Guest Blog: 72 Hours in Hamburg
We’d heard that the fish market was a must-see attraction in Hamburg, so we all begrudgingly set our alarms for an early start of 6.30 a.m. This didn’t turn out quite as we’d planned though… as we got a wake up call from Grace at 7.45 a.m…uh oh. I, along with Grace, was the only ones who managed this early start and headed off to the fish market. The journey from the Generator Hostel we were staying at was surprisingly easy and quick, we jumped on an S-Bahn from the Central Station (minutes from our hostel) and were there within 20 minutes. It was a fine day and we had a pleasant walk to arrive at the bustling fish market. It was a welcome surprise to see that the market was still super busy – we had expected our late arrival to mean that we missed the action. So we made our way down to the market, which not only sold fish but a variety of clothes, jewellery, coffees and other such tidbits. We grabbed a coffee and a German pastry from two stalls on our walk, then gravitated towards some rock music that we could here. This led us to a large building which had two stages at either end and lots of tables which were all full. To describe the atmosphere, I’d have to say it was noisy because all the vendors were shouting out trying to sell their various deals and bargains! The market is a fish-lovers dream – everywhere we walked there were adults and children alike enjoying their fish sandwiches. Yum yum!
The rest of the group got a few more precious hours of sleep and met us at Breakfast in the Hamburg hostel. We then decided to go to Miniatur Wunderland, which was an attraction that had also been recommended to us. And so we got the train to Baumwall and walked along the river to the site of the Miniatur Wunderland (it was around a 10 minute walk). When we arrived – at around 12.20 p.m. – we were told that we could not get tickets for another few hours and so we decided to book for the next morning.
Before going to see the Rathaus, we went for lunch at an Italian restaurant called Mama Trattoria. The food was delicious with us sampling pasta, salad and pizza – all of us arguing that our dish was the best.
After this slight detour we walked to the Rathaus (which translates into English as ‘council house’). The walk was very pleasant and we found a lovely sculpture en route which we decided to climb – I found this highly entertaining and we took lots of pictures. The Rathaus was a beautiful area and there was a pop-up China Town in the square, with the authentic music from a Chinese stringed instrument which added to the atmosphere.
For dinner, we decided to go to St Pauli. Before flying out, we’d heard a lot about this famous region of Hamburg, so we were excited to see what all the fuss was about. We expected a busy and youthful area, so we were a little surprised when it was not nearly as lively as we’d imagined.
However some of the locals we spoke to told us that Hamburg became “eerily quiet” on Sundays – so take that as a warning! After roaming the area (rather thoroughly!) we decided on Gloe on Detlev-Bremer-Strasse, a small restaurant we were attracted to for the reasonable prices and friendly and helpful staff. The food was hearty and scrumptious, and we had a German beer to accompany our meal called Astra.
To cap off a wonderful day, we stumbled upon an open bar area, and so chose one bar which was playing some dancehall and reggae music called Sommersalon. Inside it was eccentric to say the least – there was a Mary-Poppins-style upside-down living room on the ceiling and a Nintendo 64 where you could play Super Mario on a small TV from the 90s. Happy Hour was the longest we’d ever encountered – it lasted from 1800 till midnight. Then we decided to explore the area and came across a more traditional bar called Albers, where the friendly Australian owner told us a bit more about where the hotspots in Hamburg were. From there, we walked up about 400m to find the famous Beatles-Platz – where the Beatles played regularly while they were trying to make a name for themselves. On our way we had the pleasure of seeing an endless number of strip clubs and “sexy clubs”. These amused us.
We woke up at 9 a.m. to have breakfast and set off to Miniatur Wunderland – the world’s largest railway exhibition. We expected it to be big but not as big as it was – the Wunderland was divided into seven different sections such as America, Scandinavia and Hamburg. We really enjoyed this as it was so detailed and it amazed us that the people working there could make such miniscule objects – the thousands of human figurines, trees and train carriages were each perfected down to the tiniest detail. Most of us enjoyed it at the beginning but then found it pretty monotonous, however the engineer, Keith, found it thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish!
St Michaelis church
We then wended our way to the church St Michaelis, the most famous church in Hamburg, and paid 4 Euros to walk up the tower. After climbing for what seemed like forever, we reached the top and took in the breathtaking sights. Although we decided that the views were ‘clouded’ by the cloudy weather, we were proud of ourselves for walking up so many stairs so patted ourselves on the back.
For lunch we went to a recommended restaurant called Edelcurry (near Alster), which has won an award for their currywurst… the chips were really crunchy and tasty and the currywurst lived up to our expectations!
As we were so close to Alster, we decided to walk around the lake. It was a lovely day and so it was perfect for this. Our feet were rather sore and so we stopped off at a cafe on the lake for a drink and a rest. Next to the cafe there were peddle boats for hire for 16 euros a day for four people – we were very tempted by this offer but our weary legs refused!
Dinner time! We went to a tapas restaurant simply called Tapas on Schulterbaltt and ordered a sharing platter with a selection of scrummy tapas. Our personal favourite was the calamari, nomnom!
We then moved on to Bar Moraba for drinks which had a lovely loungy area in the back and had some very interesting cocktails. Then we bopped over to Die Herren Simpel – another bar – which also had inventive cocktails such as the Red Bird which was lip-smackingly good – it was a great end to our night.
Our final day in Germany! We decided that we couldn’t leave Germany without hiring bikes, so we went to the Central Station and found that the Germans have their very own versions of Boris Bikes, but they were red. After struggling slightly trying to work out how to get the bike out of its stand, we were all set to go and explore the city on our bikes. We have to point out that if you live in London and like us have a wee phobia of riding bikes out on the big bad roads, Hamburg’s system is completely safe in comparison. Most of the cycle lanes are on the pavements and operate on a one-way system so you don’t have to worry about crashing into other cyclists.
We rode to the famous botanical gardens which were vast and beautiful, with many water features, lakes and of course plants. We dismounted our bikes to have a browse in the greenhouse there which was super hot but housed a variety of tropical flowers and trees. We also stopped when we saw a small kid and his dad playing an odd game which involved shooting water at a ball to try and get it into a bucket. When we started we were all sure that the game was impossible because it was too hard, but after we had our first success the goals kept on rolling! We stayed there a bit too long considering that we are all over-18… So overall the Botanical Gardens were a really fun place to go with bikes! We also had a quick ride around Alster where the tranquil atmosphere was really enjoyable.
We returned to the Sternstrasse area for lunch and we went to a small café called Kostbar. This was one of our greatest discoveries as it was affordable, the food was delectable and the staff was friendly; it ticked all the boxes really! We were having such a nice time that we realised too late that we were running out of time to rush back to the hostel and go to the airport. Once we were on the train we finally allowed ourselves to take a breath and take in how much we’d done in a short few days!
Naomi , Anna, Bea, Grace and Keith visisted Hamburg for Generator Hostels and shared their experience.
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