Saturday, September 4, 2010


For the first time, I'm in a city and I can't say that I'm especially enthusiastic about it. I could go so far as to say that I don't like Hamburg. That might be an unfair assessment. It has its good points, certainly. A very nice Rathaus (city hall), some architecturally attractive churches, a lake within the city centre and canals connecting it to the river Elbe. There are perfectly pleasant pedestrianised shopping precincts.

BUT.. all about the place are what I would call dodgy characters. It has an edgy feel to it. The street where my hotel is -- just a stone's throw from the main train station -- is lined with prostitutes at night. There are shifty looking men hanging around in other areas. Charities bring vans to serve hot drinks and food to people living rough on the streets.

I suppose it's just that I didn't see anything like this in the other places I've visited during my trip so far. I'm no prude, and I've certainly experienced all of the above in London in the past. Hamburg suffers because I'm comparing it to my most recent experience of Munich.

Today I got a day ticket for the underground and S-Bahn railway network, which took me to virtually all the tourist sites I wanted to see. It's quite nice down by the port and the fish market. The sun was shining and I used a voucher I'd found in a magazine to get myself two salmon and cream cheese bagels for the price of one at lunchtime. Now, that's something I've had a craving for since... well, several weeks probably. Delicious :-)

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