I’m a padbrat and born in Germany and lived in a few different German towns & cities as I grew up. At Christmas I always talk about how Germans does things differently with the nativity windmills, Saint Nikolaus filling our shoes full of sweets at the beginning of December and I always get excited when the Christmas market visits town.
Dan told me to book a few days off work and said we were visiting the Market in Leeds, it was a lovely surprise to end up in Hamburg!
It was freezing cold, with the icy winds coming in from the port – we wrapped up warm and braced ourselves for the cold weather. Hamburg at Christmas has many different Weihnachts markts and it was good to walk around them all.
Originally Dan had booked one of the OA hotels on the Reeperbahn, but quickly changed his mind when I told him it was the red light district of Hamburg. We ended up staying at the Generator, which is a hotel / hostel. I was a little concerned with it being a hostel, however we booked a private room and although it was small, it was warm, clean and had everything we needed. The only downside was that we couldn’t eat or drink in the room. The Generator is located right across from Hamburg train station and is central to most places to visit.
We visited the Rathaus (Townhall) market, as well as a few smaller ones on the way. We stopped warming ourselves with a hot chocolate, Gluhwein and Bratwursts.
I loved seeing the traditional Christmas decorations, it reminded me of Christmas as a child. The Rathaus is grand with a neo-renaissance architectural style outside, with a big clock tower in the centre and lots of statues adorning the building. At night it was very imposing as it’s lit up, giving it a very gothic feel.
My favourite snack on the trip was Pomme Frites with this curry ketchup I used to eat as a child from the local ‘Schnelly’. It brought back memories of sitting with my friend Suzanne on a weekend and going to the Schnelly as a treat.
During the first evening we walked along the river, close to the maritime museum, again another imposing building as we walked past. It was like something from a horror movie, yet so beautiful. It was a lovely walk through the City, absorbing the Christmassy feeling.
To fight off the cold we occasionally walked through the shopping centres or picked up a coffee at Ballzac Coffee and also popped into Mcdonalds once or twice as the menu is different to the british one – with their bratwurst burgers and free chocolate with meals! The main city walk is gorgeous, overlooking the water and the Christmas lights made it even better. There are lots of designer shops and plenty of places to sit.
As I woke up the next morning and opened the curtains, I could see the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe looking right at me with a great big sign on the building ….”Game Masters”. We just had to go!
We spent the morning walking around the museum, it had a lot of Grecian and Roman art work, a beautiful fashion and textiles section and lots of very old musical instruments as well as lots of modern day artworks. It’s my favourite museum.
The Game Masters exhibit was great! It showed the history of gaming with over 200 different consoles to play on. It was fun to play Super Mario on NES and there were plenty of old Arcade machines to take our pick of! There was artwork from well known gaming companies such as Blizzard and also an indie games section which really peaked our interest! We talked to a nice person showing off the VR headsets and even got to play with a prototype game.
At the same time there was also a really interesting fashion exhibit, featuring the history of sportswear – it’s crazy to think that women wore corsets to for gymnastics!
That afternoon we’d missed the English tour of the Chocolate factory so went to the Miniatur Wunderland, next door to Hamburg Dungeons. It was amazing to see how realistic the miniature buildings were and the level of detail that goes into each scene. Train tracks were set up, cars moved, there was a space ship and a replica of Hamburg airport. It took us around the globe, seeing Rome again in miniature form.
We took a trip to St. Pauli and through the Planten und Blumen park and walked through the Reeperbahn. There was even a Christmas market for the red-light district… We walked down to the port, where it was colder and windier, but good to see the ships and architecture.
If my trip would have been longer I would have liked to try out the Chocolate factory and also visit Hamburg Zoo – I’ll put that on the list for next time!