So, first of all, we didn’t. Sorry, you might wonder what I am referring to but I concluded the last post with the hope we would find a similarly comfortable accommodation in Hamburg and we definitely didn’t (we slept in the car in the end). Finding a hotel in Hamburg is almost impossible, especially if you come short notice and start browsing for hotels at seven o’clock at night for the very night. The whole city is booked with musical-goers and other enjoyers of Hamburgian culture!
But let’s not jump to the end of the day. With tears in one eye, we left Mölln and headed further west to Hamburg. First of all, it didn’t seem very promising and I almost feared we would go all Berlin again when, erroneously, we drove to the outskirts of the city first, mistaking it for the city centre (it was called HafenCity, so give us a break already, how were we supposed to know it was the newest and ugliest part of Hamburg anyone could imagine).
Anyway, we soon corrected our mistake and were welcomed by a rough but beautiful city with the wind dictating its heartbeat. First, we went down to the harbour, meandering along the promenade and looking out for seagulls (these birds are vicious). It was really stunning and, thankfully, the permanent drizzle that had annoyed us ever since we had set off, drew back and sunshine shyly beckoned through the clouds.
Of course we went to the infamous Reeperbahn in the district of St. Pauli and, honestly, I don’t know what the fuss is all about…Admittedly, we weren’t there at night (because I wouldn’t dare to), but in the day it is just some fucked up buildings with flashy letters advertising their entertainment and some food stalls in the middle, offering Currywurst and other delicacies.
From there, we took the hop-on hop-off bus (as you know, I LOVE them) and explored the city sitting snugly in a vehicle who did all the walking for us. Now, I was glad we did the tour, as we passed some truly marvellous places and buildings; however, there are not really that many sights worth exploring (from what I could tell) during the tour and what is interesting is pretty much all within walking distance from the city centre. Still, it gives you a decent overview. It was particularly worth it as we had a live commentary bus, which I always prefer because it is usually much funnier and you can ask questions that pop into your head while driving (though you should only ask the tour-related question, I guess…). Hamburgians (are they so called?) are really nice people, if not undeniably German in their manners. They always say “moin” and if you thought this was referring to morning, I must inform you that you were wrong all the time (as was I). Apparently, it comes from “Plattdeutsch” (which I think is some sort of older German version) and simply means something like “Good day”, so can be used from dusk till dawn.
Shopping in Hamburg is a fun, but luxurious undertaking, as the main streets stretching out from the Rathaus are dotted with expensive shops and I grew weak when we passed A&F, but managed not to buy anything (which I am already regretting, in case you were wondering). Hamburgians, apparently, are known for their snobbism, coming from an affluent city with the harbour always being a good source of income, but I thought they were pretty nice…
As I said earlier, we didn’t settle for a hotel and so drove a little outside the city, parked our car and slept there, before returning to Hamburg for the next day to do some more exploring. We eventually sampled enough reasons we could tell ourselves to buy the slightly overpriced tickets for the harbour tour, but we thought if not in Hamburg where else?
The tour was marvellous, generally I love boat tours, but this was especially amazing. We sailed (floated? swam? drove?, I am new to this marine jargon) with a huge ferry which had three floors and, of course, we went straight to the top which meant we were nearly blown away by the strong wind coming our way. We saw the huge container ships and all the machinery behind the smooth running of such a ginormous harbour and it was absolutely fascinating! I got the creeps a little, obviously, as the sea, huge ships and anything marine pretty much freaks me out. Imagining the dark huge parts of the ship hidden under water like a sea monster gives me the hibbie jibbies, but it was all very impressive. We were also able to get a very good view from the Elbphilharmonie, the new building for the Hamburgian Philharmonic orchestra which is shaped like a wave with a white crest as the roof. From the distance, it looks pretty cool and wavy-ish, but getting closer it has odd windows and balconies which destroy the illusion a little, but all in all I would say it is a building worth taking a photo of (or twenty, like I did).
With the boat tour coming to a close, so did our stay in Hamburg and we headed on to Bremen, the next city I will be happy to tell you about…
PS don't forget to check my Facebook and Instagram for short video updates on the journey ;-)