8 January 2019
I packed up my bags and loaded them into the large European car for the drive back to Hamburg with Neele and Ute as my flight back to London took off at 7:00 am on Thursday.
Once we arrived to Hamburg, we checked into our accommodation, found some lunch, and explored the city.
While exploring, we window-shopped and browsed through stores. Eventually, the three of us hopped onto a train to a different area of the city with more restaurants. Ute, Neele, and I ducked into a pub and each had a drink or two – I had a fruity wine concoction, yum! We sat and socialized for a while until we decided to go in search of a place to eat. For dinner, the consensus was to eat some Turkish food, which happened to be a first for me. The food was fantastic and at the end of the meal, the restaurant offered tea in traditional Turkish glasses.
9 January 2019
The day began with purchasing tickets for a tour of Hamburg’s harbor and river. We each grabbed a quick breakfast at a corner bakery, admired the love locks on the bridge, and hopped onto the boat.
For those interested in traveling to Hamburg to take a boat tour, please keep in mind the English tours are only offered during the spring/summer months. If you speak German or have a translator, you will be able to understand everything perfectly well.
Originally, I started out in the interior of the boat for the tour. As Neele pointed out to me, my pictures were simply not going to turn out so she accompanied me outside to sit in the brisk, winter air as we cruised up the river and through the harbor. The numb fingers and frozen tush were worth the photos! Our early tour also allowed us to go up through Hamburg’s river since the tide happened to be going in the correct direction.
During the tour, I had the opportunity to observe amazing architecture, see Hamburg’s skyline from the harbor, and go alongside HUGE carrier ships. I also saw the 14th largest yacht being built as well as a carrier ship undergoing repairs. I learned yellow plastic barriers are placed onto ropes docking the ships to prevent rats from coming aboard. Lovely, right?
After the boat tour, we walked to the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. The building is a new architectural marvel for the city and is a sight to behold from both the outside and inside. In the room where the symphony performs, the ceiling has been hand molded/carved so the room is acoustically perfect.
To get to the upper floors, you hop on an extremely long escalator. It was the longest escalator in the world for a brief period of time before a larger one was built in China. After getting to the next floor and taking a shorter escalator, we arrived at an atrium containing a door to go outside on the terrace surrounding the building, a doorway into the connected hotel, and the gift shop. Neele and I walked outside and snapped a few photos of the skyline before heading back inside and browsing the gift shop. Once we concluded there, Ute, Neele, and I went to the cafe and had a snack/lunch of cake and coffee.
After our snack/lunch, we left the building and walked around the city some more. At the cafe, Ute had asked our waitress if she had any local recommendations. To which she suggested checking out an old church.
Around 3:00 pm, Ute, Neele, and I hopped onto a different boat for another tour of Hamburg. This time, the tour involved looking at the historic/old houses of Hamburg where the wealthy live. These houses when they go up for sale start at $15 million Euros. Additionally, any renovations of the houses must be approved to ensure the historical features are still preserved. All of the houses were absolutely stunning!
Once our tour wrapped up, we stopped by a grocery store and went back to the apartment for an hour before our dinner reservation at 6:00 pm at a nice restaurant. We drank some orange/vodka/fruity drink concoctions and opted for the mystery three-course dinner. The food was delicious!
As we wrapped up dinner, Neele and Ute gifted me a Germany Pandora charm for my bracelet to remember my time with them and our adventures.
We ended up having an early night as I had to be at the airport bright and early.
Germany, you are an amazing country filled with wonderful people, food, history, and architecture. I cannot wait to return.
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