So you already know about the red light district.
But the rest of Hamburg, Germany was awesome too.
Like Russia, a good amount of the city was in walking distance of the ship. And even if it wasn’t, the public transportation there was top notch. I don’t know what it is about it that makes it so much better, maybe the accessibility, but it was great. And this is coming from someone who has literally taken the train probably about 6 times at home.
I had to take a train and a bus to get to Neuengamme concentration camp. This was one of things that I just felt like I had to do in Germany. We all learn so much about WWII in school but it’s a different experience when you’re actually on the grounds of a subject you learned so much about. It was humbling and heavy to say the least. But I’m glad I did it. I would have felt disappointed in myself if I left Germany and didn’t do anything like that.
There was also a church – St. Nicholas – which was a memorial and museum dedicated to the air raids of WWII. Hamburg was hit hard with air raids and the spire of the Church of St. Nicholas was one of the highest points in Hamburg at the time, so the Allied Air Forces used it as a an orientation marker. Surprisingly, the spire of church didn’t get destroyed, so the one that is standing today is from 1874. There was an elevator that took you to the top of the spire to get a panoramic view of Hamburg. There was also a crypt that served as a museum that focused on the history of the church, so the majority was about the air raids in WWII. This was by far the craziest thing I saw there:
The other parts of Germany were not as melancholy, I promise.
Miniatur Wunderland was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Now stay with me. It’s the largest model train attraction in the world. It had mini replicas of different countries and cities from around the world, including the USA – which was kinda just Vegas and a few other random things. And the lights were on a 15 minute cycle that went from sunset to sunrise. There were tons of trains, and cars, and an airport. An airport. Like where planes actually took off and landed. The cars had turn signals and stopped at traffic lights. It was awesome. Google it or something, because I guarantee it’s cooler than whatever you all are thinking right now.
The last morning we were there a group of us got up at 6 a.m. and went to the fish market, which is a huge thing to do in Hamburg. It’s only open on Sunday’s from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and it gets crowded. It’s basically just a huge outdoor market with vendors selling food and clothes and jewelry and specialty items. And of course fish, since it’s pretty much right on the river. Anyway, if there was one thing to do to get a taste of German culture, this was it; I felt like a local.
Food: great! My friends and I went to a restaurant a little outside of Hamburg, so we left the touristy area (and prices) and I had some bangin’ schnitzel. It came with a baked potato with sour cream and a salad and everything was soooo delicious. I literally crave it now.
Overall: a great follow-up to Russia. Definitely a lot more comfortable and welcoming than Russia too. A large part of the city was kind of like a shopping district, so it was a bunch of cobblestone roads with cafes and shops and restaurants. The center point of all this was a lake that sail boats could go out on, which was just beautiful. But the places that weren’t so touristy were in short reach as well. It also made me notice that there were no homeless people in Russia, which was weird after I thought about it.
Also, all the taxis were Mercedes. Let that one sink in for a minute.
Days till I return: 76