Day 17 – Thu 22 Apr 2010 – In and around Hamburg

Hamburg’s central square

I’m starting to change my mind about Hamburg. It shopping district is very cool indeed. Bought some Pierre Cardin jeans at Karstadt, a department store similar to David Jones. However, it had a much better selection than I’ve seen anywhere in Australia. I had no trouble finding jeans in lots of styles in my exact size. In Oz I always have to get them taken up. The greats selection might help explain why most Germans are smart dressers.

The Hochbahn tracks about to descend under the CBD from the waterfront

The waterfront area and a Hochbahn train

The port of Hamburg

The vehicle elevators that lead to the old cross river tunnel

Explored along the waterfront. An interesting place. Very busy and it’s all functional, with nothing being done in the name of tourism apart from some cruise boats. Also explored well out into the suburbs. Caught the U3 which describes a full circle from the city to about 10 km out into the suburbs. Very pleasant suburbs, high density mostly 5 to 6 stories, but with lots of shops, and lots of parks and playgrounds. It’s a model of pleasant high density living. As elsewhere in Germany there is also no sense of fear and it is a happy place.

The winding tracks of the very functional Hochbahn system

One of the port’s fireboats

A thank you from the Vietnamese people

Hamburg is Venice or Amsterdam like in places
For all that Hamburg is certainly lived in. Nothing is flash, but it has lots of downright pleasant functional residential development. It’s clear to me why there is little traffic congestion; the public transport system is just so damn good. But two mysteries remain: why are German dogs so obedient and why are German pigeons so stupid. The latter readily and almost frequently bump into people. I’ve never seen an Oz pigeon do that.

Streets just up from the St Georg area

A playground in one of the little parks. The timber building beyond it to the right is a coffee house. During the day all the mums bring their kids along and have a brew and a chat while they watch them play from its high balcony – What a cool idea!
It’s my last evening in Hamburg and the city continues to intrigue and baffle me. Just went for a walk to the north the hotel and then across to the Alster lakes. Within two or three blocks, the seediness of St Georg changes to really nice suburbs. Along the banks of the lakes is a beautiful path / bikeway with heaps of people out walking, running and cycling. About 30 boats are out sailing and a group of about eight kayakers are frolicking about on the water chasing a soccer ball bobbing up and down on the water. This would be a great place to live.

The path along the Alster lakes

Looking across the Alster lakes

Hamburg’s idea of peak hour

I made my way around back to the Hauptbahnhof and its feral time again. There’s a soccer match on apparently and heaps of soccer fans are setting off to it. There’s a large Police presence nearby, with all of them carrying riot gear attached to their belts. I figure an English team must be playing.

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