HAMBURG, GERMANY — “Why would we want to go to Hamburg?” asked Molly. “Isn’t it just like Munich?”
Not even close.
The language might be one the only things that these two amazingly different cities might have in common — and even that is a tenuous similarity.
We rolled up to the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof at around 9pm on a Saturday night with two days to explore this hip, weird, beautiful port city. After a long train ride from Bavaria, we were starving. Compared to Munich, Hamburg has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to cuisine. Asian, Middle Eastern, African, South American, take your pick. We wandered into a Anatolian joint in the heart of the Sternschanze — just opening the door transported you right back to Istanbul. We feasted on a grilled platter of beef, chicken, lamb and squab. First stop, first meal and it was already so far beyond what we could find in our Bavarian home.
Bellies full, we explored the wacky weird bars of the ‘schanze with locals Nora and Daniel, an eerie glow emanating wherever we went from the direction of the wharf.
The next day it was our chance to explore those never-sleeping waterways, chugging up the Elbe ports on a rainy Sunday. After watching 100 ton steamers sliding in and out of the port, we warmed up with spiked punch and fresh Fischbroetchen at Bruecke 10 on the docks.
The sun finally breaking, we walked through the red bricks of the Speicherstadt and then up north to the Alsterpark. Damp and weary, we thanked Nora for the sight seeing tour and chased down Mr. Cherng’s — a local Asian buffet that seriously outdoes it’s name, serving up amazing sushi, Chinese and Mongolian BBQ in the heart of downtown Hamburg.
A 7am train came too early, but the weekend was already a success. Seeing another true city open up Molly to the differences that Germany can provide. Bier and lederhosen turns to ferry rides and fresh fish just a few hours north. And, for a weekend at least, we were back in big city life once again.