On Friday, after our flight and arriving at our hotel – we walked from Uhlenhorst along the Aussen-Alster lake to the city centre and wandered around quite aimlessly. We saw that the city was preparing for Christmas Markets here and there but unfortunately none were open yet.
Our walk took us to the huge Hauptbahnhof (central railway station) and from there onto the famous shopping street Mönckebergstrasse. At the end of the shopping street you will find the beautiful Rathausmarkt (the Town Hall) and a great hub to enjoy the Hamburg atmosphere.
We also visited the Alsterhaus department store which is a sister store to the glorious KaDeWe in Berlin. On the fourth floor you will find a gourmand’s paradise – from champagne bars to fancy coffee shops. It is a very good idea to visit and take a little break at this location!
What I found out was that German’s really know their Christmas calendars! There were calendars for chocolate (naturally), cosmetics, jewellery, tea and even beer. All the big department stores featured these.
What better evening to visit the infamous Reeperbahn than Saturday evening? Everyone out for a good time will be there, believe me. However, if you are offended by peep shows, strip clubs and sex shops then you should steer clear of the place – it is a red light district after all. It is not a classy place for sure, so you do need an open mind. But it’s a part of Hamburg and something the city is famous for, so there’s really nothing wrong with going to have a peek. You will find that it’s full of tourists doing the same thing. Of course you will also find your fare share of rowdy stag parties, but I guess you will find those anywhere that there is cheap beer. We had drinks to get the idea of it but did not stay long.
Near the Reeperbahn you will find The Hamburger Dom. It’s a festival/amusement park which is open at certain times of the year in Spring, Summer and Winter. We did not have the time to visit, but if you are in Hamburg when the Hamburger Dom is open, I am sure it’s worth going as it looked very inviting and busy and more fun than the Reeperbahn.
On our last day it was raining non-stop, so we thought it would be a good time for an inside attraction – Miniatur Wunderland. Unfortunately all the other tourists thought so too! It really is quite a popular attraction and that is why I would recommend that you buy your tickets in advance for a certain time slot especially on weekends and public holidays. This will save you a lot of time and you can do it easily on their webpage.
If you do just show up like we did and have to wait – no worries. There is a special waiting area where you can sit, drink free soda and chat with your friends. You will have to keep your eye on the monitors in the room, as those will indicate when you can go in. We waited over an hour and the estimate on when we would be able to enter was quite accurate.
Inside you will find huge scale models of mountains, cities, airports and so on. The coolest part was when now and then they dimmed the lights and the landscapes lit up! I am sure anyone of any age will enjoy this attraction.
After a quick visit for coffee with our friends it was time to head to the airport. But before I end my Hamburg series, I will do one more and fill you in on German spa etiquette. You will want to blend in like a local, believe me.