It's hard to rank the cities so far, but Hamburg might be pulling ahead as my favorite. I'm not really sure why this is. There's a good chance it's based on the fact that it's been better weather the last few weeks than the other cities. Having only a week in Leipzig also made it hard to really enjoy, so it's an unfair system all around. Let's put up some stats to try to quantify this. Some Hamburg highlights and lowlights:
High: Nice view from my room.
Low: Germany doesn't know about "sheets", only "comforters". So, when the sun comes up, I am baking well before I'm conscious enough to do something about it.
High: Lots of bikes! And for decent prices!
Low: Lots of bike thieves who wanted my new (used) ride more than they wanted to not be total jerks.
High: The fischmarkt is really cool. A place to start a Sunday or end a long Saturday of hanging out at the ...
Low: Reeperbahn. Pretty gross. But somehow still worth seeing, even if only in daylight. Night seems to intensify the grossness. Is it a far cry from when the Beatles were here? Probably. How far a cry, I do not know. Perhaps it's not a cry at all, but a guitar gently weeping. But that sound is most likely just some crappy DJ a few blocks down.
High: The parks and harbor. Excellent places to walk/run/have my daily ice cream cone. (Seriously, why do we not have hazelnut ice cream? It's the best! C'mon America!) Even if some parts of the park are manufactured beauty (similar to Central Park), it's really nice. Little waterfalls, rose gardens, fountains, kids-playing-with-water areas, multiple ice cream stands. They even have these cool wooden lounging chairs which, in New York, would be stolen in minutes even though they probably weigh a ton and would be incredibly conspicuous and awkward to steal. All I know is, they wouldn't last. Not so here. (Unless that chair is actually a bike seat.) What else ... did I mention the ice cream?
Low: Still mad about my bike getting ripped off and the "California/Mexican" place is only so-so, but since one of those is a repeat and I can't really think of another major con it looks like more points in the High column. Congrats Hamburg: you got yourself a statistical win.
Even though it's summer, when lots of things are not-at-all open or barely open, we've found some good music. With that search also comes bad music, but that can be repressed. Also, there's a movie theater that has showings in English and serves beer and only costs 7.50 Euro with student ID (shhh! don't tell!) so the points just keep racking up for this place.
I'm off to enjoy the day. Another busy weekend and then only one more week before it's back to NY and Ohio for a month, where I'll get to reunite with excellent people, great musicians, hoppy beers, favorite foods, and un-stolen bikes.
(slideshow for mobile)