A mere 4 days after leaving Germany, I was back again. Considering how frequently I find myself here, it’s a wonder that I’ve not really harboured a massive fondness for this country.
That is, until I visited Hamburg!
In a week where I’ve been feeling sourly homesick, my cousin’s invitation to come to Hamburg for the 827th anniversary of the Port (Hafengeburtstag) was an unexpected godsend and mood booster. My home, the Harbour City of Sydney, is a wonderful place when the sun shines, and Hamburg has proven itself to be a fairly worthy European substitute. And only a 90 minute flight from London!
Arguably, I may have seen Hamburg at the best time of the year, when the Hafengeburtstag festival takes place, which was made even better by the warm weather that hit this area of Europe over the weekend – in fact, London had a heatwave i.e it hit 26 degrees. Hundreds of boats and tonnes more people flood in each year to celebrate the founding of the Port of Hamburg, so it’s quite a revered event (yet somehow in this large mass of people, a couple I met coincidentally turned out to be my colleague’s flatmates from London😂).
That said, this city has a chilled-out waterside vibe that is reminiscent of Sydney, an international ambiance driven by the scores of university students who study here, all underpinned by the wildness of German drinking/party culture. And a maze of canals! Who doesn’t love canals!?
My trip was made even better by the fact that I experienced my first ever European street party here. After the official festival program finished for Saturday night, eskies, bbq food and speakers were set up in the surrounding streets, where we danced the night away – with the occasional disruption from a garbage truck or ambulance trying to get through.
Now it’s currently Sunday afternoon as I sit by the port sunbaking under cloudless blue skies and sunshine that has actually managed to burn me a little. I’m feeling a little worse for wear at the moment – the product of ending up in seedy and wild Reeperbahn (Hamburg’s equivalent of HK’s Lan Kwai Fong) – but satisfied, that finally and unexpectedly, Germany has won me over.