HAMBURG, GATE TO THE WORLD
Hamburg, Tor zur Welt, Gate to the World, is one of those rare cities which are beautiful in any season. One can walk along its lovely streets, with the distinctive dominance of white or light stone buildings, and find something new to admire every day. Planten und Blumen, the extensive park and botanical gardens, always present an amazing amount of trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as ponds, shady paths, jogging routes, and benches to sit on. In spring, that is where we found the magnificent tulip poplars in bloom; we have seen those wonderful trees laden with tulip-like flowers in New York only, before that. The rivers Elbe and Alster, together with the two Alster Lakes, inner and outer ones, always have people walking along the banks, feeding the swans, geese and ducks, relaxing on the steps, taking pictures and in general enjoying the views. Rathaus, the Town Hall, is an architectural and artistic marvel. I fell in love with it at first sight, and make it a point to visit it each time I find myself in Hamburg.
It is a bustling and busy city, with plenty of things going on all around it. The Port is a hub of activity throughout the year; several big events take place in it, like the fireworks during a holiday, or giant festivities on occasion of the Port’s birthday. The city center naturally is a nice place to shop in, with one whole long street devoted to shoppers, it seems: one can start from the square in front of the Rathaus, and go on and on, window-shopping or doing some serious shopping all day long. In large stores like Europa Passage, there are cafes and restaurants, as well as restrooms. Naturally there are plenty of cafes and restaurants everywhere, catering to all tastes and budgets. Whether you grab a sandwich or a bun at a Backhaus on the run, or have your meal sitting in a café, you will love it. When the weather is warm, one can sit outside and stare at passers-by or study the surroundings, or make further plans for the day.
There are plenty of hotels in Hamburg. Dammtor Palais, a charming building near a railway station and the university campus, houses several little hotels. The rooms are nice and spacious; one gets all the modern conveniences; breakfast is superb. Right around the corner there is a nice quiet street where one can find several bakeries and small cafes. The buildings are very pretty. The most charming one, covered with climbing ivy and looking like the Sleeping Beauty’s castle, turned out to be the post-office. The service is fast, efficient; the clerks are very polite and helpful. One can find all manner of wrapping, boxes of all sizes, envelopes et cetera there.
Hamburg is indeed a Gate to the World. It is a city to be visited again and again.