Hamburg! In my mind's eye I see Hans Albers with his sailor cap, Marlene Dietrich singing as "the dashing Lola”, images from the Reeperbahn, and the famous fish market. Everything sounds a bit like cliché and it seems to be time to discover today's Hamburg.
We take a room at the Außenalster Hotel and walk to the harbour first. Around 13,000 ships from all over the world are taking the second largest port in Europe every year. From the cruise terminal over the historical warehouse district and the Landing Bridges to the modern container port, it smells like freedom and faraway countries. One week ago the cruiser Queen Mary docked here. We, unfortunately, missed that.
We make a tour with one of the barges and learn why Hamburg has the nickname "gate to the world". We hardly understand the dialect, but the special humour is very appealing to us.
After a first look at the warehouse district, we decide to dedicate the whole next day to this part and finish the first day at the Jungfernstieg, eating Labskaus (a dish with potatoes, beetroot, salted meat and egg, by the way - contrary to our opinion – it originally comes not from Hamburg).
Between Deichtorhallen and Baumwall, the hundred-year-old warehouse district is situated. It is the world's largest connected warehouse complex and UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an idyllic place, which we would not have expected in this large harbour. Above all, the brick-built houses of the Wilhelminian era with their gables and tiny towers impress us.
In the Speicherstadtmuseum we learn a lot about the history of the warehouse district, the work of storekeepers and coffee, cocoa or tea. In the Spicy’s Museum, you can smell, touch an taste exotic spices.
Afterwards, we visit the Hamburg Dungeon, where actors tell us the story of Hamburg in a scary-comic show and we have to walk from room to room through the centuries. A great experience, which is now available in many large cities.
The Miniatur Wonderland is also here. It is the largest model railway in the world and we admire the details of the individual stations.
The next day we start with a walk at the Alster. After a break and refreshment in the Alsterpavillon, we continue to the surrounding shopping zones and passages. Here one can find something for every taste and every price.
In the late afternoon, we go to the Reeperbahn, also called "Kiez". This is and will remain Hamburg's amusement district number one. Many table dance bars, discotheques and student clubs take place here. There is nothing that doesn’t exist at a length of 930 meters! We walk through the streets before the area awakens and thousands of people of all ages move around to enjoy themselves.
Near our hotel, we discover a small restaurant, in which we absolutely want to go, because it looks so nice from the outside. At the door, we are told that there is a special program this day, which is connected with a fixed menu. We decide to stay and get surprised with a Travesty show. The setting is very personal and familiar and we enjoy a very special evening.
Even if in autumn it’s often very stormy in Hamburg, people are open minded and warm-hearted. Hamburg has extremely much flair and has won our heart.
In the meantime, the Elbphilharmonie was built and there is surely much new, which is worth it to come back. We are already looking forward to it.