Small boat on the river Elbe in Hamburg. December 2014
I don’t know how many times I’ve come across this bridge on the train. Many many times during my years at university! More times than my parents care to remember, I’m sure, as they spent way too much times at Hamburg-Dammtor, waiting for my train to arrive. It’s a cold, draughty station (aren’t they all?) and despite their reputation abroad, German trains are not always on time. So all too often my parents would venture into McDonald’s (something they would ordinarily NEVER do) for an apple pie and to warm up.
Meanwhile, I would have been on the train for many hours already, making my way north. Slowly the hills would disappear and the land would become flat (and I mean really flat)! A sure sign that I didn’t have far to go. That I was nearly home. Then the warehouses started appearing, the cranes that move containers, side arms of the River Elbe. The excitement grew!
Hauptbahnhof always felt like a bit of an annoying delay. Most passengers got off there, the train became very quiet. Then we set off again. I wanted to stay seated for as long as I could, to be able to really enjoy this view. The view that says “home” like few others do. Instead I collected my stuff and headed into the corridor, awkwardly crouching down because I really didn’t want to miss THE VIEW. And then I was home.
On the return journey, the view was the same, yet the feelings were very different. There was a quiet sadness at leaving, yet also an excitement that started to build as I got ready to return to my “other life”.
I haven’t come across this bridge in a long time. For many years, I was living abroad and arriving at the airport became the new normal. Now I’m back in the country and do often travel by train again. These days, though, I get off at Hauptbahnhof and therefore miss the view. Life changes.
Yet when this picture appeared on my Facebook feed, I was instantly back in that place and time. All those feelings were real again. The view that carries so many emotions.
The View That Says Home.
Flowing water at its best – beautiful waterfall!
And at its worst: River Elbe having broken its banks during recent flooding.
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
The flow of people when the Berlin Wall finally fell.