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Posts tagged ‘Hamburg’

Hamburg – Day 2

Like yesterday, today I rented a bike and spent the afternoon exploring the city.  Six hours and almost 150 photos later, here I sit back at the hotel enjoying a late dinner.

I’ll back to work tomorrow, thus concluding my time in a wanderlust frame of mind.  Sadly, it is doubtful I will have another opportunity to ride again during my stay.  Regardless of what happens, I’m feeling pretty good knowing that I’ve secured nearly 11 hours of riding this weekend, canvasing many diverse neighborhoods.

In case you’re wondering … the bike rental set me back 12€ ($16 USD) for 24hrs of ride time, which seems like steal to me.

A sampling of today’s pictures below.

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Back In Hamburg

Friday night I caught a red-eye flight from India to Germany, for another round of work related meetings with my international teams.  Following a “quick” eight hour flight into Frankfurt, the 50 minute connecting flight into Hamburg seemed like a breeze.

I’ve been to Hamburg a few times before – most recently in January of last year.  I’ve really come to enjoy this city and was especially excited to be here in the summer, when residents really take advantage of the perfect weather and long days.

I arrived to my hotel around 11am, dropped my bags at the concierge (my room was not yet ready) and immediately began wandering.  As my hotel is very close to St. Michaelis cathedral, I decided to stop for a visit, something I’ve never done before.  Similar to many European cathedrals, this structure is quite impressive – ornate, full of history, etc.

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However, what really sparked my interest in visiting was the opportunity to ascend the clock/bell tower.  The tower is 132 meters tall (433ft), with an outdoor observation deck located 106 meters (347ft) above the river Elbe.  With a diameter of 8 meters (26 ft), the tower clock is the largest in Germany.  For content, the big hand measures 5 meters (16ft) in length and the small hand 3.6 metes (11ft) … each hand weighing 130 kg (286 lbs).  Also, the tower features six chime bells and two clock bells and I can attest firsthand the chimes/ringing is deafening from the inside the tower.

While there is a lift available, the line was crazy long and I also wanted to see the bells up close along with the historic interior of the tower itself.  Accordingly, I took the stairs and about 10 minutes later I exited at the top, onto a very crowed observation deck.  (the green tube is the very small elevator)

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Yeah, the tower views are pretty impressive.

I spent about 20 minutes casually gazing outwards onto the city.  Of course the views were great, but as I had plans to rent a bike and explore the city by land, I took advantage of the birds-eye views to chart a rough plan for the afternoon atop two wheels.

Like most European cities, Hamburg is extremely bike friendly which made the process of exploring easier than it would have been in a typical US city.   Via smart phone, I did a quick search for the nearest bike rental station, quickly created an account, and within minutes I was off.

My bike for the day

My bike for the day

I generally made my way towards and around the northern neighborhoods of the city centre.  Knowing the town hall was about 15 minutes away,  I began riding, enjoying the leisurely mode of transport.

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City Hall

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Looking southeast, Alster Lake in the foreground

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One of Alster Lake’s many sailing clubs

Alster Lake is a surprisingly large body of water given it’s proximate to the city centre.  On a gorgeous day like yesterday (Saturday), the waterfront was packed.  (For those who can relate … a comparison would be the Grant Park lakefront in Chicago on a warm sunny day)

So many people were out walking, biking, jogging, picnicking, chatting over coffee at cafes, etc.  Like me, everyone seemed to be enjoying  a lovely summer day.

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As I am not particular familiar with the city, I had no destination really – I just rode around … for hours.  Eventually, I checked Google maps to reorient myself.  Not surprisingly, I’d covered quite a distance.  Knowing I had dinner plans with a former colleague and his wife, I began the journey back to the hotel.

I’m definitely planning to ride more tomorrow (Sunday).

 

 

Authentically German

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time with one team in particular.   Tonight, 12 of us went to dinner at Rheinische Republik, which I was told, is a real (ie – commoner) German restaurant … the type any visitor must make time for during a visit Hamburg.

Places like this are not only about the food – I took away much more than that tonight.  The celebration, endlessly flowing beer, and old world charm, all combined to create a great atmosphere.

Of course it was a given that I would have the Schnitzel, my only real decision being what variety.  The menu is strictly German language and as a joke, I was not offered guidance with menu translation.  Purposely, my colleagues left me on my own to order,  laughing jovially at my futile efforts to decipher and navigate the menu.

Veal Schnitzel

Veal Schnitzel

As it turns out, I ordered veal and it was quite good.  Not as good as my meal last night, but I definitely appreciate and understand the rationale underlying their suggestion for dining here.  I had a wonderful evening, but drank way too much Kölsch.

As I type this post, it’s nearly 11:30pm local time and I am a bit buzzed at the moment.  Hopefully, my boss and company CEO will not notice my ‘comfortably numb’ state when I dial into a conference call a few minutes from now.

Cats & Dogs

This evening I had a fantastic Austrian dinner at Tschebull near the city center.  Apparently, this trendy restaurant is all the rave.  I must say I now understand the hype, as everything was fantastic – the atmosphere, the presentation, the drinks, and most importantly … the food.  It was just perfect, especially since someone else picked-up the tab.

Yes, just perfect.

Afterwards, I decided to walk back to my hotel.  Winter is in the air here in Hamburg and the nighttime temperatures are brisk … very cool, but not quite cold.  Conditions this evening just felt optimal for walking and I figured the 30-40 minute saunter back to my hotel would afford me an opportunity to observe more of this wonderful city.

Lucky for me I was walking – if not I may have missed the display below.  I snapped the picture through a window which takes away from the image clarity a bit.

No matter, this is still very funny to me and I had a wonderful walk.

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