How many of you have made travel one of your New Year’s resolutions?
Luckily all of us in Ireland have so many options available to us with low cost airlines taking us around Europe for less than a night out in Dublin. Recently I visited Hamburg, and was surprised by how much I loved it! If you’re looking for somewhere different I suggest that you try it out. You can get flights for a long weekend in Hamburg for €40 return with Ryanair in February, so I’ll keep this article brief so you can run off and book them.
A photographers dream
The first thing to know about Hamburg is that you’ll need to bring your camera with you. This city is simply a photographer’s dream. The city planners have managed to keep the historic charm, while creating a modern, thriving city. Old and new buildings flow in and out of each other’s structures in a way that seems almost natural. The whole city is sitting on the water, and as it happens, it has more bridges than London, Amsterdam and Venice COMBINED! For those of you who might be interested in lugging a tripod with you, you will be rewarded with so many opportunities for watery reflections and interesting lighting.
Music to the ears
For those of you more acoustically inclined, fear not! Hamburg has one of the most interesting music histories! Did you know that Beatlemania hit Hamburg long before it hit anywhere else? I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a walking tour more than the Beatles Walking Tour with Stephanie Hempel. Stephanie and her ukulele will walk, talk and sing you through the historic neighbourhood of St. Pauli, to places where the Beatles lived and performed. I’ve been on a few walking tours where the guide is simply going through the motions, and this is certainly not one of them! Stephanie’s energy and enthusiasm for the Beatles shines through, and her love for the band is truly captivating and her singing a ukulele playing adds so much to the tour. I recommend that you do this tour as soon as possible on your trip to Hamburg to see the ins and outs of St. Pauli, and then go explore this area for yourself!
Once place that you mustn’t miss out on in Hamburg is the stunning Elbphilharmonie, basically the city’s state of the art music venue, right down on the docks. Photographers, again be at the ready for some very interesting shots, especially if you have a big zoom lens and like abstract photos! It’s free to go in to look around the building when there’s no event on, so make sure you go in! The inside is just as beautiful, if not more so! This isn’t strange in Hamburg, as indoors in the city is as strange and great as the outside. Office buildings have central hallways are open to the public, and they have some of the most beautiful stairways I’ve come across. Get your big fisheye lenses on here and go mad!
Where to stay
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while in Hamburg, I stayed in the Henri Hotel. In keeping with the Hamburg style, it’s all a bit odd, but in a really great way. It almost feels like a home I would hope to have once I decide to settle down. The rooms have a small desk area for working, and they have an honour system on the fridge in the dining area, where if you take something, you simply write down whatever you took along with your room number on a little notepad attached to the fridge. No need to wait for someone to bring you a glass of water, just get up and get it yourself, which I really loved!
All in all, Hamburg was a big surprise for me. I didn’t really know what to expect from the city, and the great thing is that even knowing what I know now about the city, I have a feeling that it will surprise me again on my next visit!
Editors note: This incredible trip to Hamburg Christmas Market was organised by Tourism Hamburg, so big thanks to them for a lovely few days.
Post written by Journalist On The Run writer Conor Phelan. Check out his other published work below…