For some time I wanted to travel to Germany and now seemed to be the moment. In this travel diary, we tell you the main points of our stay in Germany. This trip took place started in the second half of September, when began the Oktoberfest, the beer festival, to which I wanted to goat. My stay was until the end of December, allowing me as much to enjoy the cultural and historical wealth of Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg as its many Christmas markets.
Two months before the date of the trip, it was an odyssey to find hotels that would be good, pretty and cheap. Apparently, the reservations begin at the beginning of the year and by now we could not find anything and what little we found had exorbitant prices.
Day 1 - Hamburg
We flew directly to Hamburg, on the first flight of the morning, with the aim of having breakfast on German soil. Flying over the Alps in clear weather is already a gift for the eyes! At the airport, we took the metro to the central station, next to which was our hotel. It is the most economical we had found on the Internet in the month of August.
After arriving in Hamburg in the afternoon, we are entitled to Schmuddelwetter. There are a strong wind, drizzle and a temperature that reaches just 24 degrees. We start our discovery with a guided tour of the center. The guide presents his city with humor. Without a guide, we would not have thought of wandering around Kontorhaus, the business district.
We visit a classic market with vendors of vegetables, flowers, clothes but no fishmonger. The market is glued to the Elbe river. We have a choice between the tourist ferry and public ferry which follows the same route for much less money. Our choice is on the second and we are not alone. All the tourists seem to have given the word. The boat makes a loop to the northwest, allowing us to admire Hamburg from another point of view. We approach the cranes of the harbor and even observe the beach of Elbstrand. Yes, there are beaches in Hamburg!
We descend to the terminus on the jetties of Landungsbrucken for a stroll along the water. The beach is not particularly beautiful with neighboring cranes but the relaxed seaside atmosphere is there. We motivate ourselves to take a bath and we demotivate with the first wet toe! An unexpected charm emerges from the slow coming and going of freighters on the river. We are ants at the foot of these giants. We take the pretty Ovelgonne pedestrian street that runs along the beach in front of an array of old pretty houses.
In a bus ride, we go to the small town of Blankenese, still further on the right bank of the Elbe. The lower district, near the water, is a former fishing village with the well-chosen name of Treppenviertel, meaning stairway district.
We then visit the old tunnel under the Elbe, built more than a century ago. What is amazing is that vehicles that want to cross take the elevator. It is a very big elevator as you can imagine. Back on the north shore, we walk to the district of St. Pauli.
The difference with the center that is all clean and all perfect is obvious. Here, graffiti covers the walls, weeds line the sidewalks and empty bottles pile up in the corners. We then go to Karolinenviertel, our favorite district. The streets are as roguish as in St. Pauli, but they are more alive and have more charm, with many trees and still as many frescoes on the walls.
Always on foot, we reach the popular Sternschanze district filled with large terraces. It's so nice that all Hamburgers spend their afternoons outside! Precisely, our next destination, the Park Planten un Blomen, is crowded. And it deserves it. After a tour in the Japanese garden, we discover a beautiful lake, surrounded by tufts of plants and wildflowers and, especially, solid wooden chairs.
While in the city center already visited, we savor our chance to have the company of the sun. It is striking how the red brick is depressing in gray weather and cheery in good weather. With such a light, we want to go back for a walk in the warehouse district. We observe the magical power of the sun in action!
The half-height terrace is freely accessible and represents the best place to enjoy the sunset over the city of Hamburg and its harbor. To end this busy day, we visit the Miniatur Wunderland, a fun tour for young and old. A group of crazy model-makers has been hard at work recreating some of the world's cities and regions in miniature. Rome and Hamburg are particularly successful, especially when the artificial night falls (every fifteen minutes) and the buildings are lit up.
Further on, we fall in love with other architectures in brick. Even more impressive are the old port warehouses in the Speicherstadt district. The highlight of the show comes at dusk when the buildings are illuminated. It's worth the detour!