caught a train heading across the border into Germany. First stop: Hamburg.
I have this moment in Hamburg burning brightly in my memory.
A night in this one bar. One of those amazing places you weren’t even looking for and find just when you need it.
We were walking down a wide street. Murals littered the side of buildings, their colours popped against the grey facades. Hunger was starting to bite hard at my stomach so we resolved to head into the next place we found.
Luckily, it was a good one.
The atmosphere spilled out onto the street. Music floated through the door, overflowing onto the kerb. There was a crowd huddled outside, laughing and clinking glasses. People stood in groups to smoke, the chill of the evening just starting to settle around them.
This was it, dinner in Hamburg.
We shimmied and squeezed through the front door and into the low lit interior. The crowd inside buzzed even louder, the noise bouncing around the tiny space.
There were big oak tables, stretching the length of the room. The walls were panelled in dark, textured wood and the seats were either creaky little chairs or long benches.
People were sardined in everywhere. Cosying up on the benches, standing around the edges, grabbing chairs upon chairs and piling in.
All of them moulding together like a lost Tetris game.
We shuffled through, Guten tag-ing on our way, aiming for the far the corner. We nabbed the last forgotten table, found two abandoned chairs and settled in for the night.
We ordered in broken German, most excited for our first taste of Hamburg beer.
Of course, they came two big steins. Those giant handled glasses that can hold a solid two pints. That classic image so entangled with the country.
Sometimes, I travel to see a city beyond the clichés. Sometimes I don’t.
There was a big TV on one of the walls. It almost reached from one side to the other, a testament to just how huge this TV was and just how cosy the bar was too.
The football was on. I’m not much of a football fan but that night was different. There was a thick and tense feeling lingering amongst the beer stenched air. Everyone’s eyes were glued to that screen. It was England vs. Germany and we were the only English people in this bar chocked full of drunk Germans.
At first, we kept quiet. Munching through creamy potato, whispering away about our plans for this city and all the cities to come, ordering another stein. Each.
But then the steins caught up with us, or rather me. I’d been eyeing the massive telly throughout the meal and finally, finally, we scored. England scored.
And I let out a big, drunk, English cheer.