Hamburg, Germany

Last week, I did a short Scandinavian (Only Denmark and a bit of Sweden) trip and as I had to pass by Hamburg, I planned on spending some time in Hamburg as it is one of the major touristic destinations and boasts of great history and sundry other things. Hamburg's harbour is the second biggest harbour in Europe after Rotterdam (Netherlands/Holland) and 9th biggest in the world. Besides that,it is also the second biggest city in Germany, after Berlin and the most populous city in European Union which is not a national capital. One more important thing is that the Beatles started their career at this place.

Hamburg is known all over as a center of commerce and is very cosmopolitan when compared to many other cities in Germany/Europe. Also, this city along with Seattle (USA) and Toulouse (France) is one of the most important locations for Aerospace industry in the world. Most of Germany's media stuff (Newspapers, Magazines, Television productions, et al things), many software firms, a huge harbour and many other industries are based in Hamburg.

One more important thing that I would like to mention is that Hamburg (as with other cities) is one of the most bombed German cities, during the World War II. The 'Battle Of Hamburg', codenamed 'Operation Gomorrah' was a series of air raids conducted by the British Air Force (RAF) and the US Air Force (USAAF) in the end of July 1943. The plan was to bomb strategically, in a non-stop (around-the-clock bombing) way for 8 days and 7 nights. This strategic bombing by the US (at daytime) and British Air Force (at night time) caused heavy damage to Hamburg. It also resulted in the loss of several important buildings/monuments of great architechture, et al things. This was later termed as the 'Heaviest Assault In The History Of Aerial Warfare' and was called as 'Hiroshima of Germany' by British officials. This bombing also resulted in a firestorm, which resulted in tens of thousands of civilian and other casualties.

I flew to Hamburg from Nuremberg with 'Air Berlin' sometime in the morning and spent around 1&1/2 days at Hamburg (before heading to Copenhagen, Denmark - My first entry into Scandinavia). When I had a first glimpse of Hamburg and its people, I was surprised to some extent as the place where I come from (Nuremberg - Bavaria/Bayern) is a bit conservative and people are reserved a bit, whereas in Hamburg, its a bit different story. I was also wondering whether it is part of Germany or not as there is stark contrast in the way, the city is organised and also the attitude of the people when compared to Southern Germany (specially Germany). Maybe thats also because of me staying in Bavaria for a long time.

Hamburg is said to be the richest (or one of the richest) metropolitan regions in Europe. Also, I heard that it is the city with the most number of millionaires (in Europe). After reaching Hamburg, I took the airport-bus from Hamburg airport to the central station and then the Metro train to the hotel that I booked and checked-in. I was rushing up to check-in, just because I had a heavy backpack and I wanted to get rid of that ASAP, instead of carrying that wherever I go. After that, I went to the 'Hamburg Harbour', which is located at 'Landungsbrucke', which is one of the colorful parts of Hamburg. Indeed, it looks like a place where you can just hang around and kill time. There are a lot of restaurants along the harbour side and you can also one of those harbour tours (by the ferry) and also the City-tours (by the bus) from this point. Also, Landungsbrucke's Metro and S-Bahn (City Local train) stations are kool and busy locations. If the weather is good and it aint windy, you can expect a big crowd around this place, on all days. By the way, this 'wind' thing got me reminded of this recent 'Lufthansa' incident at the Hamburg airport, where in, this Lufthansa flight had a close call. You can check this in the below embedded video:

The pilot of that flight was smart enough in interpreting the conditions and taking off the runaway (without landing) and made a safe landing attempt again. This pilot became famous overnight after this incident and was seen all over the German and other news (or other) channels.

Ok, now I'll get back to my trip stuff. After I reached 'Landungsbrucke' (which is a couple of stations away from my hotel), I sat by the harbour and ate some sandwich with an Eiskaffee (Ice Coffee). Here are some pics from that place:

After that, I got a ticket for 'Hafen-Rundfahrt' (Harbour Round-Trip/Tour) and got into my ferry (Palais De Paris). Here's a video that I took from the top of that ferry (You can also see 'Queen Mary' in this video):

And here are some more pics from the 'Harbor Round-Trip' that I did:

After this trip, I walked around and looked at 'Reeperbahn', which is otherwise called as 'Sin Street' (because you can find a lot of people who work in the second oldest profession in the world). Reeperbahn, Sankt Pauli and Landungsbrucke are neighbouring areas to each other and form one of the most important areas of Hamburg for entertainment, pubs, restaurants and sundry other things. In the daytime, these areas look normal, but when once it gets dark, you can the other-side of Hamburg. You dont see much of this stuff in other German cities (apart from Berlin). Here are some more pics that I took, when I walked around those places:

After that, I took the metro and went to the central area of Hamburg, where the town hall (Rathaus) and the main shopping area is located. Here are some pics from that place:

And here's a pic from inside the townhall (Rathaus - Visitors can only look at the first room in that building) :

After the town-hall (Rathaus) thingy, I walked down the street beside that, which is said to be one of the main shopping streets in Hamburg. I walked into a famous shopping mall called 'Europa Passage' and got some books from the Thalia bookstore. Here are some pics from that street and the shopping mall:

And some more pics from around that place:

After that, I took the metro and went to this nice locality called 'Hallestrasse' (Hall-Street). I guess this is named so, just because it boasts of Tennis stadium and other sports related things there. There's a big indoor stadium there, which hosts the 'World Hamburg Masters' tennis tournament every year (in which many international tennis stars participate). Here's some pics from that place:

I've done enough of walking and roaming around and so, that was it for the day. After eating a bit in an Indian restaurant (at that place) I went back to the hotel and slumbered the night away.

The next day, I woke up early, but lazed around a bit and had my breakfast in the hotel. After that, I went to Landungsbrucke again and took the 'Stadtrundfahrt' (City Tour By Bus). There was a guy who guided us in both German and English, as the bus passed by the famous landmarks of Hamburg. Also, anyone can get down at any point and get on any other bus (same line), later in the day. Here are the pics of some famous landmarks and other things that I shot:

The bus also passed by this posh area around a lake, where many Embassies and rich vilas are located. Here are some pics:

And here's a pic of the famous U-boat (called U-434) which was used by the Russian Navy for spying and other things. This was said to be the world's biggest non-nuclear submarine, which is now serving as a touristy thing. Here's a pic of that U-boat:

And here's a video of that U-boat:

After the city-tour, I still had a couple of hours left out (for me to leave Hamburg for other destination - Copenhagen). So, I used my Hamburg-Ticket and roamed from that part to different ends of Hamburg. This made me feel that Hamburg is a really big city (as the metropolitan region extends till a long way). After doing that, I went to the hotel and picked up my lugagge and bid adieu to Hamburg. Thats it folks!! Now, I'm off to make my first entry into Scandinavia (Nordic Countries)..yeah, the land of Vikings, Little Mermaid, et al things. Adios! :-)

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