Today we explored Germany’s second city of Hamburg to see Chilihaus, Rathaus and of course the Reeperbahn.
Yesterday, before going to Hamburg, we travelled to Berlin from Bristol Airport. I’ve been to Berlin many times before but on this occasion it was to be a swift stop.
It was early evening by the time we checked into our hotel near Alexanderplatz. But we did have time to eat a delicious pork knuckle in Lemke Am Alex before having an early night.
The train to Hamburg
We were up bright and early in order to make our way to Berlin Hauptbahnhof to get our train. The journey took only 1.57 hours to reach the city of Hamburg.
The scenery along the way was mainly farmland, forests, small villages and loads of wind turbines. Although I somehow managed to book a seat with a restricted view from the window, so I had to lean forward quite a bit to see anything! Lucky we brought ibuprofen with us.
Our first port of call was Deichtorplatz. This quirky green square is home to the Deichtorhallen. This gallery houses one of the largest collections of contemporary art and photography in Europe over two buildings.
There is a large grassy area in the centre of the square surrounded by little cafes and some contemporary sculptures. This was the ideal place to enjoy our first beverage in Hamburg and take in the view and the unusual arty seats.
It was then only a short walk to Chilihaus. This is one of Hamburg’s iconic buildings and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was built in the 1920s to resemble a ship. You can definitely see it in the upper floors which look like decks.
Next on our agenda of things to see in Hamburg was Rathaus.
The outside of the town hall was built in neo-renaissance style and is dominated by a 112 metre high tower.
I was astonished to discover that the Rathaus was only built in the 19th century. It certainly looked older than that to us.
We then crossed over to the Jungfernstieg promenade and its row of arches. This gave us an even better view of this landmark.
We contemplated stopping for a drink here to appreciate the view. But I refused to arrange a small mortgage to cover the costs.
Behind the Rathaus is a beautiful courtyard with a central water feature. A very relaxing place to rest for a while.
All this walking made us hungry. So it was time for a spot of lunch. As it was a Sunday, quite a lot of Hamburg’s restaurants were closed, but we eventually found Mama Trattoria.
I opted for a goats cheese, asparagus and sun-dried tomato pizza. Despite taking a few years to get served, the pizza when it eventually arrived, was sumptuous!
Feeling completely stuffed from our food we trundled over to Mahnmal St-Nikolai. This ruined church and tower is the second tallest building in Hamburg.
The church was built in the 12th century and was destroyed during World War 2. It wasn’t reconstructed to prove the painful cost of war.
We parted with €5 to take the glass elevator to the viewing platform. The views at the top of this 76 metre platform were amazing.
The lift went so fast on the way down, it was quite funny to watch Hayley squirm when passing between levels.
Back down on the ground, we walked across the road to Deichstrasse. It is said that the Great Fire of Hamburg started here in 1842 in a cigar factory. The blaze destroyed a third of the city.
The street has now been largely restored into bars and restaurants. It was nice to sit outside one such establishment and sip an ice-cold beer in the sunshine.
The Reeperbahn is Hamburg’s answer to Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Located in the St Pauli neighbourhood it’s an area full of bars, restaurants and strip clubs.
We found an open beer garden called Spielbudenplatz. This square was surrounded with pop up bars and weird colourful buildings.
Along the Reeperbahn is Beatlesplatz. Before they were world famous, The Beatles performed a number of gigs in clubs around the Reeperbahn.
This square remembers their legacy with statues of the band and plaques with all their songs on the floor.
For our evening meal we took a side street off the Reeperbahn and found a little place called Thai Town. Unsurprisingly this restaurant specialises in Thai cuisine.
I opted for crispy duck green curry which was cooked to perfection.
It was then time to head back to the hotel. We had such a great first day in Hamburg and we can’t wait to see more of this immense city tomorrow.