DID HAMBURGERS ORIGINATE IN HAMBURG?
I'll start off by addressing something that I'm pretty sure has come across your mind when you think of Hamburg: is that where hamburgers were invented?
The answer is yes.. and no.
First thing: a person from Hamburg is in fact.. called.. a Hamburger! I know.. I laughed too..
The sandwich itself was not invented in Hamburg, but during the 19th century there came to be something called the 'Hamburg Steak', which was when beef from Hamburg cows was minced and combined with salt and onions, then formed into patties. It was usually served raw or lightly cooked, without any bread or buns.
The Hamburg Steak became a popular item in restaurants at the port of New York, brought there by German emigrants. Its evolution into a sandwich started here, although it is less clear and its exact origins possibly controversial.
I always thought it was a joke that hamburgers came from Hamburg, but now I know there is some truth in it!
WHAT IS HAMBURG?
Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany! Did you know that? I always thought that Munich was bigger... which, as it turns out, is something Hamburgers hate to hear. 😮
Since I'm always honest, I'll say that I had a pretty bland picture of Hamburg before I visited. I imagined it to be quite grey and dull, and always cold.
I'm pretty sure I just got lucky, but during my long weekend there the sun shone bright and warm every day.
Hamburg is also one of the greenest cities in Europe, with about 14% of its area made up of green spaces. So I did see a lot of greenery while I was there (last week) - it's great to travel in summer. Try to visit in summer if you can!
This is a shocker (to me at least): Hamburg has over 2300 bridges! That's more than any other city in the world.
Last fun fact: Montblanc pens were born in Hamburg! I assumed they were French :p
MS DOCKVILLE 2018
*Photo by Bobo & Chichi
The main item on the agenda was to attend MS Dockville music festival. We went on the Friday and Saturday.
I was really excited to find out that Megan and Scott (hyperlapse experts who blog at Bobo & Chichi) were on the same trip and would be coming to the festival as well! I had been wanting to meet them forever.
And for good reason, too - they were totally on the same kooky planet as I was. We silly-danced and laughed a LOT!
*Megan and me! Thanks Bobo & Chichi for pics
My fun pink playsuit is by Humphries & Begg.
The festival grounds were not huge; there were two large stages including the main stage, and a handful of smaller ones.
Fancy dress wasn't really a theme, so I was a little bummed about that but because I had such good company, I had a fun time overall.
The only act I recognised (and that I saw) was Bonobo; but that's because I'm not too familiar with popular artists these days (my taste in music is too quirky).
Food and toilets were average, with the the usual long lines you'd expect for such an event. The festival site had a kind of industrial feel to it. It was packed and clearly a popular event with the locals.
There were a few art installations and even light shows/light projections on buildings on the other side of the river.. the latter of which we sadly missed (but saw photos after the festival was over).
My favourite was (of course) the rainbow tunnel and a kind of tower of colourful blocks.
I brought a few packets of glitter gel by Projekt Glitter and they went down a treat!
I travel with glitter all the time now. It's such an easy way add some literal sparkle into your day.
If only sparkle came with extra energy, because by the middle of the second night, we were all so exhausted that we decided to go home before one of the headliners (Alt-J?) came on.
It had been a longgggg day - we'd overexerted ourselves by having gone canoeing that morning.
CANOEING IN WINTERHUDE
I LOOOOVE festivals but in Hamburg, the canoeing activity was my favourite thing that we did, and a definite highlight of the trip.
Before visiting, I didn't know much about the makeup and textures of the city. So I had no idea that there were so many canals snaking around.
On a sunny Saturday morning, we were taken to the neighbourhood of Winterhude to do a bit of canoeing. That 'bit of canoeing' turned out to be 'a lot of canoeing'.
A lot of people like to do a lot of canoeing in Winterhude - we passed many of them and tried greeting them with an enthusiastic German 'Hallo' whenever we had the opportunity (and courage) to do so.
Saying 'hallo' is really amusing and entertaining when you're used to the less drawn out English 'hello'.
Anyway, Winterhude is BEAUTIFUL! The canals were BEAUTIFUL! I was reminded of Hampstead in London.. or Regents Canal near the zoo.
There were big fancy houses with direct access to the canals via their backyards. Some parts were rich with low hanging foliage which made our floating journey feel magical and romantic.
Jessi, our Hamburger host, mentioned that Winterhude was unfortunately not that well connected when it came to public transport, hence she rarely visited, and that it was a pity because each time she does make it over, she loves it.
It seems that no trip to Hamburg is complete without at least a quick visit to Miniatur Wunderland, the world's largest model railway exhibition.
At first I wasn't too interested to go. If it weren't for Megan and Scott, I would've probably given it a miss.
BUT, we made it there and.. wow. There were so many miniature cities and villages and things. With really tiny people! I saw a lot of impressive models of Italian places, such as Venice and Cinque Terre (pictured above). It was all very creative and impressive!
The lighting was constantly fading in and out to alternate between a daytime and nighttime environment. There was even a miniature airport with a runway and little planes that took off and landed on it, complete with sound effects.
We entertained ourselves further by trying to spot tiny people doing naughty things, with or without clothing. We found a few instances of hanky panky going on, but not nearly as many as we had envisioned.
I was soon tired of seeing miniature things. There were just SO MANY. After a while, it felt repetitive. I'm still glad I went and saw it though - I'd never seen anything like it before.
Ticket prices for Miniatur Wunderland are currently €15 each (adult).
ST PAULI STREET ART TOUR
We stayed in the neighbourhood of St Pauli (St Pauli Quarter), which is bit grungy and known for its abundance of street art/graffiti. They could be seen everywhere!
A short walking tour of the area revealed some of the more prominent artists/pieces. They were mostly quite messy and crazy. I guess it would be a lot more exciting to a graffiti enthusiast.. which I am sadly not!
WHERE TO STAY IN HAMBURG
As I mentioned above, we stayed in the area of St Pauli, at Superbude St Pauli, which is a hostel/hotel which is modern, bright, stylish, and slightly quirky.
On first impression it seemed to be a place that mainly catered to teenagers and young adults, but we saw many older people and families staying there that weekend.
I really liked the location, too. The surrounding area was lively and had a buzzing restaurant and bar scene.
Superbude St Pauli
WHAT I ATE IN HAMBURG
In our short time, we really only got to dine at two restaurants in Hamburg, both of which exceeded my expectations (for some reason, I didn't have high hopes :p).
Hatari The Corner in St Pauli was where I had a really juicy burger that came with a poached egg, and the most delicious roasted potatoes on the side. The burger was huge and it was sloppy. Which I liked. It made for a really enjoyable meal!
We also had pizza at Pizza Social Club, topped with the creamiest burrata cheese. For starters we were treated to a good variety of high-quality cold meats including bresaola, one of my favourites.
On my last day, I ventured out for a solo lunch at Ban Canteen, which offered Vietnamese street food in a hipster style setting. Although the dishes were made for the European palate, it was still pretty tasty and a good effort.
MORE FUN WITH FRIENDS
My experience in Hamburg was made a lot more colourful because I was lucky enough to have Megan and Scott (of Bobo & Chichi) around to explore with.
I would recommend visiting Hamburg (and anywhere else in the universe) with someone who brings out your fun side and encourages you to be more adventurous and curious! Someone you can crab-walk on the sidewalk with, or someone who will take your picture (multiple times) when you get shat on by a pigeon.
However, if you cannot find a suitably silly friend, I would say Hamburg is a great (and safe) city for a solo trip, too 😉
Here's a fun little video produced by Bobo & Chichi based on our silly antics!
HAMBURG ON TOUR - IN LONDON!
If you're still unsure about Hamburg as your next city-break destination, are simply curious, or have nothing better to do this weekend AND you're in London, then you're in for a treat because..
Hamburg is coming to London!
In the form of a two-day weekend festival in East London where there will be music, food, and art on display. All meant to show you the best of Hamburg.
Best of all: IT'S FREE!
More information and the event programme can be found on the Hamburg on Tour website.
BESTEST OF ALL: I will be there! Come and meet me!
*This post was brought to you in collaboration with Hamburg on Tour and Hamburg Tourism