How long does it take to fall in love? To me, love has always been a matter of consideration, something to think about, weighing the pros and cons, the timing, the chances. Thinking and overthinking, I never quite seemed to realize that I already was – falling. Later, I would look back and find that it never was the thinking, not the actual, objective reasons that made me; it was the first moment. It’s a raised hand in a seminar, an unexpected face on my doorstep, it’s a hand shake in a dark bar. It’s the feeling that someone you didn’t know you were waiting for, just burst through the front door. I never expected to fall in love. Except when I came to Hamburg.
I had seen countless pictures of Hamburg, the blue port, the beach bars along the two rivers, the charming old architecture, the big new glass offices, the ever-changing street style. I had read stories of friendships celebrated on the Kiez, drinks and fish buns right next to the Elbe, spring strolls through Planten un Blomen, kisses on Sternschanze’s doorsteps, waffles at Eimsbüttel’s street corners, and days full of creativity in agencies or home offices all over the city. Almost exactly one year ago, I finally met the city of my dreams in person. The moment I stood at Jungfernstieg in the pouring rain, I knew I was in love. And I had been for a while.
On our one year anniversary (well, the anniversary of my falling in love really, I came to live here in July), I went up St Michael’s church for the first time. The wind on the platform is icy. Because this is Hamburg. And although we can only stand it for five minutes, it’s as beautiful as ever. The iconic dancing towers, the almost-finished Philharmonic Hall (I’m convinced!), the port, the TV tower, and all the pretty and not-so-pretty houses in between… it’s this view over Hamburg, and all the individual stories it implies, that I’ve become so fond of.
The view over Hamburg makes me wonder what might be happening down there. Who is Petra talking to right now in her tiny bar near Reeperbahn? How many travesty shows are running today? Is my friend K. at the library, or is she enjoying coffee at Starbucks in Mönckebergstraße? Is J. out for a photoshoot? Has my flatmate finished her project on the wooden floor of our flat? Who’s shopping at Lidl in Altona or Edeka at the main station, which are open today? Could I see our house if I knew exactly where it was?
How long does it take to feel at home? If you’re in love, only an instant…
Hauptkirche St. Michaelis
Englische Planke 1
Entry fee: 5€ (Students 4€)