Hamburg as a local tourist: A guide

For my studies and an internship afterwards, I spent 5 years in one of Germany’s harbour cities: Hamburg.
When people go to Germany, they mainly visit Berlin and Munich, because party capital/history and Oktoberfest. Not many find their way up to Hamburg, but if they do, they all fall in love. Mainly because it’s just a great mixture of Munich’s beautifulness and Berlin’s coolness.

But what should you not miss when you are there?

  • The Harbour. It’s the biggest in Germany and the third biggest in Europe and has such a special vibe to it you can’t really explain to anyone. To the left, you find the finally finished Elbphilharmonie, an opera house, that also includes a restaurant, a hotel, apartments and a car park; across the river you can find the homes of a few different musicals; and to the right, there’s the famous Fish Market, a place tourists love to visit Sunday Mornings from 4:30am on, while the youth of Hamburg goes there to enjoy the last beer or a “Fischsemmel” after a night out at Reeperbahn. So no matter where you go, there’s something going on.
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Hamburg Harbour by author

  • Reeperbahn. This is a place you definitely have to visit at night, when all the lights and all the people make it one of the busiest places in Hamburg. There’s a street called Herbertsstraße, where only men are allowed to walk through, because it is full of display windows for women. So girls, be careful, you can actually get hurt when walking through there!
    Other than that, Reeperbahn has a vibrant nightlife. Go check out Rosi’s Bar at Hamburger Berg, for example, it’s one of the oldest bars around there.
  • Sternschanze. It’s one of the “cool areas” of Hamburg and home of many bars, cafés and restaurants. And some of Hamburg’s coolest streetart can be found between here, Reeperbahn and Altona. Check out Katze, a bar where you can drink Caipirinhas for €3,50 around Happy Hour!
  • Alster and around. This is definitely the beautiful part of Hamburg. It’s the city centre, where the town hall is located on the one side and the Alster (the inner and outer part) on the other one. You can just relax and watch the water for hours, you can hire a boat and go around there and the canals or you can go shopping up Mönckebergstraße or down to the Gänsemarkt. So many things to do.

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And now on to my second favourite thing when traveling: Food. Where to eat in Hamburg?

  • Was wir wirklich lieben – they offer great, healthy options, especially for breakfast.
  • Pauline – vegan food options in Hamburg!
  • Café May – There are a few around Hamburg and they offer a breakfast buffet for around €5 while having cozy couches to lounge in.
  • Slim Jims – Pizza with toppings of your choice.
  • Hatari – A bit of southern German food up in the north.
  • Herr Max – CAKE.
  • Joe and the Juice – hot guys and healthy juices.
  • Trattoria Remo’s – a great authentic Italian in the middle of Sternschanze.

These are just a small selection of restaurants. I haven’t really been eating out there in a while, so it’s what I remember and loved, but trust me, there are new restaurants popping up every week, so you won’t have troubles finding a good one, no matter where you go!

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Hamburg’s town hall by author

What else do you need to know?

  • There’s a public transportation boat going along the Elbe all the way to Elbstrand (Hamburg’s cute little beach), so save some money on a tourist boat and take this instead: You might not hear about all the history but you definitely see the same things.
  • The U3 (subway) is a similar thing. It does go under ground a bit but most of the time you can see great things from up there.
  • Hamburg’s pretty rainy and windy. I always enjoyed it, but you have to be aware that no matter when you are going, you might be facing some rain. So pack the right clothes and you’ll be fine 🙂
  • You might find a few prostitutes around Reeperbahn. It’s legal there, so don’t be shocked.
  • If you have more time around Hamburg then just a weekend, try to stroll around Eppendorf, Eimsbüttel, Altona or Winterhude and check out those beautiful neighbourhoods with all their cafés and little boutiques. So much to see!

 

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The ultimate packing list: Festival edition

I’ve been to quite a few festivals now (this year is my 8th time at Southside Festival in Germany) and I’ve learned a lot about packing the right things and not too much for it. That’s why I thought I’d share my tips with you.

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Dawn of the dead on the last day of the festival


Food

Clearly, eating is very important, especially when you drink a lot like you usually do at a festival. That’s why planning this part is vital. But what do you really need?
At my first festival we bought a lot of food containers like Ravioli, Chili con Carne and other unnecessary stuff. Throughout the years, we realised that you don’t really need to bring much. So here’s what I always buy: Bread, cream cheese, fruits&vegetables (apples, carrots, …) and a few nuts. Usually you spend most of your day at the festival ground and walking back just to cook and eat your container ravioli is a waste of time for me. Sure, it’s a question of money as well, but I think hearing all the live music is worth it.


Clothes

Especially when going to festivals in Germany you can never know what to expect with the weather? Will it be crazy rain and cold? Or will it be the sunniest weekend yet? And even if the weather forecast predicts sun all weekend, it can still get cold at night and muddy around the festival ground. That’s why my luggage always contains the following:
Gumboots
Overknee socks 
(They are perfect to put on with your shorts when it gets cold at night)
A rain jacket or wind breaker
Shorts
T-Shirts
A warm jumper and sweatpants (for the evenings and sleeping)


Toiletries

Clearly another given. But what do you really need? I always bring facial wipes (I know that they are not very good for the environment but they are just so practical), mascara if I feel like I really need it, shower gel and shampoo and hand sanatizer (!!!). Other than that you don’t really need much else (except if you have contact lenses like I do). But if the weather is good, don’t forget to pack sun screen as well, a painful sunburn is the last thing you need at a festival!
And don’t forget toilet paper. It’s not only good when using one of the portable toilets another time than early on the first day but it also serves your Karma points well. Ever stood in front of a toilet, handing out toilet paper? People will love you.

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Me and a portable toilet on a Sunday. Wonderful.

Camping Gear/Practical things

Well, a tent and a sleeping bag are obvious but what else do you need? Definitely bring some camping chairs, because if it rains just a little bit, you don’t really want to sit on the floor anymore. And another thing important, to either be a shelter from rain but also from sun: a pavilion. You can get them at any construction market and they are cheap enough (if you are a bigger group) to just leave it there in the end. Make sure to fix it with lots of tape (the strong silver one to be exact), so it won’t break with people tripping over it or the wind trying to blow it up.
As a bag, try to bring a fanny pack, since that way you have your hands free to party like a rockstar and it’s not as easy to get robbed or anything.
You never know who you are going to camp next to and how there endurance looks like, so if you want to get a little bit of sleep at night, don’t forget earplugs.


Fun things

Because I always lose things, I decided to not bring anything too valuable to a festival anymore (except for my phone because let’s face it, you’d literally be lost at a festival without one), so I started buying disposable cameras to bring. They are usually around €10 and take up to 30 photos so perfect for a festival day.
We also always (try to) bring a ball to play Flunkyball, a drinking game that’s apparently not known in many other countries, and if you want to listen to music before the actual festival acts start, bring some speakers with you. If your festival actually offers a festival radio (Southside does, for example) you can also bring a radio to be up to date on any changes and listen to all the great bands you are going to see or have seen live that weekend.
Also, a water gun always brings lots of fun and definitely refreshment if the weather’s too hot to handle!

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Flunky Ball

I hope this helps you to have the best festival weekend ever!

If you want to read more about my festival experiences so far, click here and here and look out for some upcoming posts.

The Power of Color – Streetart around the world Part IV: Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg is one of my favourite cities, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve lived there for 5 years.
What I truly love about the city is, how diverse it is. It has very beautiful parts, that might even seem a little too clean and perfect and then you just take a train for a few stations and you find yourself in a pool of creativity and edginess. Needless to say that there’s tons of streetart around, and while I was there the last time, I snapped some of the coolest things I’ve seen there.

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While I was walking around the city taking photos of the art around, I saw a guided tour which seemed like a street art tour. So I researched a bit and found one that’s called Alternative Hamburg (similar to the one I took in London last year), so go check it out if you are interested in that!

Happy World Ocean Day: My favourite ocean photos from around the World

It’s World Ocean Day. Therefore I decided to move my usual Photo Friday up to Thursday to show you my absolute favourite ocean photos I took throughout my trips. Here you go. I hope flicking through them won’t give you as much Fernweh as it gave me.

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Essaouira, Morocco

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Essaouira, Morocco

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Capri, Italy

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Koh Panghan, Thailand

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Sydney, Australia

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Bali, Indonesia

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South Island, New Zealand

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Sydney, Australia

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Camp Cove, Australia

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Lord Howe Island, Australia

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Halong Bay, Vietnam

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Santa Barbara, USA

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Manly, Australia

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Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

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Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia