It’s been a phenomenally busy time catching up with my family here in Hamburg, so much so that I haven’t had time to post anything much about the trip for a good few days! Despite my tardiness, here’s the second round up of my city highlights here in the city of water and wealth. Click here to read Germany: Hamburg Part I.
After the free city tour earlier in the week, we couldn’t help ourselves but take a stroll back to the water and admire the boats in the Harbour City area. The harbour really is a defining point of Hamburg, and gorgeous whether rain or shine.
We also took a closer look at the new opera house, which has swallowed millions of Euros from Hamburg’s taxpayers and is more than five years behind schedule for completion. The city’s residents are not happy. Tourists can enjoy a guided tour of the construction site though, so at least it’s helping Hamburg tourism to boom.
Undoubtedly one of Hamburg’s best known offerings, my trip to this part of Germany would not have been complete without seeing the infamous Reeperbahn – Hamburg’s red-light district street in St Pauli. We went at 2:30am on a Saturday night, which apparently is the time to go. I have to say that I found the whole setup a lot more civilised than Amsterdam’s equivalent.
We even stopped for a quick look at The Beatles monument in St. Pauli. The band spent some time in Hamburg writing music.
Coffee is always at the top of the agenda when I travel anywhere in Europe, and coming to Germany this time was no exception. I was lucky to have my very own tour guide in the form of my cousin Nazanin, who used to work in Hamburg’s most prestigious and historic coffeehouse, Die Rösterei, which located in Hamburg’s Levantehaus among the city’s most expensive boutiques and outlets.
Of course, I went for an Ethiopian blend – only the strongest on the menu is suitable for my coffee-obsessed soul. My auntie had a decorative cappuccino while cousin Nazanin went for a tea…with a giant teabag that was surely fit for a king.
On the subject of coffee, we also visited Hamburg’s Kaffeemuseum Burg (Museum of Coffee). The first thing to note about this place is its extraordinary smell. The scent of roasting beans will fill your nostrils from a good few hundred metres away as you approach the building, and if you’re anything like me, that’s a very welcome prospect indeed.
We visited on the afternoon of December 31st, and the place was really crowded, so it was a quick glance around and then off and away we went. I’ll definitely be attending one of their coffee seminars and grabbing a guided tour next time I visit.
A bout of wintery illness made my New Year’s Eve this year a quiet one, but as it turns out, even a quiet NYE is something to write home about in Hamburg. My auntie, cousin Jasmin and me watched movies, drank tea and ate cake, but when midnight came, we ventured out to the balcony for our first cigarette of 2013 and the watched the whole neighbourhood explode with fireworks for more than an hour. It was very special indeed.
Now I’m heading back to Norwich; it’s time to get stuck into 2013′s first month of work and other activities!