Weekend in Germany

We are taking full advantage of the European bank holidays to travel. The office was closed yesterday, so we hopped on a plane and went to Germany to visit my friend Johan. We flew Germanwings, a discount airline subsidiary of Lufthansa. I must admit that I was sort of apprehensive to take an unfamiliar discount airline (can I take a bag onboard? how does boarding work?) but it was surprisingly easy and normal...imagine that. :) We flew from CDG to Hamburg, which took about 1 hour. From the airport, we took a 30 minute train into the Hamburg city center.
From there, we headed to the Google office in Hamburg. The cafe was amazing and the offices are so cool. Hamburg is known for its lakes and canals, so the entire office is lake themed. Check out Lucas hanging out in the cool work space. 
The weather was lovely on Friday - sunny and 75 degrees. We wanted to soak it up, so after work, we went to the Alster for a picnic with friends. We grilled würstchen (my favorite!), curry sausage, and bratwurst and had crusty bread and cheese -- it was a perfect German barbeque. The sun doesn't set until around 10:30 or 11:00 pm, so we got to hang out for quite a while.
The next morning, Lucas and I couldn't resist going for a run around the lake. They have shady paths, so it's just about the best running environment you could ask for. There are tons of cute cafes around the lake. I swear, Hamburg is the most underrated city. How gorgeous are the canals?
Johan is from Braunschweig, which is about 1.5 hours from Hamburg. I wanted to visit his parents, so we drove to Braunschweig on Saturday afternoon. They have this magical garden filled with peonies, garden roses, hydrangeas, and other flowers. The star of the garden is this authentic Italian brick oven that they make homemade pizzas in. Everytime we visit I look forward to making pizza and drinking white wine on their patio. Check out that spread of toppings, homemade dough, and sauce.
 Also, the Jünke family really has the gallery wall thing down. They're putting Pinterest to total shame!
On Sunday we went for a tour of Braunschweig in Johan's Dad's vintage car - how cool is that? We drove around town to show Lucas all of the landmarks - old churches, town hall, the theatre, etc. It's one of the most historic cities in Germany. We also went to a local farm to buy spargel, which is the white asparagus that Germany is famous for. Johan's mom made a delicious lunch of schnitzel, spargel, kartoffeln (potatoes) with hollandaise sauce.
We drove back to Hamburg on Sunday. We had the day off yesterday, so we had a barbecue at the beach on the Elbe and tried to soak up the last rays of the weekend. The clouds rolled in just as we were leaving for the airport. :) Thanks for a great weekend, Germany. I can't believe we're half way through our European adventure. Next up: Prague!