Hamburg is absolutely beautiful-let me just put that out there right away. Absolutely beautiful. There is water everywhere-canals, rivers, lakes-and everything is green. The city is massive but it is still very quiet and very green. It is an absolute perfect balance.
Right next to where I am staying is the Planten un Blomen. It is a park chuck full of greenery and water features and places to sit. This is another reason I love this city-you can sit down! There are benches and chairs and steps to plant yourself almost anywhere you look! So if I get tired of trekking around the city, I want to eat my lunch in peace, or I want to people watch, I can do so virtually anywhere.
I walked through the park on my way to explore St. Pauli when I found myself in the middle of some sort of festival. Because I can’t read German very well, I have no idea what the signs said but I figure it was for children. The kids were all with their parents and very well behaved. Also, the parents were very hands on with their children. There were a lot of activities and the parents were all participating. The kids got their faces painted, there were at least 3 areas of stage entertainment, and they even had these areas roped off for kids to ride mini old-fashioned penny-farthing bikes and another for little scooter things. The kids just ride around aimlessly and don’t crash and aren’t mean to the other kids. Wow.
I walked a bit more and came to a beautiful water feature. There seemed to be a crane in the water and it was so close (like within 5 feet) to people, I thought surely it was one of those fake ones to scare other birds away. Then I saw some of the feathers blow in the breeze and thought “Damn, that is a really good replica”… then it moved. Holy cow! What a pretty bird!
The garden is just massive and it took me a while to find my way out. Once I did, I walked and walked and walked and found myself on the Reeperbahn. It is hard to explain this street. It is in the St. Pauli part of Hamburg and has all sorts of souvenir shops, restaurants and bars, and entertainment. It also has dildos in the windows and naked ladies advertised every five feet. And bikers. Lots of bikers. Harleys actually. It was kind of funny to see a group of bikers with American bikes all dressed up and being bad ass… I wanted to be like “Dude! I have the same one!” but they had their little scowls on so I kept walking. They also had some sort of outdoor flea market thing. I will share my spoils here later. I liked that part the best. Cheap stuff! It was funny, too, because the Reeperbahn is known for being the red light district of the area, yet there were families there like it was nothing.
After the Reeperbahn, I kept walking and I wanted to see the harbor. I found it and walked along the water by the Fishmarkt. I came across a Russian Uboat in the water that had been turned museum. For 9 euro, I went inside it. Holy terrifying!!! Between the absolute tight quarters, the old freaky smells, and the german guide with the couple ahead of me yelling in German, I was all set with the place. It was so crazy! It says it would have 84 men on the boat… I couldn’t see 10 people fitting in that thing! I had my pocket book and a small bag on my shoulder and could hardly fit through the spaces. It was definitely not built to accommodate large people (obviously). I was done after the first 5 feet but made my way to finish the tour (it is self guided unless you ask for someone I think?). However, the couple in front of me were extremely interested in God knows what so I waited patiently for them to go, pretending to be super interested in the gadgets and such (all labelled in Russian so, no, I was not interested) until they finally left. I couldn’t go around them, there was literally no room.
So I made it back up to the light of day and continued walking along the harbor. I absolutely 100% love the ocean and I was so happy down there. Of course it is technically a river, but I was all about it. The breeze here is so nice. I wouldn’t call this a windy city because it is not windy. However, there is definitely air movement and it is breezy and cool. Everyone back home has been complaining of the recent heat wave and here I am with a light jacket and jeans just loving life.
You can eat outside at almost any restaurant here. The cool thing is that most places have blankets for you for when it gets cool. I ate out with a nice polar fleece over my legs a few nights ago. Last night, I ate beside the lake. It is a huge restaurant with tons of outdoor seating so I sat outside and ate. The food was ok-I had some steak and salad-something I had been craving since I got here. After a quick stop at Starbucks (literally one on every block or more!) to get some coffee to warm my hands, I was on my way home to the hotel.
I was gone for almost 6 hours and pooped! So, goodnight, Hamburg, till tomorrow!