Autumn is a definite force this far north. We enjoyed daylight past 10pm in June, but now we have to turn the lights on before 5pm. The leaves have started to change colors, and the temperatures have dropped sharply. Last week, Hamburg saw nothing but chilly rain. There are fewer people riding their bikes or walking around the lake, and the heavy coats are coming out.
It’s been about three weeks since I’ve blogged about life here. We haven’t gone anywhere too exciting in that time, but we have seen a bit more of the area and seen some of the changes.
Jenny’s family (mother, sister, and grandfather) visited for a week in September. It was really good to see them again, and it was a blast to show them around Hamburg and how we live here. My parents are coming at the end of October for a week, too, so we’ll get to be tour guides again. We’re not sure how cold it will be by then, so we’ve recommended that they bring heavy clothes.
In addition to seeing the East German town of Schwerin (and its fantastic castle) with Jenny’s family, we’ve made a couple other day trips. A couple weekends ago, Jenny and I went to the northern-most island in Germany: Sylt. Sylt is mostly a big tourist-resort-beach place, but this time of year it’s too cold really to appreciate. So, we had some seafood, walked on the beach and in the cold sea water, and headed back. On the way back, we stopped in the smaller harbor towns Husum and Friedrichstadt. Both towns were cute and worth walking around, but neither had anything in particular to draw tourists. However, we had a very nice dinner in Friedrichstadt.
Yesterday, we went to the nearby town of Ahrensburg. We might have biked there normally (about 22 km each way), but I’m getting over a week-old chest cold, so we wimped out and took public transportation. Ahrensburg is another cute northern German town, although the center of the town is newer than many of the other towns we’ve seen. Instead of half-timbered houses, the architecture is dominated by modern red brick buildings. I don’t know if this is recent growth or a result of WWII, but it made the town less cute than many other towns we’ve seen. On the plus side, it has a Renaissance-style palace/castle that has much of the original furnishing.
Other than that, we’ve kept busy. Jenny was in Genoa, Italy for much of last week for a conference, and I’ve been working on my independent-study project and watching the leaves fall outside our window.