Weekend in Hamburg.
As promised, I am telling you about my trip to Hamburg at the end of November 2012, what I saw, and what I didn’t. We had planned this trip in summer when we found out that at the end of November for the weekend there were reduced prices on Lufthansa flights, and the more so because there was an occasion – the wedding anniversary. Another reason was that when I opened my visa in June in Dusseldorf the German border-guards “forgot” to give me a stamp for entry into the country. Of course, I saved all boarding passes and receipts so there would be no problems at the embassy next time. But I wanted to be on the safe side, and before the end of the visa to put all the stamps again. I must say that last time out of Germany, and this time at passport control, the border guards stubbornly looked for this missing stamp, although I was assured that they have everything in the system, but … So be sure to track yourself this simple action, so that then there would be no problems with the embassy.
Well, this digression, and now about the trip. We went for a weekend. On Friday, November 23, we left at 16-30, and we returned on Monday at 16-00. Because of the time difference we landed in Hamburg also at 16-30, but back trip “increased” by three hours, we left the hotel early in the morning, and came to Moscow, it was already dark. The Lufthansa company was very successful, the plane was full. From Moscow the Russians were going shopping, and the Germans were going home for the weekend, and back in almost the same lineup. It was no wonder, since in August it was possible to buy roundtrip tickets for 4,500 rubles.
The hotel was found through “Bucking” on the condition that it was close to the subway, with good rooms and hearty breakfasts. Our acquaintances advised Hotel Tiefenthal, a very good hotel, the rooms, though small, but everything is there, the breakfast is above all praise. Our hotel is very well located, exit from the metro station “Wandsbek Markt” and ten steps away from the hotel. Next door is McDonald’s and on the other side is entrance to a big shopping center called Quarree. Nearby across the street on the square is a small Christmas Fair where you can drink mulled wine, buy Christmas souvenirs, and skate on plastic ice. There are many restaurants and cafes around, where you can both have a snack and a substantial meal. And most importantly, this hotel has a system “EXPERIENCE HAMBURG”, which includes free travel for three days to all modes of transport, including river buses, the same transport cards have a discount in museums, as well as on arrival in each room is a gift bottle of champagne. The hotel and restaurant have staff who speak Russian. Our family had two rooms, a single and a double. I would say that the single was cozier and bigger, but the rooms are all different, the building is quite old, so all redevelopment to fit the size of the room. Loved the hotel. If you are planning a romantic trip or exploring the city rather than pure shopping, this is the place to go. Not cheap, of course, but everything is very decent. The purpose of our trip was to have a little shopping, so to combine business with pleasure, so to say, so we went shopping, too. Christmas sales had already begun, although there were some messes. For example, getting ready for the trip, I read that the stores at this time are already open on Sundays from 13 to 18 hours, we have no luck, the stores on Sunday were closed. Also the Christmas fairs in the Center were closed, although last year they were open from the middle of November, in 2012 the opening was scheduled for November 26 at 7 pm. Therefore it was not possible to enjoy fully the pre-Christmas atmosphere.
The weather during our trip was not good, for example, when we arrived, it was raining, and on Saturday was a dense fog, so that it was completely impossible to see the sights. Even coming up close, for example, to the town hall, you could see only half of it, the rest was no longer visible. In the evening, however, the fog lifted, it was cold enough, and the wind was blowing. In such inclement weather we visited the Hamburger House, a city of attractions.
We couldn’t do without mulled wine, because after getting a little warm you climb to the height of some steep ride, and again freeze from the piercing wind. But it’s true that people walking here don’t mind that much. Everyone drinks, rides, has fun, and dances. Many “merry-go-rounds” here are worthy of attention. There are some for kids and not for the faint-hearted. Everything is well organized, bright, festive, everywhere are raffles, someone even manages to win a huge toy.
At every step there were grills with German sausages and potatoes. We walked a circle around the park, rode a couple of rides, including a “roller coaster”, tried to win the lottery… But because of the cold we had to go to the hotel to warm up.
We rode the subway and the train a lot these days. The subway (U Bahn) in Hamburg is very comfortable, the stations are close to each other. From the airport we also rode the U-Bahn, which was very comfortable and comfortable, and the stations are close to each other. From the airport we also took the train, it’s very comfortable and fast, we got to the stop “Wandsbeker Chausee” with the S Bahn. From the airport we took the train to S Bahn stop “Wandsbeker Chausee”, then it was either a 10 min walk or change to the subway, and one stop. If you carefully study the subway scheme there is no special confusion. If you have a transport card you can travel quickly and comfortably.
On Sunday morning was appointed a trip to “Fishmarket”. It was quite easy to get there: we took the subway to the Elbe (stop “Landungsbrücken”), and then took the river streetcar one stop to the market. Fishmarket is open only on Sundays, at this time of year until 9-30. Locals come here for groceries, and tourists and young people come here to hang out after a sleepless night, drink beer and listen to music. There are tables and benches in the large room, and there is a stage where various groups perform. In our case it was a church choir, led by a colorful black man. Near the end of the market the show begins. All vendors hasten to part with the goods and offer them no longer at a certain price, but as in an auction, for how much who will buy. Thus, it is quite realistic to buy about 2 kilograms of smoked fish of different salt and sorts for 10 euros. The vacuum-packed fish is more expensive. Of course, we bought the main delicacy of this market, smoked eel, also with a huge discount. In the same market fruits, vegetables and flowers are sold. The basket of different fruits is 10 euros, yes, one basket costs so much there. Lettuce, radishes can be bought in boxes. And finally, the flowers. Here is also a show. The owner of the place puts flowers in a cardboard box, and the flowers are big, like dracenas, yuccas, palm trees, then he puts there small pots, and when the box becomes too heavy, said the price of 20 euros. Such a “Fishmarket”.
Back we took a ride on the river streetcar on the Elbe to the turn and went back to the subway. When the river ends the docks with the huge ships being repaired in them, the neighborhood for rich Hamburgers begins. Small and large villas line the shore, and locals with their dogs stroll along the sandy banks. It’s quiet and peaceful, with no other means of transport but the river. The riverboats dock immediately, and there are open decks and an enclosed room with a buffet where you can sit and get warm. It was not a bad morning excursion.
While we were riding on the river, the wind and rain stopped and the sun came out. Such is the weather in Hamburg, the city of contrasts. Immediately I wanted to walk around the city. After all, it is more pleasant to look around in the sunny weather. We walked from the Elbe to “Michel”. Because the service was going on, we just climbed the observation deck to look at the city from the height. Then we walked along the canals to the warehouse complex, where the museums are located. We did not get into the museum of miniature railroad “Miniatur Wunderland”, because it was a day off, and whole families with children, who had booked tickets in advance, came to see this unique attraction. But we managed to go to the “Hamburger Dungeon” (Hamburg Dungeon), which is located here, and with our transport card we got a significant discount (instead of 24 we paid 17 euros per ticket). This is a museum of human fears. The trip lasts an hour and a half and begins with a visit to the underworld. The entire group, along with Dracula, goes underground and finds themselves in an ancient library whose books contain human fates and secrets. Gradually, room by room, the visitors go through all the circles of hell, while learning about the darkest pages of Hamburg’s history. There is room for both mysticism and eerie reality. It’s a pity that all the horror stories are told in German, but the good acting of the inquisitors, executioners, pirates and ghosts helps to emotionally feel the horror of what is happening. True, when narrated by a voice-over, you can read the same thing in English on the screens. Of course, there were some linguistic peculiarities understandable only to native speakers, and while the other visitors were laughing and talking to the characters we just tried to get to the bottom of the action. The show ended, just like in “Hamburger House”, with us splendidly descending from a height in a free fall to the ground. It is better not to go to this museum for the nervous and unhealthy, but we got our portion of good mood. About the other attractions I wrote in summer, so I will not stop.
In the evening our company had one more event – a visit to a rather expensive fish restaurant in the area of “Fishmarket”. The restaurant was called “Fischereihafen Restaurant” and was quite far away from the metro stations, but still we booked the table a week in advance and when we arrived to the restaurant all the seats were already taken. The crowd in the restaurant was respectable and not at all like what we had seen in the morning at “Fishmarket”. Dishes are all nicely served, portions are not big, but you can eat a lot. We tried smoked eel and North Sea flounder for the main course. Dry German wine was not bad either. By ten p.m. the restaurant was empty, which is not surprising, the Germans get up very early for work. We also soon stretched to our homes, in the morning we had to leave for our homeland, and we did not want to.
We were awakened in the morning by beautiful sunny weather and warmth. The flight was successful, Vnukovo, as always, greeted us with an hour-long queue at border control. In Moscow, you can never avoid waiting. Then Aeroexpress and Moscow. Our European weekend is over.
– to visit the Airbus factory. I booked the English-language tour 3 weeks in advance, this pleasure costs 14 euros. By 14-30 you come to the office next to the entrance of the plant, check the reservation and passports, then the inner factory shuttle will take you first to the cinema hall, then to the three shops: fuselage assembly, assembly of interior decoration and electronic systems and, finally, to the big final assembly hangar where the aircraft are sent for delivery/acceptance and the first flight. The guide’s English level is about equal to mine, so all the stories are more or less understandable. Photography is not allowed, but you have to take my word that the original color of all the planes was light green, and that they were painted in the airline colors after the test flight. The stabilizer (vertical wing in the tail) in the paint shop does not fit the height, it comes painted and with the AK logo from another plant in Spain, so very funny look in the final assembly shop similar light green aircraft with the original “tail. We saw from afar a “Beluga”, an airplane with several assembled fuselages from the Toulouse factory being transported for Hamburg assembly. I was also amazed by absence of checkpoints at the entrance, entrance to the territory is free, there are regular internal buses, one third of the people on bicycles. There are even special bicycle parking lots in the shops, just like in the city.
– If you have full-day ticket (valid both on subway and bus) you may get on and off at every stop making 15-30 minute promenades along seafront or beach, with stops for coffee/beer/mulled wine in any local cafe, looking with one glance at leisurely unloading of container carrier in port. Climb the stairs on the roof of the house with a great view of the port. Take a separate one-hour canal and harbor tour and see the whole thing up close from the water. For an added bonus, go down into the old tunnel under the Elbe, where cars go up and down in an elevator. And eat a herring sandwich on the pier!
– Go to the Museum of Miniatures. Forget that you are 30 (25, 35, 40, 50) years old and turn into an 8-year-old child watching entire cities and countries, squeezed into one room, the arrival of trains to the station, fighting a fire, taking off the plane, launching a spaceship. There is some interactive – if you press the button – the windmill will spin, the crane will start to put down cargo or the elevator will work, and for very young children (do not forget we are already 8 years old) – from the workshops of the chocolate factory a candy will drop out. For adults, too, you can find attractions – almost every scene has a couple of opposite-sex figures in characteristic poses, hidden from the first glance, which is always watched by someone else: then a monk, then a rocker, then an angelic figure. Plus you can find all sorts of gags: Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, a ghost or a flying dragon. All in all, there is something for both adults and children to do.
– to visit several beer houses and a fish restaurant. I liked very much Vyatich’s recommended Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht – excellent dunkel, excellent food. We also stopped by Groninger with sour pils and a huge portion of “half a roulka” and the Hamburg branch of Munich’s Hofbräuhaus. The latter persistently hinted at us when paying by card to include tips in the bill, at the phrase that we will leave it in cash, pretended that the card is not passed. We chose Rive fish restaurant with a panoramic view over the Elbe for a gala dinner (there was an occasion). Romantic, cozy, cuisine is not a masterpiece, but delicious. The average bill in a beer house 50-60 euros for dinner with alcohol, in a restaurant about 80. And be sure to stop by any weinhaus – you can try and then buy an excellent dry Riesling.
– To go to Luneburg for half a day. For almost a thousand years, this city was one of the main salt miners in Europe, and as a consequence, a rich Hanseatic city. Fortunately the war bypassed it and now it is a classic tourist attraction – beautiful brick buildings with mind-blowing facades, narrow streets, lots of cafes and restaurants. And it saved a nice provincial spirit: in the museum without asking to make a discount by selling a children’s ticket for an adult, and 10 minutes with smiles will tell about all the local attractions. I strongly recommend.
– Go early Sunday morning to Fishmarkt. Drink champagne with the same name in the morning and have a fish sandwich. To go deep into the rows of shops and see how skillfully the sellers sell smoked fish. To be exact, not even trading, but as the masters of NLP ordered to come to the tray and buy 8-10 different fish for 20 euros. Very much reminded of the Istanbul cat, which did not ask for food, and his eyes ordered – now you take this piece and bring it to me.
– I was not allowed to walk around the red light district of Reeperbahn Street. Proudly pass by the callouts for all sorts of live shows (we’ve been there, we know: the price tag on everything inside is tenfold, coupled with a mediocre “show”), to be attacked by female prostitutes if you are a single man, male – if you are a woman, well, if you are a couple – surely some tranny will give you a wink %). Go to numerous sex shops: admire what they have and buy something if you have the courage. Some of them even charge 2 euros, which you can buy if you have the courage.
– Just take a walk in the city. Climb the cathedral’s bell tower, where in a desperate attempt to resist the strongest winds look at the Elbe panorama. Stroll through the Speicherstadt, an area of former harbor warehouses built of red brick and overlooking the canal. Witness the two and even three-level pedestrian bridges, always equipped with ramps.
– And as a bonus, we got a mini flood that flooded the embankment near the Fishmarket. A puddle of half a wheel caused a complete traffic paralysis, cars were evacuated by the fire department, and the restaurant rolled out its entire kitchen for all to see, just a pity no free treats at the sight of the spectacle.
– Take a bike ride. The whole city uses them, and I’m a fan of this business, the more so that there are all the conditions – cycle paths, ramps on the sidewalks, etc.. If you pore through the internet you can easily find a bike rental with a highway or medium-level and a lot of routes around the city and its surroundings, or just take a tourist bike in a lot of automatic parking lots.
– to visit a lot of other museums: the guidebooks praise the immigration museum (Hamburg was one of the main points of migration to America), the art museum, the spice museum, the Soviet submarine, the sailing ship, etc. We are not fans of museums.
– Shopping: superficially it was a failure, but there was no time to go deeper into the derby, in addition to the fact that on Sunday all the stores are closed. We managed to get even, oddly enough, only with wine – we bought a few bottles of excellent dry Riesling in the local shops.
– We decided to go to 2 nearby towns: Bremen and Lubeck. Although, it’s quite possible, these cities deserve separate four days %)