Hamburg(ers) and Frankfurt(ers)

We spent the last leg of our European summer in two of Germany’s ‘tastiest’ cities, Hamburg and Frankfurt.

We arrived to Hamburg via train in the evening. It had been a long day of travel; driving over 300kms in Sweden, followed by a 2.5 hour train ride through Denmark (standing the whole way due to a stupid booking system for seat allocations), and then changing trains for the 3hours down to Hamburg (this time with an allocated comfortable seat), where we changed over to the metro train to reach our airbnb, which thankfully was only a 10 minute walk from the station. We had a private room with a small balcony in a modern apartment (shared with the owner).  With full access to the kitchen, we made our way down to the supermarket (100m from the apartment) before it closed and stocked up on supplies. Kadin could not walk past the super deal on nectarines; a whole 2kg tray for 2€. The food prices were much cheaper, especially after a couple of weeks in Scandinavia.

The first attraction we visited during our stay in Hamburg was of course the Botanical gardens. It was a nice place to walk around and also just north of the city, so a great starting point. The greenhouse was ‘free entry’ (our favourite kind of entry) and it was one of the best ones we’ve ever visited. The highlight was definitely the cactus collection…

Exiting the gates of the gardens, we were quickly immersed into the very European looking streets…

In town we were drawn towards the church steeples. We were surprised when we reached this old church (St. Nicholas’ Church) to find only parts of it remained. On reading the plaques we discovered that it had been destroyed during the war, so the surviving steeple and parts of the wall were left standing…

Of course, we couldn’t visit Hamburg without walking along the river. It truly is a port town… it went on forever. It took us both days to walk along it… the first day we enjoyed the city end and the second day we went further north, where there are even ‘beaches’ for people to pretend they’re not hours away from the ocean. We also enjoyed the scenic ferry along the river (included in our all-day metro pass) …

Walking along the riverfront, we came across the ‘Old Elbe Tunnel.’ This amazing piece of infrastructure was opened in 1911. The tunnel is 24m below the surface and joins pedestrians, cyclists (and motorists during set operation times) to each side of the Elbe. The tunnel is 426m long and the tube is 6m in diameter. On each end there are large lifts that move cars, cyclists and pedestrians up and down to the underground tunnel. There were also stairs, so we used both the stairs and lifts on our return journey under the Elbe…

On the last day in Hamburg we accidentally got off at the wrong station when taking the subway (just one stop early). When we popped up out of the ground, the streets were crazy! There were people everywhere… and we found ourselves in a very happy parade. The dancing crowds pushed us along all the way to the correct station.

We caught the early morning train to Frankfurt. This time we worked out the booking system and paid the extra fee to ensure ourselves a seat on board. We arrived much too early to check-in to our next airbnb, so we stored our luggage in the train station (using the very outdated coin-operated system) and wandered the streets of Frankfurt. The streets directly outside the station were rather undesirable and throughout the city there seemed to be a big litter problem (reflected from a public drinking problem – there seems to be no law against public drinking)…

However, when you looked up, Frankfurt was a rather beautiful city, with a mix of old buildings and shiny new modern buildings (many being banks) …

During our stay, we enjoyed a walk along the river and across ‘Iron Bridge,’ which is laden with love locks…

Once again, we found ourselves climbing to the top of a church steeple. This time, it was the forever spiralling tower of the Frankfurt Cathedral. The 328 narrow stairs (ascending 95 m) did result in a fantastic view across the city…

We enjoyed visiting old town on the Sunday (when most of the shops were closed), there were plenty of carnival type stalls opened for families to enjoy…

Germany offered us a much-needed place to relax and prepare for our upcoming trip to Africa.

We have a very busy itinerary planned over the next three weeks through Africa, and will hopefully have many incredible photos to sort through… be prepared for a small break in the blog updates and then brace yourselves for another long read (think: Sweden size – epic tale).

Have fun at work!

Gemma

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s