Last week we took a few days off from plastering and painting and hopped on a plane to Hamburg!
It’s always great to discover new places and for us getting away from things is always the best way to recharge our DIY batteries.
Things didn’t start off quite as we’d planned though. I had a really miserable cold and had spent the full week until we left home on Thursday morning in bed feeling very sorry for myself. So instead of being excited about exploring a new city, I only cared about checking into our hotel and crawling into a comfortable bed – which is exactly what I did for most of the day until Jan dragged me out to get some food.
Although I wasn’t quite able to shake my cold for the time we were there, things did improve and the next day we started to explore the city and took in some of the sights.
Because this was our first visit to Hamburg, we felt like we had to tick the major touristy spots like the Speicherstadt, the town hall and the harbour, but as we have friends that live in Hamburg, we were lucky enough to get a few insider tips, too.
One of our favourite experiences was visiting the Fischauktionshalle. We’d heard that it was worth seeing and to say that it was a bit of a weird choice for two people who don’t actually eat fish is a bit an an understatement.
Luckily it wasn’t overly smelly (I’d visited a fish market about 20 years ago in Oman which was a quite different experience in the hot weather) and there were a lot of non-fishy stalls, too. There was so much going on and the atmosphere was buzzing – especially considering it was 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning!
There was a band playing music, a huge range of stalls selling everything from questionable clothing to chocolate, food stalls selling the huge baskets of fruit and veg for prices we can only dream of in the UK and a mix of people that varied from excited tourists and locals on the hunt for a bargain to tired looking partygoers grabbing a bite to eat on their way home recovering from the night out. The flair and charm of the fish market was really infectious although we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to actually try some fish, even if the Fischfrikadellen looked rather tempting!
As I’d expected, the Speicherstadt was one of my favourite parts of Hamburg.
The old warehouses along the Elbe used to store everything from coffee to carpets and are now home to museums, offices and shops. The old brick buildings have a kind of charm and you can just imagine the hustle and bustle that must have been new deliveries were brought in from the huge boats in the harbour.
By complete coincidence my sister Michelle and her husband happened to be in Hamburg the exact weekend that we were there, so we of course met up for some food and few drinks.
It’s so weird how these things sometimes work out, but it was great to catch up especially as we don’t get to see each other very often.
We also had a wander down the Alter Elbtunnel which is a 426,5m long tunnel under the river. Walking under the Elbe when you know there is 24 meters water above you is a bit of a weird feeling, but it was a fun walk and view from the other side over the Landungsbrücken and and city was worth the walk.
On Sunday we took part in a tour of the Elbphilharmonie which will be Hamburg’s new concert hall, but currently is still a big building site (yep, you just can’t keep us away from rubble and dirt). The whole project has taken much longer than planned (sound familiar?!) but it should be finished early next year. You used to be able to take tours of the actual building site, but sadly they’re no longer possible because they’re too near to completion now.
One of our absolute favourite treats was an evening at Le Lion which was an absolutely amazing cocktail bar right in the centre of Hamburg. The bar has won awards and is in the top 50 bars in the world. Needless to say the cocktails were spectacular! It was on the pricey side, but definitely well worth a visit and probably the best bar we’ve ever been to!
Although we were really unlucky with the weather (it rained every day), we really enjoyed Hamburg. There’s a lot to see, there are some fab bars, great food and independant shops and it’s definitely worth spending a long weekend there – maybe not in February though!
- The HamburgCARD for travel which gives you free travel (you can choose the amount of days you want it) in Hamburg as well as discounts to attractions, galleries and restaurants. If you’re not keen on the included attractions, it may be cheaper to get yourself daily tickets (which is what we did).
- We’d definitely recommend staying somewhere central as everything is in easy walking distance. Our Hotel was in a great location, surprisingly good and great value for money. (We stayed in the Adina Apartment Hotel Hamburg Michel.)
- The shops in Germany are all closed Sundays – worth remembering if you’re planning some retail therapy!
How to you recharge your DIY batteries? Do you have a favourite city? Have you been to Hamburg – what did you think? Any recommendations for our next city trip?