You can NOT go to Hamburg without going to the Sunday morning fish market. Or at least so said my mother-in-law, again and again, until the three of us agreed that yes, Mari-Anne, waking up at 5am to get the opportunity to smell fish by 6am was actually what we really, really wanted to do while on holiday.
It turned out to be rather beautiful. Beautiful enough that I’ll tell the next load who come ‘You can’t go to Hamburg without going to the fishmarket’. You all know I love early morning crispness when it’s coupled with the selling of wares. Sure, in a perfect universe they’d be selling frocks and not fish, but not every reality can be one with a fleamarket.
In the centre was the market hall, complete with cover bands and folks clearly still dancing from the night before- including at least one bride and groom set.
This was my favourite spectacle of the morning. The Flowerking, who would pack boxes with house plants and ‘backwards auction’ them. They were super cheap-a box for 30 euros filled eight or nine plants including a ficus tree and at least one other nice big thing- and I really really wanted one. But it was pointed out to me that we still had a lot of day to do, and it would be very hard to carry the plants around all day.
Plus sometimes he would scream ‘wer hat kein geld?’ (who has no money)- and just lob free plants into the crowd.
Awesome. And what a showman.
The other thing that I would definitely be participating in if I lived in Hamburg- giant baskets of fruit. For 10 euros. All of it looking 1 billion times better quality than what we get at Kaufland, and with apricots and bananas and avocados and….
I made do with some fruit salad.
I did not eat fish. They had it, but the concept of fish- especially pickled but even plain or smoked- that early seemed rather unbearable.
We had met up with Mari-Anne’s cousin at the markets, so then headed back to his house, which is in the ‘Hamburg suburb’ of Ahrensburg, a rather serene, beautiful area.
Wolfgang and his wife had a lovely backyard, complete with lavender, and a pond with little fishes, and we spent a good part of the morning basking in the sun, drinking tea, and struggling through our german.
After lunch, the men and I went for an explore of Ahrensburg, which included the church, as well as the building and grounds of the Ahrensburg castle.
Near the castle they had some sort of ‘bee museum’, complete with hives and honey production and a very lovely talkative bee keeper who told us all about the structures of the colonies and the plight of the bees and so on. Andy and I have been learning German for 8 months now, but we only have lessons for 3 hours/week, and apart from that we don’t really have much interaction with the German language. Everyone at the institute speaks English (it’s the official language there), although of course the Germans speak the language to eachother. Apart from that, we go to the shops, and we sometimes go out. But it’s mostly all English all the time, and we both think that the most marked change in our language skills since arrival in Germany is loss of ‘native-speaker’ English as opposed to gain of German.
So it was really really nice to get to practice some normal conversational German with Mari-Anne’s cousins, and then to try to understand and converse with the bee keeper.