Myself and Jono are just back from a couple of days in Hamburg, Germany. We were inspired to visit after reading a post on the Journalist on the Run blog. We also realised it was home to *Miniatur Wunderland – the world’s largest model railway, as this is Jono’s other passion we had to go.
Ryanair were having one of their flash sales just after Christmas so we got cheap flights from Dublin to Hamburg. The flight took about an hour and a half and luckily we got assistance for Jono as it’s quite a long walk in Dublin airport. Paul from OCS – who we met on the San Francisco trip was there for Jono this time too..and he remembered him 🙂
We weren’t sure where to stay, it had to be cheap and easy to find. After searching around we settled on Superbude, St. Georg. This is a hotel/hostel that is very handy for public transport. It’s the first time I’ve ever stayed in a hotel/hostel and I just loved it! The place is cool and quirky and not just for the young folk. All ages of people were staying there including families. The staff were brilliant and the room was very quiet. I loved the Smart TV which had YouTube, Netflix, Spotify and more on it. Breakfast is optional but was very nice – you could even make your own waffles. There is a fridge for residents to use and microwave, kettle etc if you want to heat something up for dinner. We sat in the kitchen every evening and had salad or something we’d bought from the local supermarket. So we didn’t actually try any restaurants. I have to give a special mention to Klaas from Superbude, who went out of his way to be helpful.
What I loved about Hamburg – everything! It’s the second largest city in Germany, it has more canals than both Amsterdam and Venice combined. It’s spotlessly clean, it’s very easy to get around by public transport. The people are so friendly and extremely helpful. I felt very safe, even when I was off exploring at night.
Would I do anything differently? I’d have loved to go inside the Elbphilharmonie building as it looked so amazing from outside but my confidence was gone and I was too shy to go in. I would also have packed warmer clothes, it was very, very cold. -2 one day and -4 the next, so cold that my hands were frozen inside my thermal gloves. Don’t let that put you off though – just wrap up warm.
On our first day we went to Miniatur Wunderland. This is a must see for anyone visiting Hamburg, regardless of whether or not you are interested in model railways. It’s an amazing place, I think you could visit it over and over and still miss things.
The attention to detail is something else. I even loved the cafe which was done out as if it was a train – and it was reasonably priced which makes a lovely change for something in a tourist attraction. My photos from Miniatur Wunderland are here.
That evening when Jono was resting I had hoped to go on a night time boat trip of the canals, it wasn’t running due to low water levels so I went off walking instead.
The next day we took a boat trip* and got to see Hamburg from the water. The guide was in German and we failed at downloading the English app so we just looked at the scenery. It’s a wonderful way to see the place though and I’m sure we would have found out a lot of information. The photo above is the side of a boat – it reminds me of an abstract painting. The photo below is the subway station bridge, complete with ‘love locks’.
After the boat we were feeling a bit hungry so we headed to The Fat Unicorn, I’d seen pictures online and had to go and check it out for myself. I love the rainbow bagels – what a great idea!
We checked out the nearby Europa Passage shopping centre, which is a really striking building with over 100 shops and a great food court. Well worth checking out the hi tech toilets too – even worth the 50 cent!
After heading back to Superbude for Jono to relax off I went again. This time to I went to Panoptikum which is the waxwork museum. Now it’s not Madame Tussauds but worth going along to check out anyway. I was only in there for about half an hour, as it’s a fairly small place but it’s only €6.50 to get in. I would have stayed longer if I wasn’t frightened being in the place on my own! I’m sure those waxworks moved! It was suggested on my Instagram photo that Paul McCartney looked like Jimmy Krankie…what do you think?
The Panoptikum is located in the Reeperbhan which happens to be a red light district. I was on my own so I didn’t go exploring too much.
It’s worth checking out The Beatles-Platz there though. Every time I saw the name Reeperbhan I kept singing: “The only one who could ever teach me. Was the son of a Reeperbhan!”
I went for another walk down by the Elbphilarhamonie building and along by the Elbe River. I didn’t get the photographs I’d hoped to get but my hands were frozen. Next time though….
The next day it was time for us to come home. We both had a brilliant time and would recommend it to anyone. There’s so much we didn’t get to see including the markets, the beach (yes there’s a beach!) and the parks. I would also have liked to go on a walking tour but we just didn’t have enough time. I have hundreds of photos to go through which I will link back to this blog.
* Disclaimer – Hamburg Marketing kindly gave us tickets to Miniatur Wunderland and the boat trip. They also gave us a Hamburg Card which covered our travel on public transport while we were there. My views, are as always, my own.