2:30 Saturday morning. The alarm sounds. I finally got up and admitted that I did not sleep. I will sleep in the car on the way to the airport I think. That didn’t happen. I never thought I would sleep on a plane and I was right. We flew Ryanair, I am 6 ‘3 “. That won’t happen. I have to go a week without sleep to take a nap on most planes especially Ryanair with all their announcements about the initial card (which I’ve never seen anyone buy) etc. and space minimalist feet.
The three of us arrived in Hamburg. Dave joined us by train. Do not ask. We were in Hamburg before he left Manchester. We got off the plane, Suzanne got on the bus, the doors closed. Now, both of us. Start to crack.
Things improve – our luggage is already in the carousel. Not waiting for three days as I often do, it’s already circling like it’s been abandoned. How did it happen? You see a suitcase spinning when a belt has been allocated for the next flight and a brown suitcase sadly taking another circuit before being bombarded by a group of strangers. And then alone again. And the color is brown. Always brown. No one has ever left the black one so maybe it’s a shame to have a brown suitcase? Maybe. More than this.
We regrouped and went to get our car. Do you have a lot of things, the woman asked explaining that there was not much space in the car. We did not really show him but did not mention that there was still one more to come. That will be fine. I ordered the smallest car and therefore the cheapest and most economical of course. We will be fine.
The woman left and returned with the news. They have run out of the car that I ordered, we got a free upgrade. We headed to the car and found a sweet white VW Polo GTI waiting for us. Let’s go!
We were unable to check-in until later, so we decided to walk in a complete circle to return to where we had started, losing our destination. For this, we need to go to Hamburg and find a parking space.
I have been in Parkopedia and planned where we can park nearby at the lowest price. We use Google maps to find Rathaus. We walked for half an hour and found ourselves back in the parking lot. Brilliant.
We have seen singers with grand pianos that are somewhat different from the angry singers we have at Hanley. The Rathaus is an amazing piece of architecture and worth a visit. We got a bonus of around 50 people with headphones doing some strange actions with some on Unicef’s shirts but didn’t know what was happening. There are many pro-European union events that are happening again, very different from the bad back home.
I had booked us on a free walking tour but had little time to kill before starting so we finally found a table at the riverside cafe and I had a double espresso to hopefully keep me awake. We’ve done this free tour in several places and it’s always good, you only pay what you think is worth it in the end.
Our guide today is Sabina who is Croatian and tours in extraordinary English. He was funny and informative and we learned, for example, that Hamburg had been eliminated many times by Vikings, that one in 41 people Hamburger (I produce) were millionaires and there were 43,000 millionaires in the city (in fact, of course). Even I am confused now.
By the way, it was an amazing tour but the most important thing was something we found while resting in a cafe. We all felt very tired after sitting down, but Sabina came to everyone asking if they had questions, so I explained that we had come primarily to watch FC St Pauli play, but couldn’t get a ticket. You will be fine he said, just stand outside the ground with a sign and someone will sell you some. He even told us what we needed to write on our sign. I have hope again!
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Return to the last World Cup. We were in Leek at home David and Suzanne were watching over England. David said he was a Liverpool fan … but had never been to a soccer match … We need to do something about this. It will be easy to go to Port Vale even if Leek Town is possible. But no, we decided to go and see FC St. Pauli. In Germany. More of them.
After the tour (which each of us donated 10e) we walked for miles in the wrong direction before finally finding our way to the parking lot. We stopped to drink coffee for me mainly because I had a drive in front of me and I hadn’t slept for a long time and had a drive 30 miles ahead of me. The women insisted I eat cake and who am I to argue?
We stayed at Airbnb in Gronwohld which turned out to be a lush suburb and a beautiful and calm area. There is a supermarket at the corner that was told to us but closed at 12:30 on a Saturday evening but the gas station opened and the man sold us some expensive items.
Our apartment is amazing and is the entire top floor of someone’s house with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom, and a balcony. There was no one at home but the key was under the mattress and we immediately had it all on a spiral staircase. Suzanne then learned that Lidl was nearby but it closed in 30 minutes … so we race again.
We shop frantically and turn off the alarm when we leave. We stood there like ignorant Englishmen and did an international sign from numbskull until a cashier began speaking in English and said he was watching the alarm when we entered. I was very tired I didn’t pay attention but at least we let it outside. Back in the apartment I soon fell asleep and hoped to wake up in time to pick David from the station around midnight.
German transportation was not as efficient as it seemed and it turned out he would not arrive at 7:15 the next morning. I slept again, then the three of us returned to Hamburg and waited outside the main train station. Then we drove another 20 minutes to pick him up from the station he was wrongly riding from the train
station accidentally. He has traveled for more than 24 hours, has been called a boy because he wears a trainer who is not tied up, visited by a Nazi in Cologne and generally has a bad time. Without sleep.
Return to the apartment again and it’s time to take a nap for him and Claire. He got up quickly and we returned to Hamburg and found a parking spot right near the soccer field for 4e … bargain! We are in Millerntour, home of FC St Pauli who is in the Bundesliga 2 and always sells all 30000 tickets for their matches.
In the 1980s, St. Pauli became a different football club that became anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-Semitic and anti-capitalist while adopting skulls and crossbones as their symbol. Now they have more female supporters than other German clubs, fans around the world with bars named after them in a number of places and, as I said, sell 30000 tickets for each match.
We raised our fancy sign … behind an A4 card … with SUCHE CARDS that was fantastically written by Claire with a ballpoint pen on it. It also has a smiling face. We are not entirely sure what SUCHE CARTOOL means, but Sabina wrote it for us so we dare to raise it. It can’t say PUNCH US or something like no one does it and other people have the same signs so we feel fine.
A smile worked and someone immediately approached offering us one ticket for 35e. We have been told that they have to be around 15e so we say no thanks. While David and Suzanne are in the shop, we get two tickets for the ticket price plus one Euro booking fee. I gave him 30e and told him to keep the change … I will see St Pauli !! Claire and I went shopping and I spent too much money but I was happy and bought things I had never seen on eBay.