In my blog this week, I’ve written about the lovely weekend I spent with my mum in Hamburg. We both had such a wonderful time that was packed full of great things.
I love Hamburg, and I’m lucky enough to have a good friend living there – giving me the perfect excuse to visit more often. An added bonus is that Hamburg is close to the North Sea – somewhere I spend a great deal of my time.
Let me take you on a city break to one of Germany’s most elegant cities.
Celebrating the pre-holiday excitement
Tina Turner – something to look forward to
My mum and I love Tina Turner. For her birthday, I decided to surprise her with tickets for the Tina Turner musical in Hamburg. The reviews were amazing, so I booked the tickets back in November last year, which meant we had six months to get really excited about it.
Singing in the rain
Hamburg isn’t that different to London – weather-wise!
I left Stansted on a cold, rainy morning, and landed in Hamburg with the same miserable weather! Sadly, the weather is something we can’t book online, but I never allow it to dampen my mood or spoil the fun.
I arrived in Hamburg on time and took the S1 train into the city centre. I do like to use public transport as much as possible when I’m visiting different cities – although I don’t like using the ticket machines in Germany as they can be quite confusing. However, this time, it was straightforward and the train map was easy to follow. The price of a day ticket was 6.50€.
We stayed at the 4-star Mövenpick hotel, located in the lovely Schanzenpark. It was easy to get there by public transport, so I’d definitely book your accommodation on a good tube line to save on taxi fares.
I took a moment to write a card
Having arrived at the hotel looking like a drowned rat, I decided to treat myself to a cappuccino in the hotel’s restaurant and write a Mother’s Day card for my mum. In Germany, Mother’s Day falls in May, so it gave me the chance to spend quality time with my mum this year rather than just sending her a card from the UK.
The Altes Mädchen brewery and Fischereihafen restaurant – two great places to go
We both loved our hotel room; with its modern bathroom and impressive views from the 10th floor over Schanzenpark. After unpacking, we headed across the road to the Altes Mädchen brewery for a light lunch. With its spacious, relaxed atmosphere and nice beer garden, it serves a variety of light lunches, including burgers, salads and soup. We had a jacket potato with spinach and feta cheese – ideal for lunch.
Afterwards, we travelled across the city to the Winterhude district to have coffee and cake at a friend’s place. Winterhude is one of the most expensive areas to live in Hamburg, and has some beautiful historical buildings, art nouveau villas and a pretty village-like centre. Being located close to Hamburg’s city centre, it makes living there quite expensive.
The evening took us to the Fischereihafen restaurant, which is situated overlooking the Elbe River. As the sun came out, we were treated to some amazing views over the river. Diners were constantly jumping up to take pictures of the big AIDA cruise liners that were passing by, as well as the many sailing and motor boats.
The food was divine. We chose the spicy tuna tartare on an avocado mousse; followed by turbot with white asparagus and a bottle of Lugana white wine. I can highly recommend this place if you enjoy fine dining in a well-established, upmarket restaurant – particularly during the Hamburg harbour festival. The walls of this exquisite restaurant were even adorned with framed photographs of famous celebrities. I’d definitely go again.
Harbour anniversary festival
On the Saturday, we woke up to bright sunshine and a comfortable 17C. The U3 tube took us to Landing Bridge station (Landungsbrücken), which is a great spot for taking in the atmosphere of the harbour festival. The river was awash with large ships, and visitors even got the chance to have a look around some of them.
If you have time on your hands, you can book a trip on one of the traditional sailing boats. There were plenty of stalls selling food and drink, as well as live music performances on the NDR TV channel stage. You could really see how much everyone was taking in the atmosphere.
I had never done a harbour boat trip in Hamburg before, so now was the perfect opportunity to do one. The tour takes around an hour, and you get to see and learn a lot about Europe’s third largest container port. Although it might sound a bit touristy, I can highly recommend trying out such a tour as you’ll get a true picture of just how big this port is.
After the tour, we had lunch at the trendy Del Mar beach club, where we were able to absorb the beautiful scenery while drinking our favourite celebratory drink – an Aperol Spritz! Cheers!
Tina Turner musical
Simply the best
In the evening, we made our way towards the Stage Operettenhaus theatre, where the Tina Turner musical has been showing since March 2019. It’s a lovely theatre, close to the popular Reeperbahn. The show was amazing. The fantastic actors, choreography, stage design and music were – in Tina’s words – simply the best! I didn’t realise just how difficult and sad Tina Turner’s early years had been until she finally gained success with her singing career. The way she always believed in herself and never gave up is a mark of a very strong woman. I left the show feeling very emotional, and I’m definitely considering seeing the show again – maybe in London next time.
Being a tourist and loving it
Hop-on hop-off bus tours are a great way to get an overview of the city
Sunday was another sunny day, and we wanted to go back to the harbour festival. The morning is less crowded, so we were able to walk comfortably along the promenade and the banks of the river.
We also wanted to take the opportunity to see more of Hamburg, and decided on doing a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city. I know it’s a very touristy thing to do, but I believe it’s an ideal way of getting a good overview of the city. You can always hop off at any point if you fancy spending some time in a certain area. The yellow bus tour is operated by Stadtrundfahrt Hamburg and took three hours to complete. This included a stop at Michaelis Church and Krameramtsstuben. It’s worth visiting the church, which was rebuilt in 1906. Michael’s Church (known as Michel by the locals) is very bright inside with lots of white and gold paintings.
The Kramer widow apartment museum (Krameramtsstuben) is just around the corner from Michael’s Church, in Krayenkamp, in the Neustadt district. These small apartments used to be home to the widows of some of Hamburg’s merchants and grocers in the 17th Century.
The tour took us past many of Hamburg’s famous landmarks, like the town hall, the Jungfernstieg Alster Lake, the Docklands (Speicherstadt); Neustadt, the St Pauli and Reeperbahn districts with their many quirky bars, the harbour city (Hafencity), the elegant Uhlenforst area with its huge mansions and lovely gardens. The Atlantic Kempinski hotel was another highlight of the tour, which was the setting for the James Bond film ‘Tomorrow never dies’.
The tour really shows how diverse the city is, and there is still so much more to be discovered. My list is long! 😊
Finally, a funny story
The downside of social media
After spending a fabulous weekend away with my mum, I was keen to get home to my family and post my photos and messages on my social media accounts.
I had been waiting at the scheduled boarding gate when Ryanair announced that the gate had changed. Boarding hadn’t started yet, so I took the opportunity to sit and relax and wait for the boarding announcement. I was so engrossed in my Facebook and Instagram accounts that I hadn’t noticed that boarding had started and finished! I rushed to the desk, only to be informed that the gate had closed five minutes earlier. No amount of begging could get me on the flight. So, with my tail between my legs, I headed off to figure out my options.
My husband’s response: “How on earth could you miss the flight when you were at the airport?” After a week of being made fun of, I got the last laugh. The following weekend, my husband was due to fly from London City to Düsseldorf, and hadn’t realised that he’d been waiting at the wrong gate. He’d missed all the announcements, as he’d been fully engrossed in his social media accounts – with headphones on! Needless to say, he missed his flight! I am beginning to think that social media should come with a warning attached!
I’ll let you get on with your (hopefully sunny) Sunday. If you’re flying, don’t get too engrossed on social media – it could be expensive! Has anything like this ever happened to you? Let us know your stories.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this very personal blog about my Hamburg weekend.
I will be creating an itinerary soon for a Hamburg trip. Keep an eye out for my posts on Facebook, or sign up for my weekly newsletter where I can let you know about any new itineraries and events.