OK, so I can understand the reasoning and principles of time and travel but it nevertheless always comes as a surprise that choosing to take a lunchtime flight from Heathrow, the decision to fly east or west can make a disproportionate difference to where to have tea. Take the noon flight to LA, for example, and sit on Third Street Promenade in the late afternoon sipping a cool glass of Californian white something-or-other in an altogether different time zone. Or, fly east and at 4pm, you could be checking into the hotel in Hamburg, just one hour’s flight time away.
Either way, it will involve an early start and a drive on a hopefully, free running M4, just as it was this morning.
Though actually, Heathrow T5 was pretty busy as people were heading home after the holidays and, I guess, like us, were squeezing in a last weekend before starting back in 2015.
It just seems rather peculiar that getting to a city just one hour’s flight time away takes a whole day, but factor in check in times, all the hanging around, a small delay when the tow truck broke down under the plane mid-manoeuvre, the time difference, the luggage collection and so on and the 12.10pm flight brought us into Hamburg city centre at around 4.15pm.
It’s great to be here and though it was very tempting to flop onto that comfy bed for a nap as soon as we arrived, we resisted the temptation and went out onto the street immediately, to get our bearings and establish ourselves here in the Hansestadt.
Our hotel is remarkably central and in the late afternoon there were still plenty of shoppers making the most of the bargains in the January sales. We were happy to wander, taking in the atmosphere and working out what was where.
Until, that is, we came across the Weisserzauber (White Magic) market where there were one or two things to tempt a weary traveller from foreign shores.
Gluehwein or Eierpunsch?
Well, one of us chose the former.
And we two chose the latter. Hic.
Suitably fortified, we meandered through the rest of the market, passing the doughnut stall, the hot chestnuts and the candied almonds.
I can tell you, it wasn’t easy to pass the bratwurst by and all our powers of resistance were sorely tested because we were getting hungry.
With a quick read of the gingerbread hearts which seem to be a fairly accurate barometer of current culture (there wasn’t a single, simple “Ich liebe dich” on display) we made our way back to the Rathausplatz.
We’d booked a table at Parlament and though two of us had succumbed to a snack whilst in the market, we were all feeling pretty hungry.
Just as well, because portions were a little on the generous side!
It’s great to be here, we are delighted to have a new city to explore and after a hearty supper and a couple of hefeweizen the birthday boy himself is feeling at home. It doesn’t as take long to acclimatise as it does to get here – even if it is only an hour away!