It is a bit paradoxical: I have been whining about not going on vacation to a place that’s still warm and sunny (like last year, Croatia) and at the same time, I’m – in line with the trend – uncomfortable with my carbon footprint. I also live in a place that other people travel to from the whole world! So it’s a good thing I am currently enjoying a staycation. (At least for two days. Tomorrow I am going to my old home, Dizzel, to attend a wedding, maybe the wedding, details to follow.)
Some people are really good at staycations and I read that environmentalists and frugalists don’t really believe in going away. I assume these people are better than me at not using their staycation time to clean, declutter, sell stuff on ebay, finish home improvment projects you never get around to, cook huge batches for the freezer, you name it. I was planning to go to the Baltic Sea for a day to feel that vacation spirit. But when I really thought about being on a train for close to three hours a day before I’d be on the train for eight to ten hours (you never know with Deutsche Bahn!), I decided I’d keep closer to home. I’m proud to say I got myself to go on two little trips (had to really make myself leave the house even though not at above mentioned home improvment projects were finished).
On Monday, I roamed Winterhude and Eppendorf. Ah, the luxury! Hamburg is home to around 40,000 millionaires and it sure shows in these two districs. I biked by the grand villas and wondered who on earth could afford to live in those? They are gorgeous, real sights, and of course they look out on the Alster Lake. The affluence is also reflected in the splendid shops and boutiques: I treated myself to some gourmet food (so not zero waste though) and checked out the clothes in the small shops (why do I even do online shopping when those are so close by?). In Eppendorf, even the doctors’ offices are called “Palais”, everyone dresses elegantly and there are still real non-chain bookstores (with only boring books and a grumpy shop owner, though). I bought a tea strainer which felt glamorous enough for me.
By Tuesday, I had discovered a website listing “Hamburg insider tips” – the ideal source for my staycation. After studying it, I decided I should go to the Boberg Nature Reserve, “only 13 minutes from the central station”. The website recommended bringing bikes and I tried doing that. I got as far as the central station – not for the first time, all elevators were malfunctioning (or non-existent) and carrying my bike down several flights of stairs into the light rail was a bit too much. I can walk, I thought, locked the bike and went to the clostest station to the Nature Reserve. I quickly understood that the “recommendation” to bring bikes was more of a prerequisite. Maybe other people are more of the hiking kind, but I walked for two hours and felt that was plenty. That’s why I only saw the forest and the lake and missed out on what might be the real sight: the dunes. (The dunes would have been a great substitute for not going to the sea, too!) I enjoyed the birds chirping, the sunshine and the forest, I observed the swans on the lake and relished the wide open skies. It really is so close to the city and yet feels so ‘out there’. I’ll definitely be back for the dunes!