Of course, I also take advantage of the Couchsurfing and the Meet Up community, which is very huge in Hamburg; sometimes events are advertised on both platforms.
I met most of the new people and friends at a weekly Couchsurfing meeting taking place at Kosmos, a cozy bar in St. Pauli. On that day, the entire bar is reserved for this event and, in my opinion, it is a nice atmosphere to meet people and talk about this and that. Plus, you can choose whether you’d like to find a convenient place at a table, hang around at the counter (closer to the drinks) or go outside, enjoy the weather and have a chat outside. Especially in summer and autumn, it is really worth it and even in (almost) winter, it is nice to cool down and escape the noise inside.
Sadly, the English meeting at Café Gerngeschehen – I visited the first time last year – doesn’t exist anymore since the café closed down around September. However, I am still in contact with some folks I got to know there and/or met them at other events, such as Kosmos.
After a couple of recommendations for different meetups advertised on the Meetup platform, I finally decided to check it out…
Of course, it really depends – basically on the city and its community – how many events are available; People in Marburg, for instance, probably more likely rely on Facebook and occasionally Couchsurfing whereas in Hamburg, you can find a huge amount of events with different mottos, organized with a certain topic or group of people in mind, advertised on Meetup.
One of the Meetup events I joined a few times is Walk & Talk: The meeting point is at a restaurant called “Alster Cliff” and, while doing an about 8 kilometer walk along the Alster in groups of usually 2 people, you and your walking partner introduce yourselves and chat about this and that. Every 10 minutes, you change partners in order to meet and talk to different people in the group. At the end of the walk, some people gather at the Alster cliff for dinner and/or drinks and the rest splits up into different directions. On the one hand, the concept of “Walk & Talk” assures that you always have a companion next to you but on the other hand, I sometimes had to be careful not losing the others because not everybody was aware of my visual handicap, and it sure doesn’t help if I and my previous partner have been walking in the back. We once walked in a group of 3 people because all the others started walking again and we couldn’t find a partner for me. In this or similar cases, it helps trying to attract the others’ attention, after which they start to look out for people with no partner yet. In other words, despite those stressful moments, it is a nice outdoor event and I had some pleasant walks. It even takes place when it is rainy… well, in this case, I think I’m still one of those lazy guys who rather stay indoors. However, whereas other locations – such as the Kosmos – are easier to find from the nearest public transport stop, the Alster Cliff is not really in a crowded area of the city and less people are around to possibly ask for directions. I therefore took advantage of MOIA and FREE NOW to get there quicker.