letter twenty-eight to gioia: moinmoin

my dearest,

i miss you. we haven’t talked in some time and it looks like it’s going to be a while before we do so next. entirely my fault, i know. these days it seems like every minute of every day is planned. apart from today, which is extra nice seeing as i’m yet again turning a year older and feel like i need some time to contemplate that. my birthday list is still very much in the works, although it might be somewhat further along after the train journey from basel to zurich that’s about to happen. i started into the day by sleeping in (much needed after the weekend away, which i’ll come to in a bit) and then having coffee and chocolate for breakfast (that’s allowed on one’s birthday, right?) before getting ready and heading to binningen to have lunch with my mom. as i was in the tram, fede called and then spontaneously joined our lunch date, where we had chestnut soup (could it get any better?) and an omelette with leek, avocado and crème fraîche. it was goooood. on walking out of the café, we rain into astrid, who was just driving by on her bicycle. i wonder who else i’ll run into today…

and now i’m sat in at the window of the train, my zillion bags with air mattress, sleeping bag and whatnot strewn around me, one of my favorite albums (especially for traveling) playing. so let me tell you about the weekend in hamburg with nora, visiting jara. as you know, i traveled to the harbor city on thursday evening/friday night/friday morning. what a journey! the db has its reputation for and once again, i experienced why firsthand. after boarding the freezing train in basel and trying in vain to turn on the heating in our compartment, we hit the first obstacle at three a.m. in frankfurt, where the train stopped and did not continue for what felt like the entire night. as we were sitting in our seats, now in t-shirts because the heating had been turned on so high until we were all sweating, there was a flash of light accompanied by a bang outside – apparently something happened to the overhead wiring – and we were stuck at the station. earplugs in, sleep mask on and neck cushion in place, we finally continued our journey, the heating once again mysteriously non-existent, one and a half hours later. as you can imagine, i arrived in hamburg not as well rested as i had hoped, but that was soon forgotten when nora and jara came to pick me up at the u-bahn station and we went to have brunch (thank dumbledore for coffee) at may, a very popular brunch spot in st. pauli, just around the corner of jara’s apartment.

after eating ourselves through the buffet, we made our way to hamburg’s most famous church, michel, where we climbed a lot of stairs (i didn’t count, but there were a lot. i felt like gus as they look up at the stairs leading to cinderella’s room…) to the top of the tower and were rewarded with the perfect view over the various parts of hamburg. we still had a few hours of daylight ahead of us, so we decided to take the u-bahn to the alster to take a walk along its shore. it was the perfect autumnal stroll, with heaps of browning leaves and the wind blowing even more onto us. we walked until we reached another u-bahn stop, hopped on and got off to visit the haus der photographie at the deichtorhallen. and so we spent the next two hours looking at photographs by irving penn and peter keetman and then another half hour at the museum shop because you know how much i love those. by then we were ready for a drink and headed to a bar in the gängeviertel, which is basically one or two tiny streets between houses. still very unclear about our plans for the evening, we downed our beers and made our way back to jara’s apartment for some dinner (spaghetti with brussel sprouts), then spontaneously leaving again to go the movies. we made it to the cinema just as they were closing the door and spent the next two hours learning about egon schiele’s various relationships to women. we ended the day with another drink at the eck kneipe and then dropped into bed knackered.

the next morning started with a breakfast of muesli and coffee and continued with a visit to the schanzenflohmi, where both nora and jara found warm wool sweaters. after walking around and looking at the plethora of things other people didn’t want anymore, we came across a bookstore and went inside for a „quick look“, emerging more than an hour later with a new book each and lists of inspiring books we now want – hello christmas wishlist! saturday was a cold, cold day and not even the teas and coffees we had at another charming coffee shop (definitely too many cafés to fit into one weekend) called panter could really warm me, but that was taken care of when nora and i went on a little shopping tour. we got home just as jara started preparing dinner, showed off our shopping finds and then enjoyed a candlelit dinner of leftovers that didn’t taste at all like leftovers, but like they were meant to be combined that way.

later that evening, we met some of jara’s friends for a klezmer/russendisko party at a huge cooperative housing project with some of the friendliest and joyful people i have ever seen. we arrived just in time for the klezmer concert, got ourselves some sekt for 2.50 and joined the dancing crowd. what followed was one of the most fun nights i have ever experienced. from the free food (pumpkin soup with bread and a homemade tomato spread, borscht for the meat-eaters,  a three-tiered chocolate cake and very organic tasting m&ms), the aforementioned sekt and vodka shots, the people (most of them a fair few years older than us) and particularly the dancing, it was quite the night.

before we knew it, our last day with jara had arrived and with it, the rain. we brunched ourselves happy at hejpapa and with very full bellies made our way to the landungsbrücken, where we had planned to take the ferry to altona. on the way, however, we came across the danish, norwegian, finnish and swedish churches (all on one street), which were organizing christmas bazars that day. of course we had to take a peek into each one, with the consequence of it being too late to go to altona. instead, we took yet another stroll along the elbe and through st.pauli, ending up at kraweel for one last drink and a game of yatzy. then it was time to say goodbye to hamburg and jara, to pack our things and head to the train station for another long journey (and yes, the trains arrived in basel with delay). our small adventure ended at exactly two a.m this morning. and what a lovely adventure it was!

Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset

and so we come to the book. i finished it a bit early this month, namely yesterday on the train. i’m giving it five stars. i really liked this one – the writing, the style, the story, i was captured by everything. it’s sad and shocking and yet it’s also hopeful. it’s one to pass on and to recommend and to talk about and i’m sort of glad we weren’t able to read it earlier in the year. it’s one that’ll stay with me for a very long time, i think.

my love, i hope we can talk very, very soon.

yours,

rahel

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