Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hamburg ist sehr cool!

(Hamburg is very cool)
I love Hamburg!
I had a blast in Hamburg, a kind of New York meets Venice harbour city. The Hamburgers (yep, that's what they're called in German) were very friendly, there was a ton of stuff to do, and the restaurants we went to were good! I'd go back... 

Friday: We had a picnic feast on the train, checked in to our hotel just before midnight, and then took a walk around the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, it started to pour rain, so we went back to the hotel for the night.

The Harbour
Saturday: Despite a rainy forecast, the sun was shining, yippee! We had some Maximized muffins in our room, and then headed out to explore the town. We spent the whole morning touring the harbour by ferry (thank you, hotel, for our free transport passes!). I couldn't believe the size of it! It's the second largest harbour in Europe. Huge. Impressive. Lots of boats and shipping containers, and lots of interesting people.

Along the Reeperbahn (Cord-makers´Street
After lunch at Burger King (I'm sorry, you can't go to Hamburg and not eat a Hamburger...except if you're me, and you don't really like them... so Tall Guy ate one for me.), we explored the infamous Reeperbahn, Hamburg's red light district. We found Beatlesplatz, a square with sculptures depicting the Beatles. By day, the neighbourhood had the feel of an abandoned carnival, but by night... keep reading.
Europe´s Second-largest Harbou
We climbed up 547 stairs to the viewing platform of St. Michaelis church, and again I was struck by how big the harbour is. We toured the Rathaus, a must-see in Hamburg, and strolled down the deluxe shopping street.

For dinner, we went to Jimmy Elsass, an out-of-the-way restaurant well worth the trip. It had just the kind of candle-lit, intimate, bohemian atmosphere that I love. Our tarte flambĂ©e was scrumptious and gave us a boost of energy to head back to the Reeperbahn.

If you want to see all the tackiness of Las Vegas signage and all the open lewdness of Amsterdam at the same time, go to the Reeperbahn. Hoards of people from all walks of life (tourists, young and old, rich and not as rich, men, women, friends) were walking around, partaking in a variety of activities (there is more to the area than "exotic" clubs... you can also find karaoke bars, dance clubs, pubs, musical theatres, live music and a church). We snapped some pics and headed back to the hotel. We had an early start planned for Sunday...
The Reeperbahn by Night. Notice the crowds...
Sunday: After waking up EARLY, we dashed off to the Fischmarkt, a loud, crazy, in-your-face outdoor market that sells everything from the obvious (fish) to fruit, veggies, clothes, and tacky souvenirs. There was live music in the fish auction hall, and we saw a lot of people for whom Saturday night hadn't yet come to an end. I couldn't stomach the typical breakfast treat, a fish sandwich, and opted instead for a yummy French pastry. After being convinced that his produce was the "best", we picked up 2 kg (about 5 lb) of clementines for a euro (!!) and 2 kg of grapes for 3 from a Hamburger who understood my German (yay!).

Next, we went on a search for the Chilehaus, a building in the expressionist style I wanted to see. We had lunch at a French creperie alongside a canal, complete with French art on the walls, a French cook and French waiters. 
The Chilehaus

Our last stop was at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, a gem of an art museum. We didn't have much time left, and the numberless rooms made finding some of what I wanted to see difficult, so we dedicated our time to seeing the Old Masters, 19th Century and Modern Classics wings, leaving the Contemporary Art Hall for another time. Highlights were a study sculpture for one of the Burgers of Calais figures by Rodin (the Burghers of Calais might be my favourite sculpture), Degas' At the Dressing Table and one of Munch's Girls on a Pier

We picked up dinner in the enormous food court at the train station (everything about Hamburg is enormous, it seems), and hopped on the train back to Wiesbaden. Phew! A worthwhile whirlwind trip.
Bye, Hamburg!


  1. Love your writen commentary, you make the reader feel like they're walking those coble streets next to you.