Part of my 2011 European travel adventures
Hamburg is Germany's second largest city and commonly referred to by Germans as the Window to the world. It was my first time in this big northern gem and I was truly impressed. I spend there 3 days, but only had one cold November Sunday to explore the city. Sundays in Germany are not like in Taiwan, where people flood the streets of the cities, quite to the contrary: When I went sightseeing, most Germans were taking a rest and staying inside. I've only seen few tourists taking photos around the historic sights. A little bit more crowded was the area near the river Elbe with the view on the harbor, which is very inviting for a Sunday walk. A walk you're about to go on with me.
1. My impression of Hamburg
Unfortunately my time and the means to explore the broader Hamburg were very limited during my trip, because I wasn't in Germany on pleasure, but business. Therefore I the photos below were taken on a few hours long walk around the central Hamburg, which is huge by the way. I don't think I can tell you how Hamburg really is, but I have a general idea. What I liked is the laid back atmosphere, the clean and very well maintained streets and buildings and the amazing mix of old and new architecture. There's definitely a lot going on in this city, some parts are experiencing a construction boom, while others look like they were recently refurbished. Typical for Hamburg are red-bricked houses, churches with very sharp and tall towers, canals winding their way through the old city and even a lake incorporated in the urban area. There are so many things you need to see, if you come to Hamburg, so I can't really tell you what is a must-see location, but these are the places I really enjoyed: The City hall square and the "Rathaus", Jungfernstieg and the Binnenalster (especially in the evening), the area around the "Michel" church, the Saint Nikolai Memorial, the HafenCity and St. Pauli with the "Hamburger Dom" theme park and the Reeperbahn. I've actually seen so many other interesting parts of the city center, that I could make a much longer list. But let my photos speak for themselves.
2. My photos of Hamburg
Below are some of the photos I've taken during my trip. Hamburg was very foggy in the morning, but in the late afternoon the sky slowly cleared up and although it was around zero degrees Celsius, it was a pleasant day to walk, with a clear blue sky and fresh air.
Hamburg's subway is called U-Bahn (Untergrundbahn) and covers the most important parts of the city. What was confusing for me at first was the system of various tariffs depending on the area of Hamburg marked with circles (A, B, C, D). A single fare ticket costs 1.8 Eur, you can take the S-Bahn (Schnellbahn) from Airport to the city center and also switch to the U-Bahn, if you want. For my Sunday adventure I've bought a daily ticket for about 5 Euros, which enabled me to take unlimited rides within the day, something I also recommend to you (and no worries about the various tariffs).
This was a brief overview of Hamburg during the day. It was a nice walk for me, but not as exciting as the mini tour I made in the evening, when I headed to St. Pauli, Hamburg's famous district.
3. Hamburg at night
After my long afternoon tour of the city center, I headed back to the hotel and took a short rest. When the night fell over the city, I decided to go to the Hamburger Dom theme park and Reeperbahn, Hamburg's famous red light district, where the Beatles rocked the place in the early 1960s before they became big.
4. Hamburg in conclusion
Hamburg is a huge city full of history and interesting parts. It would need me at least a week or more to truly get the most parts covered. But I'm happy, that I had the chance to see the center. Once I understood the way public transportation works, getting around was not too hard. Walking is a must, if you want to go deeper. The city felt safe, even the Reeperbahn was not as scary as I've thought. To sum it up: Hamburg is so far my favorite German city (I need to see Cologne, Berlin, Stuttgart, though) and I'm sure it'll always remain one of my favorites. Definitely a must-see destination, if you plan a trip to Germany.