June 2, 2014   //   International   //   By Alex Krog

After dropping my backpack of clothes off at the hotel, I met up with a few Kleeberg employees who work in Hamburg, and I was informed that they planned a firework show for me!

Ok, not really. The Japanese community in Hamburg every year thanks the city of Hamburg for their hospitality. Seriously, I thought that was pretty awesome. The fireworks are shot off at the Outer Alster, which is a large lake in the center of Hamburg at an event called the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival. There, I was able to see the pointed skyline of Hamburg for the first time. I say pointed, because they have a rule in effect that states that the Hamburg skyline must feature the churches. St. Michael’s Church, our destination in the morning was pointed out, and at that moment it was time to call it a night.

Christoph Grote picked me up at around 10:00 in the morning on Saturday, and we immediately went to St. Michael’s which is one of the highest points in Hamburg and gives you a great overview of the city. I encourage you to type St. Michael’s into a search engine and take a look at the panoramic views that are posted on their website. One thing you will notice is how green the city is. Hamburg is known as being ‘the city in the forest’ and it doesn’t feel like it would be the second largest city in Germany, and the eighth largest in the European Union (It doesn’t smell like all American cities do, either).

After walking around the Elbe river, which is home to Hamburg’s Harbor, I then met up with another Kleeberg employee, Mattias Müller, and his wife and we ate some fresh fish at lunch which is what Hamburg is also known for (it was so good). We rented a public bicycle and we rode down the Elbe and stopped for a refreshing Alster (only called this in Hamburg, in Munich it’s called a Radler), which is a better version of an American shandy. It was at this point, that I was able to recognize that my skin was turning a nice shade of pink. We continued to ride down a path along the Elbe and then took a ferry back.

We rode our bikes back to Mattias’s house and looked at their vacation photos with some of their friends. For the first time, I went and looked in a mirror. My face looked as if someone had shaved Elmo, extracted the color from his hair, and then just for kicks happened to add some florescent. I think I had officially become Hamburg’s third red light district.

I ate some schnitzel for dinner, and then I thought that we were on our way to my hotel. It was around 11:00 and we got on our train and headed back towards the inner city of Hamburg. After ten minutes, we got off and went up to the street level where I was greeted by a lot of lights on a street called the Reeperbahn.

I had never heard of the Reeperbahn before I arrived in Hamburg. As I was walking down the street, I knew that I had never been in a place quite like it. I invite you to look up more information about it. However, I might not do it at work. There are restaurants, bars, casinos, and strip clubs among other things and the place is packed. It is a destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties and people come from all over Europe for the weekend just to experience the Reeperbahn. At the end of the street, there is a church, just for the record.

I’m usually constantly reminded of how tall I am whenever I’m in a public place. People usually stare at me like I am a giraffe in a zoo. However, since I’m in Germany, I like to think it’s because I’m a mix between the height of Dirk Nowitzki (7′) and the looks and singing voice of German icon David Hasselhoff. (If you’ve never done it, you need to youtube Hasselhoff singing at the Berlin Wall in 1989).

Anyway, the Reeperbahn is awesome. I think that’s the most detail that I can go into.

Alex Krog, CPA is an Audit Associate and participant of Mueller’s Global Employee Exchange Program.