28 April 2014

Hafenstadt Hamburg

Hallo Hamburg! I said Auf Wiedersehen to Berlin for my Germanic adventure continued north to Hamburg! I hadn't done much research about Hamburg but I knew that this port city had something to offer me. Quoting Deutsche Bahn I say Germany has it covered when it comes to cross-country train travel, like clockwork those trains go! Take me back to the port side city!

Looks can be deceiving, Hamburg's Rathaus was crafted to a level of elegance and grandeur. I took Hamburg's tube from the Hauptbahnhof because it was raining when I arrived in Hamburg at the station. Rathaus meaning 'City Hall'. I'm not a fan of guided tours but sometimes it's got to be done, I just don't like to be slowed down by other people who are gawping at the same thing. Taking the tour around the staterooms of Rathuas was the best €4.00 I have spent! Constructed back in 1886 it was partly destroyed in the great fire of Hamburg but architects worked to construct and craft a new City Hall some years later. I want some leather clad walls and marble in the bathroom too! Rathaus was built with some expensive taste! Hamburg put me in my place quick time! So don't be a fool because I thank the Rathaus for getting me out of the rain! The Rathaus needed to takes reservations, we all want some luxury! Do you?

Relaxing is for losers, a challenge worth taking is worth fulfilling I owed Hamburg! Hamburg served a different realness compared to Berlin I want to say it resonated a feeling of Birmingham but on a whole other level. From what I had seen so far in Germany had been very positive, I found people to be approachable and some were willing to help me with directions but I had my game head on so I went from one place to another. I limited myself to one day in Hamburg to see as much as possible, I would be off to Bremen the next day so I didn't have any second chances nor would I have anytime to recapture the city centre on my way to Hamburg's Flughafen on the Friday 25th April 2014. Hamburg showed me something I loved for it had an edge that Berlin didn't have, just like Birmingham has flares to it that London or Manchester don't possess. Hamburgers had a different chat compared to Berliners, Denmark was close by? I wanted to relax but Hamburg was waiting! 

Hamburg's Hafenstadt was waiting for me! Hafen meaning 'Port' and Stadt translating to 'City' for Hamburg is one of Germany's provincial port cities. Captured to the right is one of the many canal ways that are located just a few minutes walk from the Rathaus. The gloomy weather continued into the early afternoon but I believe that the gloomy and somewhat cold skies added an extra level of charm to this industrial part of town. My imagination painted a vibrant picture of what early industrial Hamburg would have looked like when its maritime trade was probably just beginning. Being from the West Midlands it wasn't difficult to find a familiarity with the brickwork and smog in the air because that's the scene of the 'working class'. The HafenCity was on point with lots of visible development going on, a new chapter beckons? The modern age looks to have embraced Hamburg's port city! Just work HAM!

I was born frugal so my budget hadn't suffered! I wanted something nice to eat for lunch because breakfast didn't happen that day! Choosing to enjoy a piping hot Kumpir with heaps of cheese for this travelling lark builds up a mighty appetite so I loved my jacket potato. I forgot to mention that certain parts of Turkish culture and life can be found in most cities but I saw less of this in Hamburg's city centre but I'll leave that eastern fact for the time being. From the docks of Hamburg's HafenCity to the grandeur of the Rathaus I was pleasantly surprised with the offerings that I experienced during my third day in Germany! Thirsty for a pint or three I made my way to the charming neighbourhood of St. Georg where at first I found a series of shady streets but after taking a random turn onto Lang Reihe I was taken aback by the kitsch townhouses and architecture! St. Georg served a lovely pint of Holsten. I don't expect perfection, I wanted something nice to admire. 

St.Pauli stood to be the perfect place to spend my Hamburg evenings, a neighbourhood that stole my heart with its bohemian and free spirited vibe! My evening's were spent exploring the hipster-like streets of St.Pauli, it was darling, the sun made a short appearance! As darling as St.Pauli fared to be this part of Hamburg Stadt served a edgy quality that suited its aged streets well. Choosing a place of refuge in Hamburg took some work for I don't like to spend much. Located just a few streets away from Feldstrasse U-Bahn sat a whole other side to Hamburg. I had made a wise choice to stay at the St.Pauli Backpackers Hostel! After a few beers I found some energy to explore the early evening streets of St.Pauli for some Turkish food for Germany's the second Turkey! Pamukkale Grill on Sussanenstrasse served me an authentic Pide, I couldn't say no to a homemade Ayran for that's my favourite! Yes!

Hamburg had served me well with a string of remarkable city sights and maritime memories so after my Turkish Pide I wanted a few beers to wind down from the epic pace of my trip so far, finding Kurhaus on Beim Grünen Jäger street was just the thing I needed, that trendy and cozy bar caught my eye because it oozed understated cool with the front windows open the hipster-like drinkers enjoyed the view just like I did but I made sure I had a beer in hand first! I got a really nice relaxed vibe from that corner of St.Pauli, better still it was only a five minute walk away from my hostel! A few drinks before bed can't ever hurt anyone?! This travel lark made me so tired I could only handle a few drinks before bed on the Wednesday night for I had a long day of sightseeing to do in Bremen on the Thursday so I slept early. Thursday night turned out to be a great night, I took a chance on the Reeperbahn! Goodness, it was a miracle that I made it on time for my flight the next morning!

Hooray For Hamburg!

Joseph Harrison

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