HAMBURG - WUNDERLAND AND MARITIME CAPITAL OF GERMANY

Trip date: July 6, 2015
We travelled around the north Germany in the summer of 2015. And it was clear that one of the destinations that we could not omit was Hamburg. I had a great deal of knowledge about this city.
  • I knew that it is the country's biggest port and the second-busiest in Europe,
  • Despite the fact that it is a seaport, it is a distance of 100 kilometers from the North Sea. 
  • I knew that it is also Germany's second largest city with a population of over 1.8 million.
  • I knew that there is the glorious red-light district Reeperbahn, where the Beatles as teenagers played here in a local club.
  • I knew that there two well-known football clubs: Hamburger SV and FC St. Pauli.

HAMBURG Speicherstadt

And when I was preparing the trip I found many other attractions like:
  • The City Hall in Hamburg that stands on over 4000 oak piles
  • Wunderland - the largest model railway in the world, and one of the most successful permanent exhibitions in Northern Germany.
  • Elbe Philharmonic Hall - the stunning building on the river Elbe still under construction

I continued and I found out a lot about the rich history of Hamburg. 
  • From 1241 on, it was member of the Hanseatic League which had a medieval trade monopoly across Northern Europe.
  • In the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, millions of people left Europe on their way to the new world through the Hamburg harbor. Consequently, one of Hamburg's tag lines is "The Gateway to the World”. 
  • Hamburg is also known to be one of the richest metropolitan areas in the European Union, in the company of Brussels and London.

wunderland hamburg

Because I planned trip with a whole family, I skipped a visit of Reeperbahn and football:) I focused on exploring the city center and the Wunderland.
We arrived in Hamburg early morning, quickly found a parking lot. I have to share with you one small interesting story. We were on our way back from Denmark, where we got a fine approximately 100 E for delaying in the Park house for 20 min (we had paid for 5 hours). On the contrary, when we were parking in Hamburg, the parking valet stopped us before we had parked to explain what the best option for us was: he had recommended that we pay for whole day ticket instead of parking per hour. A good start of day.
Our trip started with just Wunderland. Wunderland is located in „Speicherstadt” (City of Warehouses). Speicherstadt is the largest warehouse district in the world where the buildings stand on timber-pile foundations, oak logs, in this particular case. It is located in the port of Hamburg and was built from 1883 to 1927. Coincidentally, this sight was awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site on July, 5 2015, one day before our visit:)
Within the vast Sprechierstadt we found Wunderland easily. Despite the fact that was morning, there were a so many people that we had to wait almost one hour to enter. But it was worth it.

hamburg wunderland

I found many videos regarding Wunderland on YouTube and therefore I expected a lot. But the reality is truly amazing. 
Wunderland is awesome. It is much larger than you can imagine and it is absolutely amazing. Especially for those who like models. It starts with small models which document a German history. Then the exposition continues with thematic models. The first one is Switzerland, then the airport, different parts of Germany, Scandinavia, Hamburg, America and lots more.

wunderland hamburg

You can see a large railway station, a car race in the mountains, a music festival, a football match between Hamburger SV and FC St. Pauli, a start of a space ship, a firemen intervention, a landing of an aircraft, an amusement park probably in Las Vegas, or a new Elbe Philharmonic building with a live orchestra with moving music instruments.
The whole exposition lives in fifteen-minutes-long days where it changes from day to night. You can observe the scenery during the morning dawn with blue light and then after a quarter of an hour the same scenery during twilight. Awesome!

wunderland-snow hamburg

We spent many hours there and we were thrilled. This attraction is suitable for everybody. For small children, for teenagers, for whole families. I can highly recommend it.
The prices are not so low but they are certainly adequate: 13 Euro for adults and a half for children.
After the visit of Wunderland we continued along „Speicherstadt”. We made a stop in the vicinity of the building of Elbe Philharmonic. We were having a rest and we found some information about the building on the internet. I have to say that it was interesting reading: 
  • The foundation stone was laid on April, 2 of 2007,
  • The construction was scheduled to be finished by 2010 with an estimated cost of €241 million
  • In November 2008, the costs for the project were estimated at €450 million
  • In August 2012, the costs were re-estimated to be over €500 million
  • As of December 2014, construction work is scheduled to end in October 2016 at a cost of €789 million, with an announced opening date of January, 12 of 2017

philharmonie Hamburg

Even Germans are not perfect. But the building already now looks spectacular.
As a bonus we saw (nebo “were able to see”) Bugatti Veyron live in Speicherstadt. We saw it already several times, but until that time only in museums. Really rich business district:)

Hamburg philharmonie bugatti veyron
Then we moved on along the port to the city center. We enjoyed a great view over the port with ships and giant cranes. We decided to go around to the Church of St. Michael. It is one of the biggest churches in Hamburg and a frequent tourist destinations. Due to long visit in Wunderland, we did not have enough time to visit the tower. There is allegedly a great view over the big port city.
We were continuing to the city centre along the channels where there were a great many shopping centers and restaurants. Besides common fashion brands or Apple stores, we saw one special one: Tesla, pricey electric cars from California.
One interesting thing, whenever we were passing Apple store, we saw a lot of young people „working” hard on their digital toys. Free Wi-Fi?
One Apple store is located on the famous street „Jungfernstieg”. It is an urban promenade along the lakeshore. It is the city's foremost boulevard.

hamburg townhall

After visiting Jungfernstieg, we moved to Rathausmarkt with the monumental building of the Hamburg City Hall. This building stands on 4000 oak piles and was built at the end of the 19 century after almost 40 years without a permanent city hall. It is worth looking at the interesting history (see links below).
The evening was coming and we had a time only for the necessary Currywurst, because: No Curry wurst, no true visit of Germany.
We bought it at the stand at Rathausamakrt and the experience was complete.
We left Hamburg with fulfilling experiences but also with the sense that here is a lot more.

townhall hamburg

P.S.
Later I came back to Hamburg on a business trip and it turned out that was true. We visited St. Pauli district with Reeperbahn. More in one of the other posts:)

Map:
map

Links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbe_Philharmonic_Hall
http://www.miniatur-wunderland.de
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speicherstadt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamburg_Rathaus