My First Day in Hamburg:
Flowers and Rain Showers
I have to admit,
I was a bit skeptical about Hamburg.
I didn't know much about this city other than the story of St. Nikolai Church
and that it is a port city, along the
So I wasn't quite sure what
the appeal was.
Why would we be starting our tour here?
But after visiting and learning about Hamburg, it might just be my
favorite German city!
Hamburg TV Tower in Dammtorpark
Japanese Gardens in Dammtorpark.
Dammtorpark: Planten un Blomen
I arrived late in the afternoon the day before the tour began, so I decided to walk through Dammtorpark: Planten un Blomen near the hotel.
It was glorious!
So many hidden secrets to reveal and treasures to find. I followed the winding trails through colorful fields of flowers and meandered my way into the Japanese Gardens. After reflecting by the pools on my trip thus far, and all I've learned in 5 short days, I made my way to an outdoor restaurant in the park.
I ordered (in German!) Schweineschnitzel mit Pommes--pork schnitzel with fries. I was so proud of myself for remembering and using the German I had been learning in the few months prior.
As I enjoyed my first meal in Germany, sitting in the park under a large umbrella, the rain decided to pour down.
Thankfully, I was covered and the rain didn't last long. When the rain lifted, I wandered the park some more and saw a little cascading water feature. By this time, my white shoes were getting muddy. But no fear! Toothpaste does the trick to get them clean :D
On this morning, lo and behold, the zipper on my belt bag broke :(
So, I checked Google maps for a store in the area that might have belt bags.
To my delight, there was a Lululemon nearby!
I knew they sold belt bags,
so I ventured out down the "5th Avenue" of Hamburg to look for a new Gürteltasche.
I was all prepared to speak German and ask for assistance, but the sales person spoke first and I couldn't recognize any words she said. So, I asked if she spoke English, and she was very excited about that! She, and the other sales people, were very excited to speak English with me!
We had a nice chat about German grammar :D
And, I got my new bag. Phew!
Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (train station).
My Second Day in Hamburg and Tour Day One:
Shopping and Exploration
Continuing my journey, I walked to the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (museum for arts and crafts/artifacts). I purchased my ticket in German and the desk attendant understood me! Go me!
I love museums, so, of course I had to explore every room.
One of my favorite displays was the full-length body masks created by Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt. Lavinia and Walter were Expressionist dancers of the 1920s. They danced in these costumes, representing "the inner turmoil and restlessness, to the demonic side of life". I was particularly moved by this display because of the uniqueness, creativity, and fantasy world they created.
I really worked up an appetite making my way through the museum, following the map in German, and discovering all the cool items in the museum, so I made my way back towards the hotel to grab lunch...well, a large cup of ice cream with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chocolate candies, and whip cream! Yum-o! After a short rest in my hotel room, it was time for the
tour orientation and group dinner.
It was very heartwarming to see the support and solidarity for Ukraine. There were many Ukrainian flags on public buildings.
Ice cream lunch on the Binnenalster. Is there chocolate on my face? :D
My Walking Route in Hamburg
Boat tour on the Elbe, admiring the centuries old Peking ship.
I'm not one to try new foods...but it's all about the experience. So, I did it.
Sure, it was only one bite, but hey, that counts!
"Sich fühlen wie ein Fisch auf dem Trockenen!"
Literally: Feeling like fish on a dry.
German meaning: Feeling out of place; different to other people.
View of Hamburg from St. Michael's tower.
Tour Day Two:
Towering Views and
The 2nd day of the tour began with a guided walking tour of Hamburg,
a visit to the Elbphilarmonie, a boat tour on the Elbe (with an exciting incident--see the photo album below for the full story!), and a free afternoon and evening.
It was after our boat tour that Matti surprised us with a little snack: Fischbrötchen!
Really, this wasn't my thing. But since it's all about the experience, I tried it.
It was really fun experiencing a local treat. I felt just like a Hamburger :)
I spent the afternoon visiting the St. Pauli Alter Tunnel, St. Michael's Church & tower & crypt (of course I went to the crypt!), then a walk through the park, followed by an ice cream snack.
Dinner was had with a few tour mates,
followed by more ice cream! :)
View of the Elbe River from St. Michael's tower.
*Always trust where a Rick Steves' tour is taking you!
Go with the flow.
*Venture out and don't be afraid to pop into a store
and chat with the locals.
*You'll find many options for the tasty Fish Roll along the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken (Landing Bridges/Piers).
Hover or click the pictures to view descriptions and see them larger.
Don't forget my favorite links at the bottom!
My Favorite Hamburg Things!
Hotel Alster-Hof - Delightful accommodations and delicious Fruhstrucke (breakfast)!
Dammtorpark: Planten un Blomen - An inner city respite with a botanical garden, trails, flowers, fountain concert, skate park, and more.
Museum fur Kunst and Gewerbe - Museum for Arts and Crafts/Artifacts. Really unusual displays. Galleries with religious items were extremely fascinating!
St. Nikolai Memorial - Church ruins and remaining steeple with a WWII memorial museum.
Elbphilarmonie - Concert Hall built in 2017. Also a hotel and apartments. The long escalator ride inside is quite the thrill!
Fischbrötchen König® - Infamous fish roll! A popular street food sandwich in Northern Germany, made with fish and other ingredients (pickles, remoulade, onions, lettuce, or horseradish).
Alter Elbtunnel - Pedestrian pathway under the Elbe River.
St. Michael's Church - Home of the Steinmeyer organ. The tower has amazing views of the city, while the crypt reminds us of how the living took refuge during the fire storms (it also has the remnants of the old bell).