I spent a few days in Hamburg back in 2018, but I never shared any photos or wrote anything about my time there…
I was travelling alone, as I so often was back then, and it was incredibly cold and wet. Literally didn’t stop raining the whole time I was there. That icy rain that stings and leaves your joints aching, aches that only beer can soothe.
But it wasn’t the weather that left me feeling cold and unwelcome.
The people were nice enough, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t really connect with the place or anyone that made me want to stay longer.
Or perhaps I should say, I didn’t get the impression that anyone cared either way, whether I was there or not, whether I stayed or left.
Whenever I travel, especially around Spain, Italy and France, I’m always so sad when it’s time to leave. But with Hamburg, frankly, well…
It’s like when you go to a restaurant or a coffee shop and you wave goodbye and say thank you as you head out the door.
Sometimes, typically at the places you’d like to return to, you get a wave and a smile in return. Hamburg, suffice it to say, is not a “waver” or a “smiler”. Hamburg lets you walk right out the door.
No, I wouldn’t really say I felt welcome in Hamburg. Mainly I just felt cold and lonely, and old.
Truth be told, the only person I met and remember with any real sense of fondness was the manager of Hamburg’s famous Maritime Museum (which I loved by the way) – and he was Spanish!
I don’t know, it’s a shame because I was, and remain, quite interested in German culture, in Germany in general.
I was keen to experience and learn more. I still am, but somehow I think it will take another trip or two to convert me into a genuine Germanophile. Perhaps more.
I’d definitely be willing to give Hamburg another go. I’d like to spend more time exploring the Reeperbahn (Hamburg’s infamous ‘sinful mile’), where the Beatles got started as a cover band.
I’d like to eat my way round all the hipster foodie joints in St. Pauli. And the museums too – I didn’t even scratch the surface!
But if and when I do return, I’ll make sure it’s in the summer and definitely not the winter! And perhaps with someone to pose for portraits with in those cute vintage Photomat booths I saw everywhere around the city.
I suggest you do the same.
Any advice on where I should go and what I should do for a better impression of life in Germany?