Hamburg Monday morning
Every morning as we’ve left the hotel, I’ve admired the Christmas decorations. All variations on a theme of straw stars, twigs, huge fur/wool snowballs and small lime green baubles, this one in particular hits the spot for me. Sadly, this is possibly the last day we’ll see it, for I expect all signs of Christmas will disappear very soon.
It was a very different crowd on the street this morning, the first day back to work for many and unfortunately, it was a grey morning lacking any of yesterday’s sunshine.
We were heading for the station again, this time to catch the S-bahn to Altona, where our guide book promised an interesting walk.
Unfortunately, first impressions didn’t suggest much, though we understood that Altona used to rival Hamburg as a fishing port. This morning, it simply felt like a pretty ordinary suburb.
We set off optimistically, following the route as set out and soon found ourselves in a small garden with this monstrosity of a fountain. Two centaurs fight with one another over a fish – they represent the two cities, of course.
Apparently in summer, water spouts from the fish and from several places elsewhere but for now, we were happy to let this one go and to move right along to the next attraction.
Dear old Kaiser Wilhelm 1 stands placidly in front of the Town Hall, flanked by all manner of figures representing business and culture of the area.
Then just to one side, on the edge of the park stands Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who appears strangely small in stature here.
Did we come all the way for three statues, then? For a while, it seemed so, but following the pathway a little further we found ourselves within sight of the Elbe again, so of course, we continued.
The waterfront here is referred to as the Altona Balkon – the Balcony – since it overlooks the river and all the passing traffic. Homes along this stretch of the riverbank/coastline fetch high prices and this particular part of Altona is the place to reside, it seems.
I rather liked the fishermen standing with their oars aloft, even if they did look like bats!
Having absorbed the atmosphere of the riverside pathway, we chose to follow it back towards the city, to St Pauli. It was a fine morning and the signpost suggested it wasn’t much more than 1km to walk.
Soon we found ourselves heading back towards the Fischmarkt, where we had been so very early yesterday morning (was it really only yesterday!?) We noticed a large ship over there in the dry dock too – had that been there before? We hadn’t spotted it, if it had.
Actually, the Fischmarkt Auction Hall looked rather nicer this morning, in the daylight and we were pleased to see where we’d been in the dark!
For now though, we were spotting other landmarks, such as the Elbphilharmonie there in the mist behind the …oh, isn’t that a U-boot? How easily overlooked it was
In no time, we were back at the Landungsbrucken, where we sat down with coffee and the guidebook to plan our next activity.
Harbour ferry number 62 would take us on much the same route as the pricey harbour tour ships, and since our Hamburg card gave us free travel on the ferries, it seemed like a no brainer. Having finished our drinks, we made our way to jetty 3.
A #62 was waiting, more or less ready to leave, so we hopped on board and took our seats. We’d worried that a harbour cruise might not be a comfy option on such a chilly morning but oh my goodness, we needn’t have worried. The whole cabin was superheated to sauna level!
We passed several candidates for my Tugs of the World Flickr group, and quite a few smart riverside apartments. Easy to see why this would be a desirable place to live.
The whole journey was punctuated with interesting sights – an icebreaker ship here, in a collection of old ships available to visit. We were far too comfy to get off the ferry though, so sat tight and stayed on board all the way there and all the way back again!
We sailed close enough to the Blohm und Voss drydock to spot the Cunard Queen Victoria undergoing some repairs and refurbishment, too. But then it was time to leave our warm and cosy haven and venture out onto the U bahn again and back into town where we planned a little shopping.
We’ve found Hamburg to be a very walkable city and the shopping areas are interesting and rather attractive. I was in search of the OSKA store, which was not so far from here in a smart shopping street.
My hero is good at spotting such things, thank goodness, or else I’d have missed it completely, having been distracted by all the grey things for sale in this shop on the corner.
Shopping complete, then, the only challenge remaining was to identify where to eat dinner tonight. Once again, my hero rose to the challenge, finding Das Dorf where we have just enjoyed one of the most memorable meals in a really atmospheric building.
The end of another marvellous day here – and the boy’s birthday to look forward to tomorrow. Oh yes, thirty years ago this evening we were at home in Avening, taking down the Christmas tree when…you can guess the rest!