Tag 5 – Natalie Fairman
Aside from the heavy rains causing the U-Bahn to be out of service and the less than appealing weather conditions, it was still a very much enjoyable day in Hamburg. Having it be transportation awareness day, it was decided for us to visit the Miniatur Wunderland Model Rail Exhibit and the U-Bootmuseum. I was taken aback by the incredible detail of the display and array of the miniature presentations. The places that were showcased were Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria, Knuffingen, Middle Germany, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, and Italy was under construction. The exhibit was interactive in that it was not only a visual representation of the land, but there were also audible and mobile displays of certain aspects and noteworthy landmarks of each country. It took a total of 850,000 hours to construct this miniature wonderland. What I found particularly amazing was how the displays turned from day to night, showing how the countries lit up in the evening. It was remarkable seeing the miniature airplane and rocket ship take off and humorous seeing a UFO make its appearance. I really enjoyed seeing the American display and found it interesting how America was perceived. Little displays of Mount Rushmore, SeaWorld, and Las Vegas were featured.
After traveling around the Miniatur Wunderland, my family from Paderborn came to visit me and took me to a restaurant called Strauchs Falco. At that restaurant, I ate the most delectable foods and desserts. It was such a treat seeing them since I have only met them once before. We discussed the differences that we each noticed both in Germany and America. My family made me realize that the most difficult aspect for me to get accustomed to was why Europeans did not automatically understand American customs and culture. For example, it was normal for them to have to pay to use a bathroom yet I found that circumstance entirely odd and unnecessary. We also talked about the dissimilarities in the humor, education system, fashion, money, and transportation of the American and German cultures and societies. I also found it fascinating how my cousins, who are only 15 and 17 years old, were brought up speaking both German and English and are now learning Spanish in school. I found it amazing how they were fluent in multiple languages, and I was having trouble speaking and understanding simple German conversation.
The last adventure of this day was touring the extremely small and tight quarters of the U-434, a Russian submarine. It was bizarre as well as impressive how people were able to live, cook, and work in those restricted spaces. After the visit to the U-Boot, we walked the streets of Hamburg and admired the beautifully quaint architecture of the buildings. I truly enjoyed Hamburg and its charm; however, the amount of stairs was dreadful. I really began to appreciate Germany after walking along the Reeperbahn, a street in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district. The city’s nightlife was both shocking and interesting. Besides the fact that my Dad felt slightly unloved when I could not get in touch with him to wish him a happy birthday due to the inconsistent Wi-Fi, January 11th proved to be a good day in Hamburg, Germany.