Plenty of outdoors with bit of indoors. That seems to be the winning combination for making the best out of a weekend in a city for me, but after New York I did plan to stay put at home and explore our backyard. If even that. This autumn has been hectic to say the least and the idea of home, fireplace, cup of tea and a book have never sounded better. But then came the invitation to come to Hamburg and Germany, and you know the story of a rubber arm…
And the possibility of exploring new city on a bike.
And good soul food on a rainy day. Eating out outside the borders Norway is a pleasure, especially when the bill comes. It is all so cheap…
I could not resist.
Me and Germany don’t really have a thing going on. I’ve visited Bavaria and Berlin several times and liked both, but the rest of it? Drive-through country. Hence the idea of a weekend in Hamburg, getting to know the place and just sitting in the cafes, biking leisurely along the streets and lounging on a hotel bed was irresistible.
And so was Hamburg.
Earlier this year “Speicherstadt”, the historical district of red-brick warehouses connected by canals and bridges was granted UNESCO world heritage status, and the buildings that once stored coffee, spices and tobacco and still partly do so now also host museums, Persian carpet stores, new innovative businesses and even one hotel. Once upon time there were approximately 20,000 people living in this area and that in mind the district now was almost eerily empty of regular daily life, but beautiful nevertheless in the autumn sun. And got to admit it, Speicherstadt was pretty even in the pouring rain.
One of the new residents of the district is Kaffeemuseum of Burg, the Museum of Coffee which is not only a museum, but a place where you can get a real taste of what coffee tasting is about. I didn’t quite master it, although the coffee mix I prepared as a souvenir for my other half was marvellous. So I say, before anyone tastes it…
For someone who’s not into running from one attraction to another with a guidebook (=me), Hamburg was perfect. Especially after New York, the lack of high rises meant that Germany’s 2nd largest city with almost 2 million inhabitants felt small and approachable, and when not biking, the metro system was easy as. And when it started pouring, I found few possible ways to spend the day, besides those cafes or the ever-calling quietness of my hotel room.
Hiding from the rain underground in the Old Elbe Tunnel is kind of cool for anyone interested in photography, and with a tripod. Other than that it is a handy 426m underway to cross from St.Pauli Piers over to Steinwerder, and originally it was built for the dock workers to get across. You can either take the steps or lift down, and there is even a lift for cars, although how often there is other than pedestrian traffic or cyclists, I don’t know.
You’d think that the best time to join a harbour cruise would be when the weather is good, and that’s probably right, but this was not a bad way to spend an hour with a refreshment, mainly staying indoors and watching the harbour views go by. That one time I ventured out, I got soaked. So did my camera.
Saving the best till the last, the market or markzeit in Fabrik was just what the doctor ordered for someone wanting a taste of ethnic food. They had it all. I wouldn’t trek all the way there for souvenirs, but for good food in funky surroundings and with bit of live music to wash the food down, this was perfect.
So New York versus Hamburg. Got to admit, for bit of city life, quirky shopping and excellent food, there is no need to go all the way to New York. Hamburg for me is only 1,5 hours plane ride away and it had it all, in a smaller package! And when it comes to Germany in general, I have to admit, I was positively surprised how not everything was as orderly and organised as one would have thought going by the reputation.
And so be it. I could do more of this. City breaks with biking, good food and a cool hotel. The hotel was actually so cool that it requires its own post, but until then, I’m going to get that fire going, boil the kettle for a cup of tea and fetch the next Jussi Adler-Olsen Department Q Novel. For anyone into Scandinavian crime fiction, highly recommend!
The trip to Hamburg was part of a collaborative campaign between Nordic Travel Bloggers and Hamburg Tourismus. However, I decided on my own itinerary & activities and have full liberty to choose what I portray from the trip.