Posts tagged ‘Hamburg’

Germany’s urban G-E-M-S: Hamburg

A quick survey about Germany with friends and colleagues reveals the usual “suspects”: the capital city of Berlin, Munich and Oktoberfest, and the fairy-tale castles in Bavaria.

In my continuing series on Germany’s largest cities, I turn attention to the nation’s 2nd most populous city, Hamburg, to discover some of her G-E-M-S : Green space (Grünanlage), a place to Eat (Essen gehen), Museum, and something Special (Sondertipp).

I’ve recommended G-E-M-S in Frankfurt am Main, Köln (Cologne), München (Munich), and Berlin.

Hamburg: Hanseatic City on the Water

Wandbereiterbruecke, Wandrahmsfleet, Speicherstadt, Hamburg, Germany

Over the Wandrahmsfleet canal in the Speicherstadt (HL)

Even though it isn’t Berlin or Munich, the northern harbour and port city of Hamburg deserves a place in the conversation. Hamburg is a city on and defined by water: the Alster lakes, the Fleete or canals, the Elbe river. These water channels are physical gateway to the Baltic Sea. You’ll also probably cross a bridge or two, and if Venice is known as a city of bridges, Hamburg is also a city of bridges with over 2300.

The name of the city is derived from “Hammaburg” with the early old-Saxon word “Ham” (Hamme) meaning “wetlands” or “marshlands” and “burg” meaning “fort” or “castle”. This dates back to the time of Emperor Charlemagne in the 9th-century AD/CE, but recent archaeological digs have shown the city’s origins pushed to the 8th-century AD/CE.

The city established busy profitable trading routes throughout Europe by land, and by water on the Elbe and by proximity to the Baltic Sea. Hamburg and nearby Lübeck created in the 13th-century a trading alliance which became the powerful naval and commercial Hanseatic League. Hamburg is at present Europe’s 2nd largest port by number of container units moved (after Rotterdam). Hamburg is northern Germany’s powerhouse, both economically and culturally, with the addition of print- and electronic-media companies establishing headquarters in the city.

First impressions are likely to be shared by many, particularly if you’re standing at Jungfernstieg, Rathausplatz, or by Neuer Wall in the middle of the city. Hamburg is beautiful, green, and rich. Whether any one of these characteristics is really independent of the other two is an exercise best left to the visitor’s excursions and inner musings.

And all without referring to meat, cheese, and bread buns.

You’ll go through the canals on foot or by slow boat. You’ll wander through one of many leafy quiet neighbourhoods scattered throughout the city, including the (in)famous Reeperbahn in St. Pauli (and where the Beatles paid their dues). On the Elbe waterfront, you’ll explore the workings of the Port of Hamburg, learn about the history of the Speicherstadt (Warehouse District), and immerse yourselves in the early-morning Fischmarkt (fish market) among the buying and selling of seafood from the North and Baltic Seas.

Hamburg is a beautiful city to explore, and these are four of many reasons why I always come back.

Green space : Alster Lakes

Aussenalster, Alsterufer, Hamburg, Germany

Summer afternoon on the Outer Alster Lake (HL)

A city cannot function properly without green spaces, her “lungs”. While the city looks “out” to the Elbe river for much of her economic activity, the people look “within” to her lakes for fun and relaxation. The two Alster lakes were artificially constructed to dam the Alster river and generate power for water mills in centuries past. The “inner” and “outer” refer to their former locations relative to the city walls which are no longer present. The two lakes are popular for sailing and rowing, and along the banks are an abundance of walking, jogging, and cycling paths, meadows, and parks. A meandering boat tour in the Alster lakes easily convinced me why residents love this stretch of blue and green.

Details: Alster Lakes.
Transit station: S-/U-Bahn Jungfernstieg, S-Bahn Dammtor, or U-Bahn Stephansplatz.

Eat : Edelcurry

Edelcurry, Hamburg, Germany

Currywurst, Hamburg style (HL)

There are “hamburgers” in Hamburg, but if I’m not thinking about smoked herring, I’ve got currywurst in mind. That national snack is a personal obsession, as I discover Hamburg has also claimed currywurst’s origins, although most associate currywurst with Berlin and Herta Heuwer’s invention in 1949. I love the currywurst in Berlin, but I’m obligated to try different versions. Edelcurry is one of many proud and tasty versions in Hamburg. I get a portion of extra-spicy currywurst with crispy fries, washed down with a Bionade or Fritz-Kola. Aaaaaah, but now, I think I’m duty bound to test the varieties of currywurst in the Rhein-Ruhr region …

Details: Edelcurry.
Transit station: S-/U-Bahn Jungfernstieg, S-Bahn Stadthausbrücke, or U-Bahn Gänsemarkt.

Museum : Deichtorhallen

Deichtorhallen, Kunstmeile, Hamburg, Germany

Deichtorhallen on the Kunstmeile or Art Mile (HL)

I admire a great deal of art and photography, and I’ll seek them both out wherever I go. In Hamburg, I’m a regular at the Kunstmeile (Art Mile). The former market halls at Deichtorhallen make up one of the five Kunstmeile institutions, and the Haus der Photographie regularly presents a variety of photography exhibitions, including historical and contemporary collections. One lasting memory is a retrospective of 19th- and 20th-century photography from Paris, including work by Atget, Brassaï, Fukuhara, Hervé, Marville, Kertész.

Details: Deichtorhallen.
Transit station: S-/U-Bahn Hauptbahnhof, or U-Bahn Steinstrasse.

Special : Sternschanze

Juliusstrasse, Lippmannstrasse, Sternschanze, Hamburg, Germany

Juliusstrasse & Lippmannstrasse, Sternschanze (HL)

Yes, the city is loaded with money, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put my feet up with a beer, some easy homestyle food, and watch people going about their errands. I like hanging out in the Sternschanze or the Schanzenviertel, where numerous trendy boutiques, small galleries, cozy cafés, local bars and pubs, and a variety of restaurants will fill an afternoon or two, particularly along Schulterblatt and Schanzenstrasse. For the hip, trendy, alternative, and everybody in between, there’s a welcome atmosphere, even if recent injections of money and redevelopment have raised warnings of gentrification among area residents.

Details: Sternschanze | Schanzenviertel
Transit station: S-/U-Bahn Sternschanze; from this station, I’d also recommend the U3 train for a look around the “city circle”.

Mapping the G-E-M-S

With the location of the city’s Hauptbahnhof (main train station) indicated, the map below marks the G-E-M-S in Hamburg:

  • G: Green Space (Grünanlagen) – Alster Lakes;
  • E: place to Eat (Essen gehen) – Edelcurry;
  • M: Museum – Deichtorhallen, part of Kunstmeile Hamburg;
  • S: Special (Sondertipp) – Sternschanze.

The summer is one of the best times to visit the Hanseatic port city.

Local transport: Hamburg Verkehrsverbund (HVV), available also in English. Depending upon budget and preferred location to stay while you’re in town, do consider these Hamburg train stations: Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station) indicated in the map above, Dammtor station, Altona station, and Harburg station.

Trains to Hamburg take about 2 hours from Berlin, 4 to 4.5 hours from Frankfurt am Main, 4.5 hours from København (Copenhagen), 4 hours from Köln (Cologne), and 6 hours from München (Munich).

Germany’s urban G-E-M-S

(population source, Deutsche Städtetag)

I made all of the photos above, and this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

Fotoeins’ Favourite 5 in Germany

I’ll be the first to admit it.

I’m apoplectic with rage if a person answers “Oktoberfest” as their first and only thought when asked what they think about Germany.

There’s nothing wrong with the raging keggers and oom-pa-pa at Oktoberfest or the beautiful city of Munich. But there’s a lot more to Germany than Oktoberfest. For example, there’s a festival lasting months: the Karneval on the Rhein …

I’m very fond of the country and her people; so I can be defensive when it comes to my “adopted” Deutschland. Yes, the people can be a little ornery, but break past their gruff orderly fastidious exteriors, and they are a lovely warm and generous people.

Sounds a lot like you and me, doesn’t it?

To encourage favourable views about different parts of the country, here are my 5 faves while I’m in the big D:

1. I’m in Berlin to catch sunset’s silhouettes on Strasse des 17. Juni.

In Berlin, a ride on the upper-deck of either the 100 or 200 city-bus from Zoologischer Garten station will take passengers through many of the sightseeing and talking points of the German capital. Where the city’s Tiergarten park is concerned, many stop at the Zoo, Brandenburg Gate, and the Victory Column (Siegessäule). Taking the time to see the Gate and Column colourfully illuminated at night are also worthwhile, but I like my silhouettes, too. Click here for more about the photo below.

Siegesaeule, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany,

2. I’m in Hamburg to check what’s on store in the Speicherstadt.

Adjacent to the river Elbe, Hamburg is a port-city with historical links to the Hanseatic shipping league. The Speicherstadt (Warehouse District) consists of 19th- and 20th-century brick warehouses, like proud markers of an island oasis on the Elbe. If you’re interested in spices, the Spice Museum is where you can learn about how spices arrived and were traded within Europe. Today, most of the harbour activities occur on the southern banks of the Elbe in the Hafenstadt.

Speicherstadt, Hamburg, Germany,

3. I’m in Köln for my favourite Turkish food.

Grilled lamb combo plate at Mangal, Köln, Koeln, Cologne, Germany

An important thing I’ve learned from friends in Köln is the quality and variety of Turkish food. I’ve always tried to visit neighbourhoods where resident German-Turks go for their favourites. Whether it’s in Mülheim, Hansaring, or the “Zülpi” (Zülpicher Viertel), it might be hard to pin down the best places to eat. Ultimately, Ehrenfeld, my “Kölner Kiez,” has got my kind of food. A plate with Döner meat or grilled Lambspiess accompanied by rice and salad is a good way to start, and a serving of Künefe is a great way to finish. Click here for more drooling.

Künefe, Kuenefe, Mangal, Köln, Koeln, Cologne, Germany,

4. I’m on the North Sea coast to gaze out into the open sea.

It’s easy to forget Germany has access to open seas which are an important part of the nation’s history and Hanseatic traditions. About an hour north by train from Bremen, I’m at the coastal town of Cuxhaven to begin exploring the Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer). The area includes coastal mud flats which are vital for conservation efforts of local wildlife. The site’s importance has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nationalpark Wattenmeer, Wadden Sea National Park, Cuxhaven, Germany,

5. I’m up top at Zugspitze for big mountains and big skies.

Although the tallest parts of the Alps are located in neighbouring countries, the view from 3000 metres (9700 feet) on the German side remains impressive. The ascent to Zugspitze is worth the trip on its own, whether by cogwheel railway from Partenkirchen or by gondola from Eibsee. At the summit, you can easily pass between Bavaria, Germany and Tirol, Austria. If you squint your eyes on a clear day, you can see all the way to mountains at the Austria-Italy border. Click here for the ascent.

Zugspitze, Alps Germany, Austria,

Have you visited Germany? What are your favourites from the country? Please leave your comments below!

I made all of the photos above in the D-land. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

Fotoeins’ Capture of Four Seasons

The seasons help mark the passage of time. While the extreme summer heat or the extreme winter cold may be at times irritating or even hazardous, there is always beauty to be found at any given time of year. is running “Capture the Seasons” (2012), and Erik Smith has kindly nominated me.


Altes Rathaus, Obere Bruecke, Geyerswoerthsteg, Bamberg, Germany

Altes Rathaus & Obere Brücke, from Geyerswörthsteg : Bamberg, Germany

I realize it’s spring when an explosion of colours lie in wait wherever I’m traveling. A beautiful set of flowers provided the perfect foreground to the Old Town Hall in Bamberg, Germany. It’s not enough that the Old Town is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but there are beautiful flowers present everywhere in town in springtime.


Goldbekkanal, on the way to Rondeelteich : Hamburg, Germany

A dog, its caretaker, & faithful dragon : Hamburg, Germany

I realize it’s summer when it’s time to hop on a boat to cool off. In Hamburg, you can take a cruise through the city canals and visit some of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in town. Then again, after watching this gentleman canoe down the Goldbekkanal, I believe that this man had a very “exclusive” insight to taking things easy in Hamburg.


Heckmannhoefe, Berlin, Germany

Gathered on a bench in Heckmannhöfe : Berlin, Germany

I realize it’s autumn/fall when deciduous trees change colours, and the annual cycle continues with leaves falling onto the ground. While walking within the interior courtyards of the Heckmannhöfe in Berlin, I found three giant leaves on the ground and placed them on the bench. The brightly coloured leaves, the brown earthy colour of the bench, and the red-brown bricks on the ground formed a wonderfully representative image of the season.


Pariser Platz, Brandenburger Tor, Berlin, Germany

Christmas Eve at Brandenburg Gate : Pariser Platz, Berlin, Germany

I realize it’s winter when Christmas lights are out, and the sights, smells, and sounds of the Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets) in Germany are in full swing. On Christmas Eve 2010 in Berlin, I made my way to a quiet Brandenburg Gate in heavy snowfall and gusty winds. The Christmas tree-lights and the streaks of blowing snow combined to make a great winter picture.

To continue this thread, I’d like to nominate the following people:

•   Debbie of European Travelista
•   Catalin & Maria of 2away
•   Oneika the Traveler
•   Nancie M of Budget Travelers Sandbox
•   Aleah of Solitary Wanderer

I made the four photos above between 2008 and 2010. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (

An idyllic summer in Hamburg, Germany

Fri(day) Fotos Festive theme

As announced a few days ago, today’s Friday-photos theme is “festive”:

Christmas market, Old Town Square, Prague
Christmas market at Old Town Square : Prague, Czech Republic – 4 December 2008.

Kripperlmarkt, Muenchen Munich
Crib or Manger Market : Munich, Germany – 1 December 2010.

Weihnachtsmarkt, Roemerberg, Frankfurt am Main
Christmas market at Römerberg : Frankfurt am Main, Germany – 18 December 2010.

Hamburg Weihnachtsmarkt Rathausmarkt
Christmas market at Rathausmarkt : Hamburg, Germany – 21 December 2010.

Unter den Linden, Berlin Mitte
Unter den Linden (near U/S Brandenburger Tor) : Berlin, Germany – 24 December 2010.

Brandenburger Tor, Pariser Platz, Berlin
Pariser Platz, near Brandenburg Gate : Berlin, Germany – 24 December 2010.

I hope you enjoyed the photos above, as much as I enjoyed making them! More blog posts about Christmas can be found here.

This post appears originally on Fotoeins Fotopress (


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