Back in June, I went to Hamburg for a concert.  I decided to be adventurous, and get a hotel on the Reeperbahn.  The Reeperbahn, sometimes referred to as “The Sinful Mile,” is Hamburg’s red light district.  It’s also jam packed with bars, clubs, restaurants, and touristy things.  It’s sort of like a distillation of Las Vegas, but with legal prostitution.  All of my Reeperbahn pics are from the daytime, because I didn’t want to be that guy taking pictures there at night.  And there’s a good chance I would have gotten my camera smashed if I had.

I chose my hotel based on ratings and reviews on TripAdvisor, and I wound up with the Pyjama Park Hotel und Hostel. It was affordable, and it was pretty decent considering the location.  My only caveat:  Don’t choose this hotel if you can’t sleep with a little bit of street noise.  People who live in New York City will be fine here.

This picture is not the hotel, it’s just a place on the Reeperban that drew my attention enough to snap a picture.  I think it’s a bar.  They must really like their pigs.


After I dropped my bags off at the hotel, fellow blogger Scott met me there and we set out for lunch.  On the walk between the hotel and the closest U-Bahn station, we passed this building.  I immediately made the “Go home, building, you’re drunk!” joke because it’s all tilty.


For lunch, we went down to the Port of Hamburg.  The harbor is the largest port in Germany, and the third busiest port in Europe, after Rotterdam and Antwerp. (Note to self:  I need to get to Rotterdam next year. I really want to see it.)  In addition to being a massively busy shipping port, it’s also a nice place to go for lunch.  The Landungsbrücken area is kind of touristy, but full of restaurants.  The boat on the left in this picture is in front of a nice restaurant.  Naturally, I had the fish.


Many of the boats that stop here, like the two level blue boat above, and the two level red and blue one below, are ferries that you can ride between established docks in much the same way that you would use a bus inside the heart of a city.  Based on the recommendation of the Internets, I took the number 62 Ferry from there to Finkenwerder and back.  The journey takes about an hour and a half to get there and back, but it’s a very affordable way to get a nice mini-tour of the Elbe river in this area.


These crane things were busily moving containers around.  It was neat to watch.


I was a little taken aback to find the Louisiana Star paddle-boat in Hamburg, Germany.


Directly across the harbor from Landungsbrücken is the auditorium where they show Der König Der Löwen (The Lion King.)  Some of the ferry boats advertised this.  Note to self:  I’ve gotta see this musical!  I’ve managed so far to miss it every time I’m anywhere near it.


Before the concert that evening, I went to another nice area in Hamburg to meet Sarah after she got out of work.  We walked over to a Balzac Coffee and caught up for a bit.  I’d just like to say for the record that Balzac Coffee is kind of awesome.  I’ve been in Balzac shops several times before, and I wish we had them in Regensburg.

The concert was in an open area auditorium called the Freilichtbühne on one side of the city’s amazing Stadtpark.  I got to see the entire Stadtpark, because Scott gave me bad advice on which public transportation stop to use to get there, and I wound up on the opposite side of the park.  This is ok, though, because it was a nice walk through the park and I got there in plenty of time to catch the main act, Lindsey Stirling.


The following morning, I did a small amount of touristing on my way back to the train station to head back to Regensburg.    On the walk back out of the Reeperbahn, I spotted this place where you can get cheap sex right next to a place where you can get a cheap hamburger.  (Ok, in reality I had spotted it the night before, because I grabbed some chicken nuggets after the concert.  Despite being on the Reeperbahn, this is the quietest McDonald’s I’ve ever been inside.  Amazing!)


Walking into the city center before leaving town, I found this pillar in the courtyard in front of the Rathaus, in front of the canal.  I haven’t been able to find any information on what this is called, but it was neat looking.


Finally, there’s Hamburg’s iconic Rathaus, the Hamburg town hall.  I didn’t go inside, but I’ve found that for many cities, the Rathaus is just as interesting inside as it is outside.  This pretty much wrapped up my short hop into Hamburg.  I arrived on Tuesday morning and left on Wednesday morning, for a total time in the city of less than 24 hours.  I’ll have to go back sometime- I quite liked Hamburg.


Have you ever been to Hamburg?  Have you partied on the Reeperbahn or taken a ferry on the Elbe?  What’s your favorite harbor?


10 thoughts on “Hamburg

  1. That Rathaus has a great restaurant in it, slightly below ground level if memory serves. It was the site for the Friday night dinner for WEBMU…2010, I believe. Smart move about the camera on the Reeperbahn at night.

    How was the German there? Sarah and I loved LOVED L O V E D the change of pace from Bairish/Oberpfälzisch. Sounded (to us) like everything was the audio portion from a textbook. Don’t get me wrong — we enjoy the local language and its challenges. But it’s nice to be reminded that what you learned in school and hear on TV is actually spoken by real people (just not in Regensburg).


  2. I lived in Hamburg for about a year (Altona, quite close to the Landungsbrücken, right next to the Astra brewery). But almost 10 years ago. Haven’t been there recently and your pictures remind me of the good time I had there. Thank you.

    Schweinske, actually is a restaurant chain (only north-west Germany, I guess) were every meal involves pork. I have been there a few times. The food is quite good, nothing special, but cheap.


  3. Robert

    @Cliff And almost nowhere else – Hochdeutsch is only some kind of dialect as well! 😉
    The neat pillar is a war memorial, dedicated to the 40.000 men of Hamburg that lost their lives in WW I.
    I’ve been to Hamburg a couple of years ago (we actually had a hotel at the back of the Reeperbahn) and I really liked the harbour cruise. What I missed though was the Speicherstadt, and especially the Miniatur Wunderland which is a 15000 square feet model railroad with 8 miles of rails (and a very big number of detailed scenery).


  4. King of looks like a tomb of the unknown soldier-esq thing “4000 sons of the state Hessen lie here for you” – anyway, I really enjoyed Hamburg. We rented a canoe on the river and did a fun pub crawl and ate some ice cream on the harbor.


  5. Mein Mann sit vom Hamboig. I get schooled if I don’t say it right in front of the family. It is a marvelous city. The Hafen makes me feel at home when I miss Seattle. Next time see The Lion King there and make sure you get floor seats, not balcony.

    Also walk through the Elbe tunnel, cross the street at Landrungsbruken and explore little Portugal. The seafood is amazing.

    My husband struggles with the dialect here in Swabia. He feels relieved when he gets up north where he can even understand old ladies and teenage girls. Moin moin, no Gruss Gott.


  6. Robert

    “40.000 sons of the city left their lives for you (40.000 Söhne der Stadt liessen ihr Leben für euch)
    1914 – 1918”
    It’s a war memorial which you can find in almost any city, town and village in Germany.


  7. Michael Z

    The McDonald’s on the Reeperbahn *is* rather quiet during the daytime, but you should see it at night. Same goes for the Reeperbahn as a whole, come to think of it. Or so I’m told, obviously.

    Anyhow, next time you’re in Hamburg I recommend a visit to the St. Georg district near the Hauptbahnhof, with the Lange Reihe – where I lived for about eight years – and the Alster (especially the Outer Alster, the big “lake” which is actually a river which just happens to develop a rather big “tummy” once it reaches the centre of town); as well as Eppendorf, a nice and rather posh district with some very lovely cafes north of the Aussenalster. I miss Hamburg a lot, it’s still my favourite city in Germany (next to Frankfurt).


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