Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hamburg + Hafencity

Our first stop was to visit little Moritz and his parents. We had a great time with tons of friends, conversation, and lots of babies. We were the only couple without children. I can't say I envied people when it was time to eat and I didn't have a baby whining or wanting food from my plate. Eating in peace must be such a luxury once children are in the picture.

The day was absolutely sweltering, but everyone had a great time playing yard games after brunch. Later in the afternoon was a big potluck style cookout, which felt so similar to the American cookouts I'm accustomed to. It was really nice. Moritz enjoyed feeding Stefan and everyone was happy. (side note: he doesn't quite fit the lederhosen yet... hopefully next year - in time for Oktoberfest!)

Early Monday we went to explore Hamburg. I immediately loved that it's a decently large city (6th largest in the EU). It seemed like there was a lot more variety in terms of stores and products available.

Right by the train station was Mutterland, which was on my list of places to stop. It's a bit of an upscale grocery / deli / restaurant. Everything is absolutely beautiful - from the displays and product packaging to the food at the restaurant.

It melted my heart when we saw a dog come in and lay near our table while his owner went to get something. I couldn't help but pet him. I desperately need a dog! Instead of leaving with a dog, I left with a full stomach and some beautiful silver decorating sugar from a company called Zucceroo.

The salad was one of the best I've had in a long time. And what I loved most was that everything felt like you were visiting a friend - a friend that makes delicious homemade organic foods. If only we had a Mutterland in Munich.

We also got ice cream - you know I had to sample that. I love Stefan's expression of anticipation (and his Midwest fo Life shirt, being an Ohio girl and all).

After eating quite a large lunch we decided to walk around town and discover some of the sites, particularly near the water. I love cities that have distinct character and Hamburg is certainly one of those.

I noticed these stamps in a shop window - and the lovely handwriting on the card. So pretty! It reminded me of the ones I saw just the other day in Munich.

Once visiting Speicherstadt / Hafencity (warehouse district) it was official this was a charming place. Speicherstadt is the area where the warehouses and the beautiful architecture are surrounded by little canals and new construction.

There are tons of new apartments and lofts and it really integrates new and old very well. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have a beautiful loft in that area! It's one of the big rebuilding projects in Europe, and I can only imagine how cool it will be upon completion, but I was so happy to see it in progress as well.

It's really neat to think about all the produce and goods that are stored within these walls, including the largest storage of Oriental carpets in the world - worth over €1 Billion!

There's always something going on in the harbor and it's really quite fun to watch the ships at work. We stood in awe of how many containers many of them were capable of transporting. Funny to think the containers themselves also occasionally are turned into homes. I'd take one of those too, you know if the loft doesn't work out.

After being adequately worn out we stopped at Engelke for dinner. Throughout this trip I was constantly impressed with the quality, variety, and how reasonably priced food was. I think I need to move to a bigger city... I could really get used to these little luxuries.

Another blessing of being in a shipping town is the availability of products, including some delicious macaroons from Ladurée - direct from Paris.

Tomorrow I'll post about the port tour, the infamous St. Paul district, and the interesting urban details.


JoernandAllison said...

Its wonderful to have friends in other cities you can visit, somehow, it makes the city even more charming.
As for Hamburg, it is hands down, my favorite city in Germany. I'm so glad you liked it too! It was exciting to see your pictures from the building project at the Speicherstadt, when I was there, they were in much earlier stages.
Ooh, and the fact that you found macaroons- drool!
So far, it looks like a super trip!

Emily said...

I had no idea Hamburg was so wonderful! I know you always hear that, but I'm glad I never felt it was overrated.

Definitely a super trip - and I was very happy to learn there are plenty of inexpensive flights out of Munich. Next time I don't think we'll be driving.