{Windy Hamburg} Day 1 – ICE Train

Bismillah,

Our holiday started on Dec 21!

Our train was scheduled at around 12.30 PM leaving Berlin Hbf. Initially, we planned to leave the house at 11 AM because the bus that is going to the Hbf only comes every 20 mins and we don’t want to risk getting late. But – of course, that didn’t happen. There is always a messy affair before we leave the house for the holiday. SO MANY things to be taken care of. Starting from cleaning the dishes, prepping snacks and lunch during the trip, last minute packing, and of course, throwing away the trashes.

We only left around 11.30 AM and there was still drama of Husband forgot to turn off the heater. Luckily, we still managed to catch the next bus. Phew.

When we reached Hbf, the station looked a bit empty than usual. Perhaps people were already enjoying the start of the Christmas holiday. After buying some coffee to keep me awake, we posed for a pre-holiday picture.

At Berlin Hbf – posing first before boarding the ICE train

Our train arrived as per schedule. But there is no such thing as no drama for our family lol. We waited at the wrong platform so we needed to rush to the correct one which was a bit far at the end of the train. Not to mention we dragged one big suitcase and one stroller with two toddlers.

Alhamdulillah, we caught the correct platform just in time.

We booked the family compartment thinking that it’s reserved for one family only. But turned out, it wasn’t the case. One family compartment consists of 6 seats and anyone can book it – not only family with kids. Lol. Unfortunately, there was a couple booking seats in the same compartment with us. I prayed that the kids would behave cause Z and M were both so excited.

One hour into the trip, a conductor entered our compartment and checked our tickets. Z and M were given kids pass that can be exchanged with free toys :D.

With tickets that can be exchanged with free (well – half) toys!

The trip took about 2 hours. When we reached Hamburg, it was drizzling. And Hamburg Hbf was SO CROWDED. I am not sure if that was the common situation or it was just because people were rushing to go somewhere before Christmas. We were a bit lost on how to get to our hotel and Hamburg Hbf is not so stroller-friendly.

Turned out we needed to take another S-bahn to the station near our hotel so we bought single tickets for both I and Husband which by the way are so expensive (oh Berlin, I missed you already).

We were pretty much depending on Google Maps to travel around so we checked the shortest route from the S-bahn station to the hotel which was a big mistake. That route required us to go up and down the stairs. While it’s raining and we brought one big suitcase and a stroller.

Anyway, we reached our hotel, checked in, and dried our coats and jackets. The kids looked okay but we were pretty famished after the journey. Decided to take it easy for this first day and not going anywhere other than buying dinner.

Finally reached the hotel and ready to go to bed! (NOT)

For dinner, we chose to buy Indonesian food at Jawa Restaurant which is quite near to the hotel. I have read some reviews that it’s a Halal restaurant so Husband went to check it out. We didn’t dare to bring the kids out because both were having runny noses and Hamburg is so windy.

When Husband reached the restaurant, he sent me the picture of the menus and I was surprised to see that they are selling alcohol. Husband also told me that it doesn’t seem to be owned by Muslims. I was becoming was-was and almost telling Husband not to get the food from there. But since it’s getting dark and the rain was getting heavier, we opted to play safe and just bought some vegetables menu and fishes.

It was quite pricey compared to Indonesian food in Berlin – and sadly the taste was not something special.

After dinner, we got ready to go to bed. We had a long day and just needed some rest.

{Windy Hamburg} Get Ready!

Bismillah,

Hey ho! Happy holidays to all of you! Can’t you believe that it’s going to be 2019 – insya Allah – in less than a week? I feel like time just… flew by. I still remember I started 2018 with so much anxiety and unknowns and here we are, going to enter 2019 soon.

Anyway, enough of my sad opening! Time to start new series of our holiday whoohoo.

The kids are having winter holiday until the new year so we decided to escape somewhere less cold but still within Germany. Initially, we wanted to go to either Prague or Spain but the airplane tickets were crazy expensive so we decided to go somewhere near that we could reach with train less than 3 hours cause you know children like Z and M still can’t stand being in the confined space that long – even our journey from Singapore to Berlin last year was something that I dreaded.

We were torn between Frankfurt, Munich, or Hamburg. All three are quite expensive cities compared to Berlin so price-wise, not that much different. But weather-wise, Hamburg looked better (as in, not too cold for us the tropical creatures lol). So we decided on it!

Accommodation

Here comes the options: Airbnb or hotel? Since we need to eat halal food, in the past we always opted for Airbnb cause we can cook if we needed. But when we looked at the prices in Hamburg during the holiday, we rolled our eyes lol. Not only they were pricey but they were also located far away from the center of the city.

We took a look at our other option which is staying in the hotel. Surprisingly it was a bit cheaper than Airbnb and they are located near the center of Hamburg. So we went with the hotel.

Transport

This is a no-brainer – we opted for the train. Specifically ICE train. Z was so excited when we told him that we are going to Hamburg with a super fast train (his words – not mine).

We booked a family compartment that we thought it’s going to be one compartment = one family. Turned out… it’s not really. I will get to that later.

So we booked accommodation and transport – all set and ready to go!