Here and there in Hamburg (Germany)
Hamburg is the perfect mix of modern posh and industrial architecture. It's constantly windy, and the steel beams don't do much to make the city warmer – but when the sun comes out and reflects off the Elbe, and if you take a walk down the Reeperbahn on a Friday night, then things certainly heat up.
We went to Hamburg on a whim. Caught in that kind-of-cold-not-really-warm weather that graces Switzerland in April, we had our hearts set on the beach. But due to time constraints, we picked a place neither one of us had been to before and some place that was still close to a body of water.
I'm not usually an "architecture person" but I can appreciate historic buildings mixed with the new. I have a soft spot for abandoned buildings that manage to occupy a large piece of property while hanging on to the remainder of prestige they boasted decades ago.
Hamburg was different for me. We stayed at a nice, swanky hotel in the renowned Speicherstadt and within the first couple of hours on our first day, I was totally drawn to the shapes of the "old town" in the water. It was all so structured and uniform and peaceful. Not much goes on in the Speicherstadt these days. The brick warehouses are mostly empty aside from several blocks that are filled with oriental rugs that are imported and exported around the world. I liked the patterns of the warehouses and the bridge beams criss-crossed with crane containers in the background.
Big things were in motion, but it was all so calm somehow.
We did pretty much everything a tourist should do while in Hamburg, and we had plenty of time to boot. Maybe too long actually: we arrived early on Thursday morning and left late on Monday night. Here's a quick list of all that we accomplished and that we recommend you do too while you're there:
> Coffee drinking (Hamburg is known for its roasteries)
> Boat tour
> Musical (apparently Hamburg is only behind London and Broadway when it comes to musicals)
> Hop-on-hop-off bus tour (tacky, but perfect on a rainy day and a great way to get a lay of the land before your sightseeing really gets going)
> Drinks at 20up
> A stroll down the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's scandalous Red Light District
> Schanzenviertal (an alternative section of Hamburg that locals described as "the city's wild side." We saw it and we liked it.)
> Fish market (wake up early, get a fine cup of joe and indulge in a fish sandwich, all before 7am)
> Shopping (duh!)
In the spirit of sharing travel tips with fellow adventurers, here are two things that we wish we'd known before we left:
1. It is COLD! I checked my trusty Apple weather app before leaving and though the temperatures looked fine, I did NOT plan for the wind and therefore I was basically frozen to the bone the whole trip. Except for when we popped into a cafe for a coffee or tea, which happened approximately every hour or so. Make sure you plan for cold wind!
2. Hamburgers are into their bikes and most sidewalks are divided into two lanes - one for bikers and one for walkers. Make sure you are always aware of what lane you're walking in and where the bikes are because I had several near-heart attacks when the bicycle bell rang from just a couple feet behind us. Stay in your lane!
Have you been to Hamburg, or are you planning on going soon? Leave your travel tips in the comments below or let me know what you're wondering about. Bon voyage!