Ich bin ein Ausländer in Fishtown.

Leaving Philadelphia last Sunday around 8:30pm east coast time, we arrived at our Airbnb in Bremerhaven, Germany twenty-two hours later. We flew first to Hamburg via Iceland and Denmark then onto two trains to Bremerhaven. We were supposed to fly direct from Iceland to Hamburg, but that flight was canceled. On our new boarding passes we noticed that we were to be seated in row three on the plane connecting Copenhagen to Hamburg. Oh boy, a first-class upgrade to compensate for a cancelled flight and two hours on hold with Iceland Air?! Nope, no first class on a small, back loading, screaming-baby-having, propeller plane. Silly us.

Andreas chose an Airbnb in the neighborhood where he was hoping to find an apartment. It was cohabited by three students which turned into seven? on game night. Game night happened on their tiny kitchen table Tuesday night. We were invited but declined. They laughed non-stop until 12:30 am when they started blowing up an air mattress. “Is this too loud,” they asked sleep deprived me stepping over them to get to the bathroom, while they, seated at the table, were all brushing their teeth simultaneously. “Everything is too loud,” I said with a smile as nicely as I could since one of them will be working at the same place as Andreas.

Andreas at the kitchen table in our Airbnb20180704_133440

We spent most of our week apartment hunting in the area and then started looking further out considering bicycling distance. Andreas decided that we needed bikes right away and finally settled on a decent rebuilt pair from a nice Ukrainian dude he met on eBay. After seeing some pretty beat up apartments we lucked upon a wonderful flat (more about it later) and spent Friday and Saturday collecting essentials. By the way, even though they SAY they deliver, the Ikea in Bremerhaven does NOT. Also, shopping with someone who doesn’t like things made out of plastic is no fun in that store. Shopping at the farmer’s market went a little better the next day. Andreas gave me the job of keeping him from buying too much, I failed and we loaded two heavy backpacks for the bike ride home. Andreas also likes to flirt with older saleswomen and we got some incredible deals in a local department store thanks to his charming self.

Bikes parked in our Airbnb room20180704_221946

Today, Sunday, the stores are closed and we’re trying to take it easy. We went for a windy bike ride to the Weser Estuary and to our local café where we spent too much on a coffee in search of Wi-Fi. Our proudest moment of the day was figuring out the washing machine with all of the buttons and instructions in German. I am incredibly grateful to be on this adventure with Andreas who is fluent in the language and the culture and is very patient with my bewildered assimilation.

WiFi and coffee. What’s up with the tiny coffee cups, Germany?20180708_132056   Biking along the estuary on a Sunday with the other tourists.20180708_114647   The shopping center near our apartment on a Sunday when every thing is closed20180708_164419

 

 

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