My grandmother lives in a small town call Bergedorf. It’s just outside of Hamburg, so it’s easy to travel to and from the city centre.
I have been there many times, so I have my familiar places, restaurants, and shops that I regularly like to visit.
My grandmother, of course, always likes to take us for steak. She was horrified when I contemplated getting a burger. (We are at a steakhouse! You must get a steak!) And one does not simply refuse her. She is very stubborn. In the end I did not regret getting steak.
Sitting outside in the pedestrian-only area of Bergedorf is always a treat. The buildings are gorgeous, and it is full of the murmurings of people.
There is a level of detail in the architecture that we do not get here in Vancouver. The intricate railings, the carved decor, the tower-like roof points.
It’s very suburban in Bergedorf, but it’s comfortable. There are many open plazas where people sit and drink coffee and eat ice cream (eis). On Tuesday we sat with my cousin well into the evening, eating eis and drinking Hugo – a wine cocktail that she insisted we try (she could not fathom how we had never heard of it before).
You don’t see too many people rushing around with coffee in their hands. Here they sit and take their time sipping. There was a Starbucks in Bergedorf at one point, but after the initial hype fell away, so too did its popularity. Compared to the incredible bakeries and cafes, it fell short.
There are so many bakeries and cafes, in fact, that I sometimes wonder how they all stay in business. On every block there are multiple bakeries. Every train station has at least one. And they’re always bustling.
And during the summer everyone eats a lot of ice cream. Like, a lot. Which is fair, considering it’s delicious.
Bergedorf also has its own little castle. Everyone is, of course, very proud of it. First used in the 1500s, it remains today, now a museum and cafe.
Small as it is, this city will always have a special place in my heart. Spending weeks here during the summer was a huge part of my childhood. And I think this town will always remain important to me.