Hallo Hamburg

For the past three years I've been in Germany during February for my university's annual 'tour'. In 2014 it was Munich, in 2015 it was Berlin and this year it was Hamburg. I can't quite explain the magic of 'tour' but it's a trip that always bonds the group, creates endless memories and it's even how I got to know my boyfriend. He actually organised the trip this year and I'm lucky that Hamburg isn't too far from where I'm currently living in Germany. Four hours on a free regional train later and I was stepping off at Hamburg Hauptbahnhof with a crammed suitcase, ready for four days of exploring the city. 

After settling into the hostel that Saturday afternoon, we had dinner at a local tapas restaurant with the classic chorizo, Spanish omelette and Mediterranean vegetable dishes. It wasn't a particularly 'German' start to the trip but I've never really been a big fan of traditional German food anyway. Following this it was time for a night out with the group on the famous Reeperbahn clubbing strip. The nightlife in Hamburg is neither cheap nor sophisticated but since there were so many of us we managed to enjoy the night regardless and ignore all the creepy German men in the clubs. The trick is to avoid eye contact and keep on walking. 

The second day was Valentine's Day and I was really lucky to be taken to a posh restaurant on a boat called Restaurant Engel. It was both exciting and terrifying to keep feeling the water moving as the boats passed by but the atmosphere was lovely and the food was exceptional. For my main meal I had wild aurochs which according to Wikipedia is a wild cattle that is long extinct - I'm not sure what to believe! Nevertheless it was fun to try a new dish and I'd definitely recommend it if you're ever in Hamburg.  

On the Monday there was a visit to the Hamburg zoo and of course I was keen to compare it to the Leipzig zoo which I visited before Christmas. The highlights were the polar bears, the penguins and the tiger. I don't know why but I always release my inner five-year-old whenever I go to a zoo and this time was no exception - is this just me? After a few hours of animal spotting we grabbed lunch and headed to the Hamburg U-Boat museum to get an idea of the utterly cramped conditions the men had to put up with. It was so interesting to try something a little more 'boyish' and learn more about this part of German history. On the evening we had dinner at a Turkish restaurant and then went on a bar crawl. There were so many bars to choose from but it proved difficult to find one that didn't have an awkward pole dancer hanging out somewhere. I'm not sure if the Reeperbahn is trying to be a German 'Vegas' but it certainly seemed a popular spot for stag nights and hen do's. 

Sadly Tuesday was the last full day in Hamburg and I'll admit I was a little hungover but we ended up going to the Minatur Wunderland which is a huge exhibition showing small models of just about everything. The photos will never do it justice but it's definitely worth a visit. The lights dim every twenty minutes so you can see the models light up in the dark - truly magical! 

I was really sad to leave Hamburg the following day but it was amazing to meet up with my year abroad friends and my friends from home. Luckily it won't be too long until I see them again and I'm hoping to visit my friend in Dresden in the next few months! If you would like to read more travel posts, I have written about my trips to LeipzigCologne, and The French Riviera. If you would like to read more about what to do in Hamburg, my friend and fellow blogger Becky also wrote a post about the trip.

Have you been on a city break recently?


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