It feels funny thinking back to this trip. Even though it was just three months ago, it seems a lot longer. I was in such a different place then and looking at the few pictures I took, they seem to reflect the mood. It was a good trip though, mostly because I got to see my friend in person for the first time in a year.
I want to share a few memories, not necessarily cohesive ones, but then again cohesion wasn’t really the theme. If there’s one thing this trip proved it’s that travelling changes you. Something in the act of moving, particularly when you’re on your own, makes you reflect, try new things, be a different you, question the old you.
I took a night train. It was like a scene straight out of a book or movie, maybe that’s also just my association. It was already dark when I entered the train compartement. Four people were already in there; chatting like they’d known each other forever. I squeezed my way between two of them, quickly shutting the book I had brought because listening to the life stories of my neighbours was much more intriguing. A few hours and beers later, I would know about the failed marriage with a Guatemalan, guitar concerts in London, hopes, regrets, dreams of travelling and changing the world.
Arriving to Hamburg in the morning after zero sleep, I made my way to St. Pauli to find a coffee shop I had picked out beforehand. I had about two hours before my bus left for Kiel. Walking along Reeperbahn early on a Saturday morning was weird and fun – I’ve said it before, watching a city wake up (or in this case, the last few night owls find their way home) is one of my favourite travel traditions.
Tørnqvist was still closed. I strolled through the neighbourhood, sat down in a bakery for a bit and wrote in my journal, while nibbling on the North German equivalent of a cinnamon roll, a Franzbrötchen.
The coffee shop owner overslept; he told me he came home late from a party last night. He let me inside while he was setting up; we talked for a bit, had coffee. It’s this kind of stuff why I like small independent shops (and their owners) and third wave coffee shops often fall into this category.
He had an interesting opinion about coffee; saw espresso only as a base for milk drinks, not meant to be drunk on its own. He proudly showed me how they’d adapted their Kalita filters to get the most flavour out of a pour-over. I tried a few different ones before I had to run back to the train station to catch my bus.
Further north, my friend awaited me. We don’t get to see each other very often, but whenever we do, it still feels familiar, like no time has passed. The friendship might not be the same as it was when we met in Norway, spent days eating ice-cream on Akerbrygga, but we still have so much to say each other, if not more.
She was down for coffee shop exploring. The weather fit; it was raining most of the time. We walked through the university quarter to Loppokaffeeexpress – a coffee and bicycle combination (how they are connected we couldn’t quite figure out) located in a brick warehouse. Brooklyn vibes blended with North German reservedness.
A coincidental discovery (I’ve developed a sixth (coffee) sense over time) was Café Hilda. Scandinavian style, pastel tones, lots of attention to detail.
We spent the weekend the only way we knew how: good food, good talks. Always.
The night train back was a different story… Got woken up by a woman in the middle of the night talking about axe murderers in trains.