I was one lucky girl, everyone told me. Such splendid sunny days in Hamburg are rare and not just sunny, but warm and filled with the frenzy of locals enjoying the weather. So instead of visiting Miniatur Wunderland and other indoor stuff, I just took the city by foot and ferry to discover touristic and not so touristic sights.
I stayed over Reichsof Hotel, near the Central Station – a symbol of Art Deco style in design and glamour. Location itself was fantastic being so close to the train station to get to the airport or other cities and just a few minutes walk away from most of the sights.
Just like most cities crossed by rivers, Hamburg benefits from the charm given by its dark and somehow scary Elbe. It’s got countless bridges (more than Venice I heard), old warehouse buildings across the channels still used as storage places, a beautiful harbour and a man-made beach to make a perfect getaway for hot days.
The red brick buildings are historical warehouses used to store carpets, tea, spices and other trade products brought in along the river Elbe. Even now some are still kept as such but most have been transformed to offices (I’ve been to such an office visiting one of my business partners there), residential apartments (with ridiculously high rents) or museums. The modern architecture has blended beautifully with the old buildings.
As I was pondering in previous posts, the scenery must have an influence over people’s behaviour and spirit in general. Because no matter what kind of a day one had, no matter how much work and pressure and challenges, an evening stroll in Landungsbrücken by the river watching the ships in the harbour should be enough to wipe it all off. The sunset light and people relaxing on the stairs creates the most romantic feeling.
Can you believe the Alster river is no more than 2.5 m deep? You’d imagine a no end depth for a lake full of yachts and boats. It seems to be a central point in relaxing activities in the city with so many things you can do around there: have a picnic or jog in the park around it, take a boat and row along or just grab a drink in a laid-back set at Jungfernstieg.
We can’t move to the next topic without talking at least briefly about the merry quarter of St Pauli – Reeperbahn. So basically this is the ‘Red District’ of Hamburg – night clubs, prostitutes, rock bars, people in quirky clothes – it’s a colorful landscape protected by the old building of the police office. I personally dropped there for a few hours just to take some pictures and left quite fast, I had a very uneasy feeling of wandering the place all alone…
Now, straight to my favourite place of the city – Strandperle. It’s not a tourist place so if you don’t know about it from locals it’s terribly hard to get there. Most hotel receptionists have no idea nor do the information officers. Otherwise it’s quite easy. There’s ferry no 62 taking people from Landungsbrücken to Övelgönne/Neumühlen every 20 minutes.
The beach is a small strap of sand along the Elbe which suits locals perfectly for a sun-soaking experience. It’s a rather strange, Nordic experience bathing in the river or laying on a beach towel while watching the big container ships from all around the pass in front of you. Adding to the beauty of Övelgönne is the romantic architecture of houses, their gardens and the parks around. These people give a new meaning to the phrase ‘living on the beach’…
The architecture is impressive: the warehouse district, the new Opera House or the romantic Judenstil buildings of Spanish quarters, it’s all blending in beautifully. I loved the vast parks and green places around residential areas, hip cafes and nice restaurants and the nice friendly people. Loved their style, their attitude and it really felt as though they were proud to Hamburgers. So I’ll leave you to some photos I took along the way with no particular subject just to give a final feel of the city.