Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Docklands of Hamburg





When informing people that I would be visiting the beautiful city of Hamburg I was often told something along the lines of "The city has an air of snobbiness - but when you arrive and see the city you give them a pat on the back, a wink and simply understand" 







Over the next little while we will backtrack and visit some of my favourite places and memories of the past few years of travel. This is one of them - Today we head to Germany...

One of my dearest friends in the whole world currently lives in Berlin. Ever since we met and I started visiting her and her family in Germany we try to get away together, escape cities we both know and explore somewhere new. This year it was Hamburg...

For three nights we ran around the immaculate city exploring as much as we could, trying to get the most out of the long relaxing days of perfect summer. 




The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is situated on the Elbe River, it is the second largest city in Germany, the ninth largest in Europe and the tenth largest port in the world. 




We had such perfect weather, bright blue skies every day. Weather where you just want to be outside in amongst it for as long as you possibly can. Families and businessmen were spilling onto the streets, chatting away on the river banks and in the huge network of parks.

I was quite jealous of Hamburg's vast parklands. The Planten un Blomen, where we spent a lot of our time, covers a huge area just by the central city it is full of water fountains and lakes and endless space to sit and read in deck-chairs in the dappled shade. There are cafe's, miniature golf, table tennis huge playgrounds (that Ursula and I desperately wanted to climb all over) and even contains a free circus with a petting zoo for the kids! 





I found the old docklands(as seen below and at the very top) particularly stunning, nothing like I had ever really been through before. Wandering over some of the 2000 odd bridges between the well preserved industrial red brick warehouses with pale green roofs of oxidised copper and the new age architecture is a must. 








I highly recommend taking the time to explore the harbour and the Elbe River. We grabbed an all day public transport ticket which allowed you access to some of the core ferry lines. For the price of a train ticket, you can jump on the red ferry which will take you most of the way up the harbour towards the ocean. 

It is a hop on/hop off system meaning, you can jump off at various points to explore other parts of the city, relax on the beach and munch away on fish sandwiches and ice-cream on the riverbank (maybe not at the same time), or you can just sit back and enjoy the ride! 

There are a few different routs and ferry options so do a little research and see what you where you would like to explore. 






Opened in 1911 the Elbe Tunnel is a functioning pedestrian and vehicle tunnel stretching under the Elbe river, connecting the docks to the shipyard. Once on the other side of the river you will be able to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city and its harbour. 




So what about the notorious nightlife I hear you ask? The Reeperbahn is Hamburg's famous red-light district. The sense of nightclubs, sex shops and brothels can still be felt in areas of the city, but unless you really searched (which we didn't) you wouldn't really know it was there. 
It was however, an area which helped shape the pop-culture of today. The Beatles famously played in bars along the street regularly before the band took off. 
"I might have been born in Liverpool - But I grew up in Hamburg" - John Lennon 




Overall Hamburg is an incredibly beautiful city. With a huge cultural scene, Hamburg is dotted with museums, galleries and theatres. In fact, see the spiky building being built to the right of the photo above? That is going to be Hamburg's newest concert hall! I am quite excited to visit the finished product! All this connected with a prominent cafe culture really makes Hamburg a city where anyone could imagine living. I kept trying to convince Ursula that she should move there just so I had an excuse to visit the city again. 

We only scratched the surface... 





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