Hamburg made an impression of “the nautical Berlin”. At least in terms of culture and liberalism it gives Berlin run for its money thanks to the districts of St. Pauli, Sternschanze and Reeperbahn. There are punk bars and hipsters cafes. Techno clubs (or rather huts) and squatted buildings full of lo-fi spontaneous art. There is a red light district behind iron gates, after which woman visitors are banned from entering. If that was not enough, a massive ugly-grey nazi-era bunker sits right in the centre of the city. Plans have been devised to demolish it, but destroying German quality 2 meters thick walls is not an easy task. So for the time being it hosts techno and punk nights. Very fitting indeed.
The city centre is quite generic with its pretty, but standard Central European architecture. Nothing to write home about. On the other hand, Speicherstadt is absolutely amazing with its tall red brick buildings, canals and the beginning of the 20th century industrial look. In terms of the architecture it is one of the most impressive areas I have ever seen and most certainly the most attractive warehouse area in the world. On a slightly different note, just outside of the city to the west lies Blankenese, a pretty village for posh people, which makes a pleasant half-day trip. Expensive houses, hilly narrow roads and a water-front make it all very Mediterranean. Germany does not cease to amaze, Hamburg in particular.
I am not a big fan of visiting museums, just because they are big and famous, but Hamburg has something entirely different to offer, namely an Airbus factory. I wanted to visit it, but unfortunately my timing was off for English guided tours. I went there to take a look at this massive facility. I tried acting like in the know and marching through open gates, but was politely stopped by a guard and guided to the reception. Upon explaining my cause at the reception, the answer was “this is not possible”. Said in the cold tone that instantly kills all the hope inside. The factory left unseen. Well, Hamburg is definitely worth visiting again, the factory or not. Hopefully next time I will have better luck with Fish Market and Airbus.