Last week, my work took me to Germany. It was my first visit to Hamburg. The trip lasted the typical just-under-two-days, but I did have a free afternoon to look around. Hamburg is a small city, well organised and easy to cover on foot. But it was freezing! Snow and ice everywhere. On the day I left (Wednesday) it was snowing again. Ice floated on waterways and sat stubbornly on sidewalks. Some lakes were almost completely frozen. The main Christmas tree on the big lake was still there late February, waiting for the ice to thaw... hopefully before Easter.
The above two images were taken in the Warehouse district. I came across a similar shot on the Wikipedia entry for Hamburg during my research before the trip. I wanted to get a shot from a similar angle, so I started my walk there. The site is fascinating and it has an interesting history when it was the largest storage area in the world back in the 1880s. It still functions as a logistics centre today.
Of course, one afternoon is not enough time to form an opinion of a place. I would say however that everyone I met, from taxi drivers to hotel staff, waiters at restaurant and sales assistants in the malls, were all very nice and extremely courteous. People make a place, and this place is pleasant. It's a city next to a harbour, so they're not new to seeing tourists and visitors.
Although it comes together rather nicely, the city itself didn't grab me. It's winter and the weather was very dull... a huge factor I know. Water is everywhere, which adds to the scenic beauty. The number of trees - on every street I walked - is impressive; and their size even more so. I can only imagine what it would look like in the summer.
There are two flavours to this town: the harbour, and the city. Both are attractive, nicely presented and organised. There are sign-posts (also in English) to all the main attractions. With a simple map from my hotel, I was able to walk around for hours. It's also a very safe town. A business associate described being a policeman as having the most boring job in Hamburg.
In a street near the Town Hall, I stumbled upon Cafe Paris. It looks like a great place for lunch - but I only had coffee there. The coffee was so good, it's worth mentioning the place. On the bar, it said 'Haiti Sud' which I'm assuming is the source of their bean. The beautiful painted ceiling of the cafe dates back to 1881.
I didn't use the trains but I did go into the main station, Hauptbahnhof, to get a few shots. On the way to the airport, I saw a beautiful looking station but my camera was in the boot. I asked the taxi driver and he told me the name: Dammtor.
Maybe I will come back here again, hopefully during the summer. Hamburg is a nice place, but I don't see it being on the must-visit-with-the-family list just yet.