You may have heard of a band tour or a book tour, but have you ever heard of a CITY going on tour?! This genius marketing campaign run by Hamburg Tourism involves the tourism board bringing the city of Hamburg (or at least all its best parts and people!) on tour to various cities around Europe, to showcase the best of Hamburg to the world.
My friends in Ireland (and abroad) couldn’t quite comprehend why I was traveling to London as a Tourism Hamburg Ambassador, and I myself could quite explain it until I had experienced all the action first hand.
This year the Hamburg On Tour event took place in Brick Lane in London, in the hopes that a fun German-themed festival in one of the hippest areas of the city could help promote Hamburg to the people of London.
I haven’t actually travelled to London as many times as I would have liked, so it was a fun opportunity for me to get to know this area of London better, hang out with some blogger friends and hopefully do a good job representin’ Tourism Hamburg as one of their official Blogger Ambassadors!
The weekend started with a blogger event at the venue on Friday evening, hosted by Traverse – an organization that hosts travel-themed events and conferences for travel bloggers and influencers. There were over 50 bloggers in attendance, and it was so good to meet up with so many of my blogger friends including Roma from Roaming Required, Mansoureh from Travel With Mansoureh, Yishyene from Small Crazy and fellow Irish travel blogger Tara from Where is Tara?.
I also got to meet lots of new faces such as the lovely Dominika (endless Instagram inspiration) from The Blonde Flamingo and Julie from A Lady in London, whom I have admired for a long time! Learning from, and meeting, new people is one of my favourite things about the travel community, and always proves again and again how supportive they are!
At the event, we got a tour of the venue and got to meet some of the Hamburg On Tour crew who brought all fun, music and true hospitality of Hamburg to the heart of London.
From tasting chocolate to making our own lemonade, doing a gin tasting to getting endless free cups of coffee to meeting a local brewer and tasting beer brought all the way over from Hamburg – there was plenty of fun and interactive activities to be found.
One of the things I loved most about the festival, was the photo exhibition of all the best music festivals in Hamburg that took place over the summer. I was lucky enough to attend Vogelball – a bird themed EDM festival – and it brought back many great memories to see photos of the festival displayed around the venue.
They also brought over some of the bands and performers that played at the Hamburg’s biggest summer festivals – to give Londoners a little taste of what can be found over 1,000km away in the happening city of Hamburg!
While the bands played on the main stage all weekend to a large and ever-changing crowd, Beatles’ fans congregated in the far corner where the legendary Stefanie Hempel took small groups on mini Beatles Tours and performed some her favourite Beatles songs.
You could even join her on her couch and have a little jam session, which many of the Hamburg On Tour crew did over the course of the weekend. How she managed to keep her voice through it all is a miracle, but one thing is for sure…if I ever go back to Hamburg I am definitely doing her Beatles Tour!
At one stage, one of the most memorable moments of the festival, they took the couch outside onto the street, she was joined by about 10 members of Tourism Hamburg and they all jammed to a Beatles hit in German!! Much to the delight of all the bloggers, photographers and passers-by!
It was actually very cool to learn so much about the connection between The Beatles and Hamburg, especially as they played more hours in Hamburg than any other city on earth and it’s pretty much where they lived right before they hit it big time.
The street was also the main stage for a lot of dance acts, including one of the best hip-hop groups I’ve ever seen live – they even managed to get a couple of middle-aged passers-by to join in and try out some dance moves!
At the back of the venue, there was a large astroturf garden complete with a tiki bar, crates, and bean bags to sit on, a tent with displays from Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn area and even a truck that was driven all the way from Saint Pauli in Hamburg to London for the event!
I loved chilling out in this area during the day as the sun was splitting the stones and there was delicious German beer to be tasted! They also had a foozball table, a virtual reality bike and just fun things going on throughout the day!
They also had some food stands where they gave out free food all weekend – currywurst sausages, saurkraut and some sort of fish dish that I sadly had to stay away from!
A few of my London friends came to the festival on Saturday and I loved how impressed they were with the setup. It’s also very unusual for anything in London to be free, so when they were given free coffee, free lemonade, and a free lunch, they didn’t know what was happening!
One friend, Amanda, had actually travelled to Hamburg with me earlier in the summer and after hanging out at the festival in London together we both decided we would have to return to Hamburg next summer to check out a few more festivals! It’s simply too cool a city NOT to return back to!
I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to be part of this great event in London, and I’m already looking forward to the Hamburg On Tour event next year!