A week in Germany

Published on Monday 30 July 2012

The past and the present meet in Hamburg. This is what our guide tells us from the start having only a couple of hours to show us the basic essentials of his city.

All around, architecture spreads in different styles from differents periods, creating a unique blend of tradition and modernity always keeping these famous red or oranges rooftops. It’s the kind of place where travellers feel immediatly at home.

Our Hotel, The Steingenberger Hotel, is located at the heart of Hamburg, just a few steps away from all the main attractions. A few steps away from the Parliament House which is “ larger than Buckingham Palace ”, the Hafencity, the port and the covered alleys ( it rains almost as often as in London ! ) filled with cafes and boutiques.

With a bit more time on our hands, we would have loved to bike through the city like locals ( and tourists ) do.

They say that there are more bridges here than in Venice. I don’t know if it’s true but they sure are as lovely and the ambinace is as relaxed. Small cafes, pubs, lounges and restaurants are found everywhere on the cobblestone streets of the “ city on water ”.

A really nice moment of our visit : the discovery of Reeperbahn ( Red Light District ) and the guided tour “ On the tracks of the Beatles ”. A musician and Beatles fan guides us - with music, anecdotes and pictures- through the St-Poli district, where the legendary band started it’s carrer. With the visit of bars, concert halls and even the Beatles Square, home of one of their first appartments.

The city of Bremen is also a mandatory stop when visiting Germany gems. Smaller but as lovely as Hamburg, Bremen is a town where weary tourists can find a bit of peace and take time to relax.

You have to walk down the beautiful Weserpromenade Schlachte, to stop in a cafe around 2 pm for a “kaffee & kutchen ” ( coffee and a traditionnal german cake ), to walk on the border of Wesar river and spit in it for good health as it is custom here. You also have to touch the bronze statue of the famous 4 animals-musicians of Bremen and to contemplate the Town Hall and the Roland statue, both featured on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Underneath the city, a gigantic wine cellar that spreads over 2,2 km ! To have the chance to visit it, you have to book your tour in advance. A spectacular attraction with over two millions wine bottles, all of them german !

In Bremen, you also have to visit the cathedral ( also called The Dom ), the Paula Modersohn museum and the district of Schnoor ( the oldest of the city ) with it’s tiny back-alleys, it’s picturesque architecture and it’s pubs where only Beck’s beer is served. ( This is Beck’s birth place ! ) The Schnoor guided night tour with torch in hand is a fun activity for friends or couples.

Almost entirely destructed during World War II, the new Hannover ( 525 000 inhabitants ) can claim the title of the greenest city- literally - in Germany with the impressive amount of parks found throughout the city. This city that has 40 museums, also gives way to outdoors, history and culture. Here, even the bus stop shelters are works of art !

To have a better view of the entire city, you have to walk up the New Hall Town ( that is more like a museum ). And, to enjoy all of this nature, you have to walk through the superb and quiet Maschpark to get to the Maschee lake. You can rent a bike, a pedalo or a boat and discover this 6,3 km long lake. Until you get to the nearest beer garden that is !

In Hannover, you have to divide your staying time between a ballad to the popular Flea Market on saturday morning, the discovery of the Botanical Garden, the really touching monument of Jew victims ( stones engraved with hundreds of names )and the historic visit of the Herrenhäuser royal gardens ( the guide is dressed as Leibniz, owner of the place near the end of the 1700’s ).

In the evening, you have call to book you place at the Variety Cabaret for a dinner-show without forgeting to have a Lüttjelage ( a beer with a schnaps shooter ), a typical german treat !

To read and see more of Bremen, Hamburg and Hannover and the rest of Germany :

Blogger : Sarah-Emilie Nault

Editor : Véronique Leduc

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Blog: A week in Germany

The past and the present meet in Hamburg. This is what our guide tells us from the start having only a couple of hours to show us the basic essentials of his city...