9 July – Hamburg

Today was our final ride on the bikes – into the center of Hamburg.
Now we can say that we rode all the way from Rome to Hamburg.
Hamburg center is about 30km from Stella.

We spent a very full day sight seeing around the city – with Andreas and Silvia as our tour guides. Our total distance for the day was 61km – we jumped on a train for part of the journey home. We were relatively unaffected by the G20 protests of the previous two days – it was quiet and peaceful in the city. We only saw some graffiti and smashed windows along one or two streets.

On our way into the city, we rode through Wilhelmsburg, the site of the 2013 International Building Exhibition. There is still a lot of building development in the area – using the impetus from the exhibition to uplift the previously low socio economic area. There are a number of very interesting futuristic buildings created for the exhibition. The most notable was perhaps this Algae house, which generate energy by growing algae in algae filled panels on the outside of the building.

Algae building

Our next stop was at this beer garden alongside a canal, where we sampled some locally brewed beer. There was a great Sunday morning atmosphere with people relaxing and enjoying the sunny weather.

People were out for Sunday morning paddles on kayaks alongside the beer garden

Sampling the local brew

We had some discussions on German grammar in this beer garden. Silvia shared this German grammar curiosity (for those who are interested in the language). The two sentences are almost identical but differences in capitalisation and an extra letter change the meaning radically.

Der Brauermeister Heidenreich ist Bräutigam und braut zugleich

Der kannibale Heidenreich isst Bräutigam und Braut zugleich

We had to change our planned route into the city as the old Elbe tunnel was closed due to the G20 protesters. Our new route took us across this bridge, with the city in the distance (you can see the church towers and Elbe Philharmonic Hall).

I was interested in the temporary accommodation that was created for refugees on the outskirts. It consists of shipping containers stacked on top of each other. I’m not sure how warm this would be in the north German winter or if it is too warm in summer …

We were impressed with the size of industrial and building activity in Hamburg. This is an area under development not far from the Speicherstadt.

The first tourist area we came to was the Speicherstadt – the historic “warehouse city”. The warehouses all front onto canals. Newer buildings have been carefully designed to fit in with the historical red brick facades.

Ship turbine on display in Speicherstadt

Speicherstadt view

A highlight of our Hamburg visit was the Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall) – which officially opened on 11 January 2017, and cost an estimated €789 million to construct. This is where Angela Merkel hosted the G20 leaders dinner. Here is a view of the hall from one of the canals that criss cross this part of the city.

Canal view with Elbphilharmonie in distance

You can get onto the viewing balcony that stretches around the hall for free – you just need to register for a ticket so they can control numbers. You get to the balcony area by riding up a very long escalator – the longest that we have ever been on. The city views are wonderful from up there – there is a lot of activity on the river – tourist and commercial ships. The view takes in ports and container harbors in the near distance and the Airbus factory farther away.

Andreas and Silvia at Elbphilharmonie

Another view from Elbphilharmonie, St. Pauli Landungsbrücken (piers) and entrance to Elb Tunnel

We went to the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken – another Hamburg tourist attraction. We drank an Astra – Hamburg’s most common beer – here.

Jenny with Astra

Astra – “I want six” – the German Six Pack

Elbe view from pier

From here we visited the Reeperbahn – Hamburg’s night life district. It was all quiet on a Sunday afternoon – just a few alternative looking characters walking around.

We also saw the Bismark monument, the famous St Michaelis church (one of the highest towers on the skyline) and impressive town hall.

Bismark monument – graffiti is a problem here!

Statue over St Michaelis church entrance

We rode past a number of beautiful lakes on parks on the way out of Hamburg.

Lake view, fountain and church towers on city skyline beyond

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