Travel: visiting Hamburg

Hello friends,  Last month I flew to Hamburg for a long weekend, to explore the city and  celebrate a friend's birthday.

We arrived early morning Thursday, taking a red-eye from NYC to Germany. 

Hamburg is a bicycle city, women in dresses, men in suits... they bike to work.  It's such an odd sight, at 7:30am, to see 50+ bicycles at a stoplight when you look out the taxi window.

After dropping off our luggage and enjoying a European breakfast, we climbed to the top of the church tower behind our hotel, a lovely 360 view.

I remember seeing Lake Alster from the tower, it looked like it was ten miles away but was less than a mile walk from our hotel.

Later that night we went to Hamburger Dom, with a group of eight.  Upon first sight of the Gladiator I knew I had to ride it, a 162 meter high speed drop with spins. The men rode the bumper cars four times.  An evening filled with laughter. Great memories!

It rained all day Friday, making it a good day for a ferry tour of Lake Alster (and the canals). Arriving at the lake, it was pouring, we saw an expo setting up and realized there was a 100 mile cycle ride happening while we were in town... filling the streets with tourists.

It may sound strange, but this town is similar to Manhattan.  There is a lake/park like Central Park, a shopping district; it's a tourist town with dining and Pubs on every corner.  It's also a walking town, so I was able to explore churches, tea shoppes, run, etc... just like I do in NYC.

Saturday we were invited to visit a container ship that arrived in Port overnight.  It was interesting to see how they move the containers, load them, weight balancing, navigation, and the personal quarters for the crew. I have a new appreciation for how goods travel the globe.  In the evening, we attended our friends 40+10 celebration.  We left around midnight, the dancing continued past 3AM!

Sunday we were off to Denmark.


A few facts about Hamburg:
- Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany

- Home to the second largest port in Europe, touring this part of the city brings a new level of awareness to how goods travel from point of creation to landing in our homes.

-  WWII was not kind to Hamburg, with bombings (the aftermath is still visible), and about 15 miles outside the city is one of the larger concentration camps.

- The climate is oceanic cool, with temps rarely over 72F/22C. August the warmest month of the year, it often rains, and rarely snows.  We avoided rain showers up to four times a day.  It's dreary when the sun isn't out.

- It's one of the most affluent cities in Europe, and as a visitor you feel this, a quiet pride with a focus on quality.

- It's a water town, with canals stretching from the port, into the depths of the city.  I'm told these canals served a purpose years ago.  Ships would travel into the main port, on boats too large to go any farther...  goods would transfer to smaller boats that fit in the canals.

- There are over 2,000 bridges throughout the city.
- A red light district that's wild and crazy.

If you are planning a visit to Hamburg, three days are enough to explore and learn about this history rich city.

I'm blessed to have visited the hometown of a good friend, and thankful the timing worked; we added this trip to the front an already planned holiday to Switzerland.