A Travellerspoint blog



the eve of battle

sunny 5 °C
View SEP Pre-Trip on seaskimmer's travel map.

It's 9am and 1 degree out, and the morning mist stills shrouds the town.

Okay, well that was when I got here. It's now 12.07pm and the internet cafe meter is at 4.50 EUR, soon to be 5. Just spent so much time researching transport and itinerary for Belgium and Ireland! Oh my. Never paid this much for internet before haha.

Yesterday was a nice day of exploration. In the morning was internet cafe (as usual) and then I headed back to wait for my mattress to arrive. I actually sat at the lobby steps for a while, reading Ben Hur, before I gave up and just waited for the delivery man to call. But interestingly I managed to meet other occupants that way (while looking crazy for sitting there). A few guys including one Italian called Herberto and an Asian girl who didn't stop to say hi.

After that, went to buy a bedsheet (I forgot) and went out by the back instead of the front, discovered the gem that is the Bücherhalle. Herberto said he was going to the library, I had no idea that it was so near. Also, I learnt in NUS that library is Bibliothek in German, so is Bücherhalle a Hamburger thing? Still makes sense (book hall) but wondering why it's different. Anyway I saved that for later, with a desperate hope of free wifi.

And so later I found out that you need a library account at 20 eur per year to use the wifi. So sad. BUT, BUT, I discovered a chinese grocery store/restaurant next door!!!! I know I'm not the most Chinese person around, but I love my Chinese food and I was squealing when I found the rice! Hehe. Instant noodles is expensive at 1+ per packet (not even 5 in 1) though. But sesame oil, soya sauce, oyster sauce all there. There's a supermarket there too, which I figure will be an alternative to the small local grocery store 5 min away, once I'm back and cooking.

There was also a lovely little playground near the library where I sat on the swing for a while. It was beautiful to finally be outside, really outside, with the holly and the birds and the greenery all around. Harburg is pretty, but not that green, at least where I stay. When I get back I'll try to find my way to the big park with the lake. I see it on google maps but I haven't gone far enough yet to see it.

Went shoe shopping as well, cos I decided that I don't really want to walk around in my boots because they get a little uncomfortable after a while. I went into pretty much all the shoe shops in my area (which is a lot) and ended buying Vans knock-offs for 14 eur. Everything is relatively cheap here by the way, for which I'm thankful. Lots of shoes available under 20 eur, most are under 30, even found some for 5. I discovered this awesome awesome thrift store which I'd walked by so many times, and a sell-everything store where I bought hangers and bedroom slippers. I'm definitely going back to the thrift store come April ((:

I've really loved my few days in Harburg alone. I was a little tentative about that and worried about homesickeness etc but it's been great. I love the freedom to do whatever I want and go wherever I want. The freedom to stay as long as I want (eg in the playground, when others would have been bored). But yes, it does get a little lonely at night when there's nothing to do and it's cold outside, and everyone in Singapore has gone to sleep. That's alright though, I manage, especially with keeping track of all my accounts. If I had wifi in my room it'd be better (grumble grumble).

I'll be off for my grand March trip tonight, though. Meeting E in Brussels tomorrow morning! Updates when I get wifi.

Posted by seaskimmer 19:06 Archived in Germany Tagged hamburg harburg Comments (0)

What Sophia forgot

and much more

semi-overcast 10 °C
View SEP Pre-Trip on seaskimmer's travel map.

1. Slippers (new and bought specifically for overseas)
2. Favourite pair of brown shoes
3. Detergent (not a big issue)
4. LAN cable (also not an issue, especially because my dorm hasn't even set the wifi up yet)
5. Bedsheets (would have taken up a lot of space anyway)

That's a list of things I planned on bringing but somehow forgot. Mostly fine that I didn't bring, but very upset about the first two haha.

So, I spent a terrible Monday morning dragging all my luggage around, going to the wrong place and having to walk back etc before finally getting to my dorm. Had to make a call because I was late, but I got settled in pretty soon. The rest of the day I walked around and made multiple trips purchasing the following:

1. Vodafone Sim Card (200mb data)
2. Isana nail polish remover
3. Isana shower gel
4. 2x3x cutlery
5. Ener-bio Nuss-nougat-crème (like nutella)
6. Brot
7. Bettwaesche - flannel bedsheet
8. Cortina - mattress
9. Steppbett - blanket
10. Kissen main (pillow)
11. Kissen small
12. Calgon ultra (detergent)
13. Toilet paper
14. Garnier Fructis (shampoo)
15. LAN cable (3m)

Maybe not very interesting, but I like lists haha.

My room at the start -- bare and empty

Okay, and meantime I explored Harburg, which I feel is gorgeous. I think I love this little town already. I thought it might still be considered winter, but at the grassy patch near the Rathaus (full of politicians and administrators lol. Google it.) there are flowers growing! Purple and yellow, I'm gonna assume they're crocuses even though I have never seen a crocus. Haha.


When I was young I liked to draw up dream houses. Once I attempted to draw a dream town, and tried to have a shop for everything, but obviously I failed. Harbug is a little like a dream town. It has everything in a 2km diameter around the Hamburg-Harburg Rathaus station, from multiple Friseurs (hair dressers), a Euroshop (dollarstore!), multiple grocery stores, a post office and a small mall to multiple bakeries, casinos, the Rathaus, banks, computer shops, phone shops, shoe shops, an internet café (my saviour), and all manner of food shops. The only thing missing is a climbing gym within the radius haha but okay it's not too far away.

The gorgeous Rathaus.


I was so happy as I walked around, I was almost skipping (okay I did a bit)! Everything was so pretty, it was so nice with people walking around, everywhere you turn there's a gorgeous red brick building and a bricked or cobbled path underfoot. And when I was walking to TUHH (my uni) I saw a park! And felt that life was complete. TUHH itself is awesome, a blend of new and old, with red brick, grey metal and green glass in fantastic fusion. Then I got to this mossy area. The moss was soooo thick, soft and springy. I felt like lying down immediately, camping on the moss like an Enid Blyton (etc) adventurer would have done. I pulled a little out (as an adventurer would have done to make camp) and the whole clump lifted away in fat gloriousness. I could have died happy.

Mossy patch

Because my mattress would only be delivered on Wednesday afternoon, I spent the night (and tonight) on my sleeping bag, below my new blanket. Quite ridiculous since my sleeping bag is smaller and thinner than my blanket!

Today I chilled in the morning, then later went to Nordwandhalle, the Kletterhalle at Wilhelmsburg! It's pretty cool, with about the same wall area as OS maybe, including the boulder walls and indoor and outdoor highwalls. Maybe a bit less. Unfortunately I kind of injured my left knee while attempting a drop knee bridge. But it's okay, I just need to be a bit careful walking.


One thing about connectivity: I can't live without it, and I get anxious when denied it. When I didn't have data, and when I realised my dorm doesn't have wifi -- I felt shackled and fearful. Oh my that sounds bad. But truthfully yes. Also, my phone is malfunctioning a bit. Just now, touching any point on the screen would cause somewhere along the same vertical line to be pressed as well. Eg. Pressing 4 would also press 1 and 7 and other points along the vertical line. And it would press the original point multiple times as well. I was freaking out and praying and I really thank God that my phone is okay now. Pray that it won't happen again! I think it's just extra extra scary being alone in a foreign land without being able to communicate with people that I know.

That's a very long post. kthnxbye

Posted by seaskimmer 20:18 Archived in Germany Tagged climb hamburg groceries harburg Comments (1)

Day 1

The first step's the hardest

overcast 7 °C
View SEP Pre-Trip on seaskimmer's travel map.

I'll start out by confessing that I got homesick two hours into the flight, and that I'm missing home like crazy right now. It's not just people, but also the familiarity and security of home.

The following is a long sob story of how homesick I felt from Saturday night (SG time) up til now, Sunday night (SG time). Read at your own risk.


There were multiple points of realisation at which I went 'shit is getting real'. First was when I lost sight of all through the glass, after I'd waved my last wave. I turned towards the gate and felt utterly alone. As I boarded the aircraft I felt like a small silly girl playing pretend. And when I turned off my phone -- losing connectivity is terrible. The plane lifted off, and I turned my watch back 7 hours, saw the man next to me do the same, and somehow felt okay.

Then I started to watch Frozen, a movie I'd wanted to watch with my cell group but hadn't had the time to. I was back to feeling sad, and as I watched I knew that partly it was to distract from that. The movie ended, and I was back to it, feeling more sad than ever.

(By the way I really liked the movie. I like how they purposely overturned the assumption that an act of true love must always be a kiss. And the female leads were cool, songs were awesome, Kristoff adorable. Although of course since it's a kid's movie, some things weren't as fleshed out as they could have been.)

After that was Red 2 and Ender's Game, with a 6 hour on-off sleep in the middle of Red 2. I didn't get to finish Ender's game :( But I felt okay and excited to get to Hamburg.

After various airport things I was at Frankfurt Fernbahnhof waiting for my 0842 train to Hamburg. I spent a little while trying to figure out how my new SIM card works but gave up cos all German and a useless website link. (I still havent installed it. Relying on wifi) But basically on whatsapp telling everyone how safely I landed haha. And on the train I watched the beautiful scenery fly by at 196kph for most of the time, slept the rest of the time. Attempted to check in, attempted to go to the bank, bla bla bla and here I am on my bed skyping E, figuring out where to go and when. Buying tickets. Me lamenting about homesickness and she telling me to be a woman, hear me roar. Haha.

I'm just gonna say, at the end of this long sob story, that it's gonna be alright. I may be in a foreign place alone, but God's with me, I won't be afraid, and there are things to do and see. I'm gonna make the most of this. (:

I think as we age, we simultaneously become more alone and more connected. Or maybe a better way to put it is that we become more independent, but we also choose to depend on a few people. And the hard part is finding the balance between that.

Posted by seaskimmer 07:47 Archived in Germany Tagged hamburg homesick Comments (1)

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