Hamburg, Germany, that is! This past weekend we were delighted to visit Hamburg on a “Blind Booking” (BB) flight option with Eurowings. With the threat of an airline attendant strike just 24 hours out, this trip was already shaping up to be an adventure! Thankfully, no strike happened and both parties agreed to resume talks on Monday. Phew, our weekend flights were saved. (See special notes below on how to book a “Blind Booking” flight.)
A city not even on my radar, Hamburg is an absolute MUST-SEE! This is our second Eurowings, BB trip ~ We had an incredible first trip to Leipzig, Germany, this year and I felt reassured this weekend would be equally as fun. We learned a lot about a different part of Germany, it’s culture, history, language and more. Here is how we visited Hamburg for the weekend!
Tierpark Hagenbeck could be the BEST Zoo I’ve ever gone to ~ it’s definitely one of the top 10 in the world. Don’t let their modest website fool you, this place is FUN! I love the Wilhelma Zoo here in Stuttgart too but this Tierpark held my attention for 4.5 hours. Sooo much fun! The Zoo could seriously be it’s own blog…hmm I might do that too.
- Pay for the COMBO Ticket! I know it’s pricey but it’s WORTH IT! €81 for two adults and one child, it includes the Tropical Aquarium, which was a huge HIT!
- Tons of places to eat in the park, playgrounds, and rest stops ~ Enjoy your day
From the invasion of Napoleon to the Beatles and everything before and since Hamburg is essential to the history of Germany. There is a French-English-Dutch-German vibe all throughout the town. You can see it in the architecture, the food and definitely in the language. I heard words I didn’t think were even German. Eek ~ I was constantly second-guessing my language skills. However, almost EVERYONE spoke English.
Here’s a few of my favorite “slang words” from this weekend
- Alsterwasser – in other parts of Germany it is known as a Shandy or Radler (Beer and lemonade) One waiter was about to have a “come-apart” when I asked for a Radler (he said that was a bicycle rider) He was right too!
- Bar – this is cash (or geld) This was said so fast I thought he might have just burped.
- English – badly mangled language (mostly my German) whoops!
- Hamburgers – people who make any of your food in Hamburg is called a hamburger.
Hop-on & Hop-off Bus for History lessons
- These buses are some of my favorite ways to see major cities. You can literally hop off at any stop and see more, and catch it later. Our red bus I thought was a little pricey at €33/Family pass (2 adults, 2 children) price for a One- day ticket
- Earphones are available in English, however the German tour guide shared a LOT more information like how Stefi Graf prepared for her tennis games here at the Tennis arena and other fun stories. Downside of understanding German, I know what we were all missing and it was kind of a bummer.
- Overall, it was worth the price because we did learn facts about the city that would have taken a lot more money and time to investigate.
- LIKE this, Hamburg was the major German port for 5 million emigrants between 1850 – 1934 traveling to America to find a better way of life
- Cruise ships were invented here
- Insurance companies were started here in 1676
- Part of Hamburg was built by Englishmen and looks completely like Kensington, London in the 19th Century
- Huge ties to Portugal because of trading ships – great Portuguese neighborhoods all around Hamburg
- Johann Brahms hung out here!
Check out Hans Hummel! There are over 150 legendary water carriers statues all over city! Just like the Berlin bear we had fun trying to spot them!
Water fun ~
- Boat rides – we took the traditional steamboat around the bay The Alsterdampfer.
- Harbor rides – different from AußenAlster tour, this boat ride goes through the Harbor of Hamburg – Hamburg Tourism offers
- Canoeing and Kayaking – canoe boat rentals
- Bubble rides – only in summer on the AusenAlster
We stayed at the Renaissance Marriott right down town near the major shopping district. This made our Jessica ~ ecstatic! This was a last minute trip so our hotel rate wasn’t great. BUT, we are loyalty members so we were able to negotiate price and breakfast options.
Our shopping neighborhood was similar to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and Champs Elysee in Paris. High-end stores and beautiful malls dot the canals that ran through the city. However, we scored at H & M!
Hamburgers and Coffee?
While in Hamburg, you must have a delicious hamburger, right? Well, you’re in luck as there are plenty of Hamburger joints for you to try. Some trendy, some elegant and some at the airport. We found our BEST burger in Hamburg at Cindy’s Diner located in Terminal C at the airport.
Although, we had fun trying other places too ~ the Better Burger Company! Go for the toppings.
Next, we were AMAZED, I tell you, just amazed at the amount of coffee shops in Hamburg. This is a good thing since my Jon consumes about 64 oz. a day! No kidding ~ here’s a few. I had fun just snapping pictures of all the places.
Hamburg at Night
So if you are traveling with smaller children or young impressionable children, you should know that Hamburg has 2 RED LIGHT districts. They are easy to remember because they are in Saint neighborhoods. I know, I recognize the irony. The St. George and the St. Pauli (the Reeperbahn) districts are colorful neighborhoods of Hamburg.
Although we didn’t venture there for long, (they are part of the Hop-on/Hop-off bus) this is one of the most talked about places in Hamburg.
We did walk around the city at night, however and felt completely safe in our neighborhoods and even headed over to the newly created Hafen City. Here you will find the Hamburg Dungeon, Miniatur Wonderland, statues, and a love-lock bridge.
How to ~ Blind Book!
- You pick your departure airport first – Stuttgart for us (has the fewest options of course ~ it’s a new departure for them, if you don’t mind traveling there are other options)
- Pick your “type” of trip (i.e. – Metropolitan, Party, Culture and now (Christmas Markets)
- Enter dates
- You MAY
CROSS offcertain destinations you have already been to for a fee- €5/person – we chose Metropolitan and crossed off Amsterdam and Leipzig
- You can choose to add luggage it’s €15/way for a 25kg luggage (that’s almost a 50# luggage) We chose this but only used super small luggages weighing under 10kg so that’s why we SHOPPED!!
- Purchase the tickets!
- Just like the Price is Right ~ whatever the wheel lands on – that’s where you are going!! YAY have fun
♦ Smaller airlines make their money on luggage fees, shopping carts (on flight), upgraded seats, etc. I know this seems like “nickel and diming” to death but you can also not choose doing those extras. It’s your choice and level of comfort.
I’VE got tickets but WAIT~ they are about to STRIKE!!
- We received e-mail updates on the status of our flights but you’ll want to check their website as well.
- I talked to the flight attendants on my flight and they were annoyed by it
- DON’T FORGET to check in ON-LINE before leaving for the airport
- It’s so much easier going to the counter
- Airlines like RyanAir now charge a €45/person if you DO NOT CHECK IN ONLINE
- Cancellation policies differ for each small airline – Eurowings gave us an option to switch our dates or cancel for a full refund. Since the strike never happened we didn’t do either.
We had the most amazing time in Hamburg and I am excited to see more of this part of Europe. Maybe I’ll have to head to Scandinavia next year. Now that would be an adventure!
Remember if you are traveling soon and need help, I’m here. I plan several itineraries a month and can help you narrow down and fine tune your’s too. For additional help, check out my Work with Me page ~ I’d be happy to help!
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
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