So far, all the posts in my 30 German towns before 30 series have been about towns in the South of Germany (in fact, most of them have even been in baden-Württemberg), so I thought it was time to vary things a little bit. Today’s post shall be about Hamburg. While Hamburg isn’t the northernmost town in Germany (that would be Westerland), it is a lot further North than anything else I’ve told you about so far!
I went to Hamburg in July 2008 to visit a friend, Claire, who I had previously done an internship with. I actually wrote a little about my trip at the time, but I didn’t include any pictures (and it’s not exactly my most coherent piece of writing) so it doesn’t get to count for the series.
We managed to visit Hamburg on a weekend with perfect weather, which I’m told is unusual in Hamburg. Apparantly the town is known for being constantly rainy, but we got gorgeous blue skies and sunshine (at 31°C – around 87°F – it was actually almost too hot for me!)
There are two lakes within Hamburg city – the Binnenalster (Inner Alster lake) and the Außenalster (Outer Alster lake), the Alster being the river that was dammed to form the lakes. Here’s the Binnenalster:
Because we were visiting friends (as well as Claire, we met up with a friend of Jan’s) and didn’t have a lot of time, we didn’t actually see much of Hamburg. We arrived on Friday evening (having flown up there straight from work) and left again on Sunday. However, on Saturday morning we did go with Claire to see the Nikolai Kirche (St. Nicholas’ Church), which was mostly destroyed due to bombing in the Second World War and is now preserved as a memorial to everyone who died in the war.
There is a lift inside to take you up the spire. You get some great views from the top!
After we’d been up the tower, Claire had to leave us to go to work and Jan and I went underground to look at an exhibition showing photos showing Hamburg after the bombing of the Second World War. They also had a special section with photos from Coventry, showing the damage caused there by German bombs.
After the exhibition, we walked down to the river and the “Speicherstadt” (Warehouse District) of Hamburg – Wikipedia says it’s the “largest timber-pile founded warehouse district in the world” (whatever that means!). Here are some photos:
After walking around the Speicherstadt for a while, it was time to meet up with Jan’s friend, N. He took us on a ferry to a beach bar. On the way there, we saw the Lion King boat, taking people across the river to see the Lion King musical!
This is the view from the beach bar. I don’t remember what it was called, but I do know we drank Astra beer because that’s just what you do in Hamburg.
In the evening, we headed to the Sternschanze area of town, which N told us was the studenty part of town. We ate at an Italian/Greek restaurant then headed down to the Reeperbahn (when in Hamburg…) for some drinks and to meet Claire, once she had finished work. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to take a single photo of the Reeperbahn!
The next morning we got up late then Claire and I went back to Sternschanze for a delicious brunch. Jan stayed in bed nursing a hangover, finally coming to meet us just as Claire had to leave for work (the advantage of this was that he then brought the luggage so there was no need to have it with me at the cafe). Jan and I sat in the park for a while until it was time to head for the train station and back to Karlsruhe.
I absolutely LOVED Hamburg, or what I saw of it anyway. Our trip was definitely too short! With a population of more than 1.8 million (it’s the second largest city in Germany) I wasn’t sure I would like it, but it’s so pretty and didn’t feel as horribly overcrowded as some big cities (London, I’m looking at you!!) If I get the chance to go again, I’ll definitely do some more touristy stuff (they have 2 museum ships and I wasn’t on either!) and take more photos.