Remembering I'm a Human in Hamburg

Apparently, it is possible to stress fracture your foot just from walking.

This is most likely to occur when someone who doesn't walk much at all immediately starts walking unusually long distances (so hypothetically, it would be like sitting at a desk all day working in finance, then walking 6 miles a day at minimum). It is also more likely to occur when said person is walking on uneven surfaces with improper footwear (for example, walking on cobblestones in 3 or 4 year old boots ordered from Amazon that have already been resoled once… just hypothetically speaking). 

Needless to say, I need to quit Googling foot injuries right now… so I'm writing this instead.

I also need to back up and start at the beginning.

Arriving in Hamburg 

After taking the train from Copenhagen to Germany (which goes on a ferry! The whole train goes on a ferry! I was as excited about this as the kids on the train, but I apologize, I'm off topic already…), I successfully navigated through a very busy Hamburg Central train station. I bought a ticket and boarded the city train and got off at the right stop too (feeling pretty good about myself at this point). I then proceeded to get lost trying to find the hostel, but I ducked into a McDonalds for some free Wifi and was able to figure things out. Right after checking into my room, I met two nice girls from Manchester and we went to dinner together. I had pizza with goat cheese, tomatoes and honey (might sound weird, but it was glorious).

Overall, it was a really good day, with one tiny issue: the Wifi was down in my hostel from the time I arrived… until midday the next day.

My First Full Day in Hamburg

My first full day in Hamburg (a Tuesday) was relentlessly rainy, and since there wasn't Wifi in the hostel I set out to find some… and failed miserably. I don't want to imply that no cafes in Hamburg have Wifi, there just aren't any that I could find in my area that do. I eventually came back to the hostel, drenched and defeated, to hang in the reception and bum some Wifi.

And then, they fixed it! 

So why does Wifi matter anyway? I'm on vacation, shouldn't I be out seeing the sights? Well, yes. But walking around aimlessly in the driving rain with my hood up so I can't really see where I'm going anyway and hoping I physically run into some sight worth seeing isn't generally the most efficient way to explore a city… especially the second largest city in Germany.

Let me be clear here: I am a huge fan of getting lost and wandering aimlessly. Generally, it is my favorite way to experience a city. However, in a big city, I usually like to lay out the sights I want to see so I can at least take the train to the correct train stop, then I can wander in the vicinity of that place I wanted to see.

I actually posted something about the weather and lack of Wifi on my Instagram stories, then started worrying about whether or not I sounded like a whiny, ungrateful human (which I discussed a bit on my Facebook page). But I think part of the problem is that I haven't been entirely clear on how a trip this long actually gets planned on less than two week's notice.  

Short answer: it doesn't.

When I came here I had accommodation booked for the first 10 days, and transportation booked to get me from city to city for the first 8 days.  

I’m planning to be in Europe for about six weeks.

The real reason Wifi matters is that I need to book the place I'm staying next, and book some transportation to get me to that place. But the second reason it matters is that I generally am happy if I have accommodation and transportation booked prior to arriving in a city… but for these first few cities in particular, there just wasn't any time to pre-plan the sights and attractions I want to see. I'm hoping to get more ahead on this for some of the cities I'm visiting later in the trip, as I am able to nail down more of the overall route in these first few weeks.

To all my friends who have commented that I'm a good travel planner at some point in the past… I hope that this confession doesn't change your mind completely. This is the reality of planning a long trip on short notice: if I have a place to sleep tonight, it's a win.

I did end up getting myself to one of Hamburg’s museums, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum of Arts and Crafts), after gaining some Wifi on the first day… and I really enjoyed my visit!

But let's get back on track with the injured foot.

Day Two in Hamburg 

As rough as the weather was Tuesday, it was completely perfect on Wednesday. I went out with my Manchester friends to Hamburg's Town Hall and the Speicherstadt (or Warehouse District) to take some pictures. We then split up and I explored around St. Jacob's Church and St. Peter's Church, ate some excellent lunch at an Asian-fusion hamburger place (who knew that a cheeseburger and a side of kimchi went together so well?), then walked up to Hamburg's Central station to board the train. Back in Sternschanze (the neighborhood I'm staying in) I walked around a bit to take some pictures of the street art.

At some point, I noticed the outside of my left foot was hurting, but since I didn't walk nearly as much as I was walking every day in Copenhagen, I didn't think much of it. By the time I arrived back at my hostel, this had become a sharp, shooting pain every time I put weight on my left foot. Like the perfect patient I am, I changed shoes and went back out on the cobblestones to find some dinner. 

When I went to sleep last night I seriously thought, "I'll probably wake up and it will be fine." 


Day Three in Hamburg

Today, I put that left foot on the ladder to climb down out of my top bunk and was tempted to just get back up there and stay permanently. It should also be noted that my left hand is swollen, like I punched someone in the face and cracked the old soccer injury obtained that one ill-conceived practice when I played keeper for the first and last time… but I don't remember doing anything to that hand. I also don't remember doing anything to the foot: I didn't fall, or twist an ankle, or do anything like that.

I'm just… a human being, I guess.


So here I am, sitting at the table in my hostel with the windows open, resting the foot while writing this post. It was rainy again this morning, which is helping me feel a bit less stir crazy than I would otherwise. I went out and got a large cappuccino because calcium makes for stronger bones… so that should help the foot repair itself, no? (All my friends who are reading this who work in the medical field are shaking their heads, I'm sure). I also got a huge water, because drinking more water solves problems.

Despite my lack of medical knowledge, I'll give myself a bit of credit for doing one smart thing on this trip: I'm not staying anywhere for less than 4 nights. Because this trip is long enough that I have to do some things like plan where I'm going next, plan what I'm doing in cities, do laundry, and apparently rest my 28 year old body when it decides to behave like it is 88. When you only stay in a place for 2 nights, you feel very guilty if you have to "waste" one of the days you are in a place doing something mundane like "resting". And while I may still feel some level of guilt, I'm happy that I'm only having to "waste" 1 out of 4 days here.

The foot is already feeling better, and the weather is clearing up. So I'll probably be heading out to see more of this city this afternoon… in my heaviest soled shoes this time.

P.S. I feel compelled to say this in case someone stops by who isn't familiar with my style of sarcasm: I don't actually think my foot is stress fractured. I probably just bruised it on a cobblestone. The cappuccino should fix it.

P.P.S. It's kind of nice to spend a morning writing. Don't tell the foot, because my full time job now is walking, and I expect it to be back to work by tomorrow when I arrive in Berlin.