I love May. In May, nature has already come back to life, everything is blossoming, the air smells like love, youth and freedom, and the German calendar has many red letter days that can be used for travelling, which makes May the most perfect month of the year.
Hamburg in May, however, is a different story. The city is famous for its horrible weather, and even in spring the rains and winds have no intention to loosen their grip. But, as my grandpa always says, there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothes. So I dressed in layers, like an onion, armed myself with an umbrella, and set out to experience the best during my weekend in Hamburg!
Once I stepped into Hamburg, I immediately thought of London. Both cities can be grey and lively at the same time, freeze you down to the bone and yet appear to be the most warming and cheerful places you could ever visit. Just like London, Hamburg is also in love with musicals: people go there to see The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and Dirty Dancing, and, of course, to cross cultural bridges – both figuratively, as Hamburg is home to many nationalities, and literally, since Hamburg has more bridges than London, Amsterdam and Venice combined.
My weekend in Hamburg was the first trip I ever had when I decided to not plan anything, go with the flow and see what happens. I didn’t have a list of sights, as I always do, and the only thing I based my explorations on was whether I liked how the street looked or not. So if I saw something pretty, I just went there. Luckily enough, in Hamburg all the roads lead to the most beautiful building in the city – the Rathaus. It is definitely the most stunning town hall I ever did see in my life, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I was eating it with my eyes for more than eternity, until I finally remember that a weekend is just 72 hours long, and, whether I liked it or not, I had to keep on moving.
I found myself in St. Michael’s Church, one of the finest baroque churches in the world that Hamburg takes lots of pride in – and for a good reason! I mean, there are not many churches that make your jaw drop, but St. Michael’s is definitely one of them. The main idea was to make you soar in the sky, I suppose, which you can actually do if you go up the tower for a view over Hamburg.
Hamburg is a port city – it has made its reputation as a port city, and a port city it has remained. You can notice the sea trade motifs in Hamburg’s architecture everywhere you go. Little sculptures of ships, fish, anchors, and tridents will eventually lead you to HafenCity and St. Pauli Landungsbrücken (St. Pauli Piers), which set the tone to the whole life of the city.
One of the loveliest spots that I discovered in Hamburg was undoubtedly Planten un Blomen, a wonderful (and pretty sizeable) park in the inner part of the city. For anyone who loves greenery and landscaping, the park will be a real treat for the eyes – huge lush rosebays, little murmuring brooks, and lots and lots of paths to walk through… So refreshing! Which also makes Planten un Blomen so much more than just a park.
So far, Hamburg is probably my favourite German city. It has everything: the rivers of beauty are running down its streets, the pieces of history are sparkling in every corner, the bridges make you feel like you’re travelling somewhere new all the time, and yet the whole atmosphere of the city makes you feel so cosy as if you’re at home. Altogether, this is framing up a wonderful picture that I would like to hang on my wall. Question is – do you, too?