Friday, March 14, 2014

Hamburg - I may have to come back here

Having been a bit harsh on German fashion sense, I ought to balance the ledger a little. Fortunately, that isn't too difficult.

I've spent the morning pottering around the city, as only an Englishman can, and a very charming city Hamburg is too. And before anyone reminds me, I gave St Pauli and the Reeperbahn a wide berth, although I very much suspect that it has changed somewhat since its 'glory days'.

The Hauptbahnhof is, as is often the case in big German cities, very imposing and full of retail opportunities, but the walk from there, through the shopping area is very pleasant. I took a slight detour to admire the Binnen Alster, the southern end of the lake which stretches north-east from the city centre, before passing the Rathaus, a very impressive structure.

But my destination was Hafen City, the newly developed dockland area, full of museums, culture and new apartment blocks. The old warehouses, presumably rebuilt after World War II, have been left, mostly for commercial use it seems, with new blocks built between them and the Elbe. It's all a bit like the London Docklands used to be in the early days, a bit desolate and slightly dead, but by putting the new Elbphilharmonie building there, it might well develop into a vibrant neighbourhood.

The weather hasn't been so nice here in Hamburg, which perhaps doesn't help, but I like the contrast between the stylish apartment blocks on one side of the Elbe, and the gritty, industrial port on the other. And with a university campus at one end of Hafen City, and a smattering of interesting restaurants and bars, I think that they've done a better job here than we did in London.

It's an easy city to get around too, with buses, U-bahn, S-bahn and the odd ferry too, and I think Ros might like it. I'd better add it to an increasingly long list then...

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