Icy fun on the Alster

We have this nice river Alster – besides the river Elbe – which is dammed in the city center and form two huge artificial lakes there. It adds a lot of beauty to our city- and once in a while in winter it freezes.

It freezes so much that you can walk on it – …kind of like..it could be safe enough to walk on it- we won’t kill you if you do so but we also might not save you if you do so. This happened last 2 years ago and is in itself rare.

But then…..VERY VERY RARELY it freezes so that the city of Hamburg officially says – ok…you can go on it on your risk (yes….there is a difference to former said 😉 ) and we will safe you when you break in AND – you can even have a little party called “Alstervergnügen” on the “Lake”.

This happend last in 1997 – so 15 years ago.


So all Hamburgers (stop laughing – that is what we are called) LOOOOVEEE when this happens.

They say about 700000 people visited the ice this weekend -and we were two of them 🙂

You know what an outdoor party in the winter means in Germany right?

Sausage Booths (well- that is also a given thing in summer 😉 and mulled wine. That is pretty much it – and yet it is so much fun.

I had no ice skates – at the last move 5 years I decided the Alster might never ever freeze again…oh well 😉

BTW – it took about 1 hour till we – totally bundled up were freezing in the ice cold wind on the alster- so we headed home and Kitty was like…PAH – “why on earth would you leave cozy warm house anyway???” 😉

And so the rest of the day we worked drinking hot tea and having the heater go bonkers 🙂

What is your favorite local winter thing to do ? Ice Skating, skiing?




  1. Habe gerade Deine Seite über die Bildersuche nach Grungeboard gefunden und musste sofort weiterstöbern.

    Die Bilder von der Alster sind toll! Ich kenne das nur aus den Erzählungen meiner Mutter, die in Hamburg aufwuchs, aber dieses Jahr ist sogar bei uns der Neckar zugefroren (wohne in der Nähe von Stuttgart).

    And a few words in English: I spent half a year in California, between August ’92 and January ’93. It actually snowed that year and everyone said it was because the German girl had brought it over 😉

    Ich halt’s da eher wie Deine (und auch meine) Katze…

  2. Vicki Chrisman says:

    How fun to see! Thanks for sharing the photos Nat! Love your work above with the CD kit too!

  3. I live in California. People wear wet suits and go surfing not far from where I live right now. The storms way up in Alaska help create waves that surfers like. Instead of real cold we pray for rain to fill our reservoirs for our next summer drought. We can pretty much expect a period of no rainfall of 6 months in a row.

    • that is really crazy. When I was in California before CHA it rained and I heard that it hadn’t rained for a long time. I guess we brought it over- because here in Hamburg it rains a LOT .

  4. Sue Clarke says:

    Folks around here go skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing (really smoke cigars and drink beverages that have alcohol in them), go sledding and my favorite is to sit inside with a good book and a hot cocoa or chai:-)

    (not much snow this year so we have to go north of us to do any of these things…except mine)

  5. What a fun event! Pretty spectacular when it happens with so many years in between. I love your phone photo with your location in the water–Funny! Hmm, my favorite local thing to do in winter…I will tie it to the holidays…I like to drive around with a hot chocolate and look at all the Christmas lights while listening to Christmas CD’s. Then, like Dottie and the kitty, I like to snuggle at home with some soup, a movie, and some crocheting. 🙂

  6. My favorite winter activity is much like kitty’s. I love to sit in front of the fireplace. I am a sissy when it comes to the cold. 🙂

  7. wow, that looks like so much fun. And the best part is cozy kitty at home after the party 🙂

  8. oye… only an hour on the lake! what a whimp! And I mean that lovingly, you know that. We spent about 3 hours on Saturday on teh lake. T#2 and sidekick had a blast skating. And the BF and I drank our share of mulled wine.

  9. that sounds like a lot of fun.
    my favorite activity is skiing in the winter for sure and crazy as it may sound i too enjoy shovelling. just not the end of the drive which the plow has decided to fill!!

  10. What a beautiful story, and I have so many memories of being cold in winter in Germany, lost bags at airport and in summer clothes. You have made feel like going back to Germany in winter again. Thankyou for sharing this.

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