Germany: Hamburg Part I
The task of getting to Hamburg was initially hindered by the announcement of all London trains to Heathrow Airport being cancelled. Panic! Frantic iPhone button pressing! Luckily, it turned out that this didn’t include the tube, so I jumped on the Piccadilly line and rode all the way to the end – the infamous Terminal 5.
My cousin Nazanin met me at the airport and after many kisses and much hugging, we hopped on a train to the other side of the city where my auntie’s apartment is. What followed when we got there was an exquisite Persian supper of Khoresh Karafs (lamb and celery stew – recipe to follow) and a batch of the perfect saffron-infused Persian rice. And, of course, lots more hugging and kissing with the family…
After our meal, Nazanin and I headed out for drinks with some of her friends. It turns out you can still smoke inside in some German bars – and here I was thinking they were at the helm of everything EU!
Things got a little silly.
We also saw this excellent sign:
Waiting for the night bus home, I suddenly found myself feeling all Christmassy. Hamburg will do that to you. Here’s why.
Today, we started off with a free Hamburg city tour from Sandemans New Europe. I’ve been on their tours a few times before, and their guides are always good fun with great location knowledge. Our guide Irene today certainly didn’t disappoint.
We started off at Hamburg’s stunning town hall.
First church stop of the day was St. Petri, the oldest church in Hamburg, which dates back to 1195. It burned down in the Great Fire of 1842 which engulfed most of the city, but the site still holds artwork dating back to the 1300s.
A typical Hamburg contorhouse, inspired by American high rise architecture.
The tour was great, but it’s absolutely freezing here right now (literally, it’s 0°C), so our coffee break was a welcome one!
After stopping off, we headed straight back out for the rest of the tour.
Outside the St Nikolai Church, who was patron saint of water (fitting for Hamburg).
This Holocaust memorial statue was particularly striking:
We visited Deichstrasse, the street where the Great Fire of 1842 originated.
And just behind here, a taste of Medieval Hamburg.
A statue representing the importance of water in the city.
Some beautiful views of the port around the Speicherstadt (historic warehouse area) and the Binnenhafen (inner harbour area).
A quick German lunch of schnitzel and fried potatoes for me and fish and boiled potatoes for Nazanin, then we were ready to go again.
We stopped off in a homeware store called Butlers for a browse. It’s always a mistake to put me and homeware together, and Butlers had a considerable kitchen section.
These giant teacups to grow herbs were my favourite find, but sadly I couldn’t exactly pop a couple in my suitcase to go home…so I ordered one from Butler’s UK website instead.
And then off to the Christmas market! We may have been visiting on the wrong side of Christmas, but that really didn’t take anything away from it. All of the food looked amazing and the place was heaving with bodies.
There was a stand selling tools made from chocolate!
A delicious array of herbs. I bought star anise.
That delectable German classic…
Fresh crisps to flavour yourself.
Big cylinders of mulled wines, ciders and ales.
Freshly baked breads and other delights.
And a selection of other treats.
A quick glance out over the river and time to head back to the house.