I had big plans for our second day in Hamburg. After powering through our first full day on no sleep, I thought we would get a good night’s rest, kiss the jetlag goodbye and hit the town early on Monday, followed by an afternoon in nearby Ahrensburg to see the castle and what that little town had to offer.
Not. even. close!
When we finally managed to wake up, it was noon! We had slept half the day away! There was no possible way to get to Ahrensburg in time to see anything, and my mind immediately started reeling–if you know me, you know there is no way I would waste time sleeping when I could be exploring!
My husband felt bad, but after we talked through our options I quickly came to my senses. We had been non-stop for weeks, had survived my best friend’s wedding on little more than coffee fumes, and had known it was only a matter of time before we crashed.
Wasn’t it better to forgo a half-day of activities in order to catch up on sleep at the beginning of the trip rather than sleepwalking through the whole thing and missing out on all Schleswig-Holstein had to offer? There was no arguing with that reasoning– I was at peace with the way things worked out.
By the time we headed out it was mid-afternoon, the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds and we were starving. We headed back down to Landungsbrucken and found a little restaurant along the water where were bought a couple of beers and an order of fish and chips to share. There was a lovely breeze and we relaxed, enjoyed our food and watched the people and boats go by.
The boats ranged from cargo ships to personal crafts to tour boats, and we decided to seek out our own canal and harbor tour. We found a small boat and Brian, ever the barterer, talked the captain down on price since the audio tour was only in German.
We grabbed our seats just as the boat began to fill with people. We ended up sitting on a block in the middle of the back and while it was nice to be in the open air, once people started jumping up to take pictures it was a little hard to see or take our own photos. If we did it again, we would have sat up on the elevated back so we could see over everyone’s heads.
It was a really nice tour that lasted about 45 minutes. We were able to explore both the Alster canals as well as the Hamburg port and harbor and ended next to the Rickmer Rickmers.
After our boat ride we walked back over to the Speicherstadt to explore the rest of the Warehouse District. Our first day ended in that area at the Miniatur Wunderland museum, but the district goes well beyond the strip of museums along the water.
We crossed over multiple bridges and along the canals, admiring the neat old buildings that have so much characters.
Because it was Monday and late afternoon many things were closed, but I did make note of the Kaffee Museum so I could go back and try it one afternoon or evening Brian was busy with work.
The town hall was beautiful– the sun was setting and shining perfect light on the walls in the inner courtyard, but even the east side of the building, which had less light, was incredible. There’s a large courtyard in front of the town hall and there were several little stands selling various goods, newspapers and more. People were sitting and talking, playing or just passing through.
I could just make out the Binnenalster and we walked along one of the nearby canals but the sun was starting to sink and we wanted to head back to the hotel. Something I will put on my list to explore next time!
We had some trouble figuring out where to enter to catch the metro line we needed toward our hotel but finally found it a few blocks away and took the line to the Planten un Blomen stop. This huge (45 hectares!) garden sits in the middle of the city and features multiple smaller gardens, beautiful water features and all kinds of different plants.
Our hotel was across the park so we spent some time walking the paths along with many other people who were taking an afternoon job or end of day walk. The Conference Center where Brian was attending the show was nearby so I had a chance to see where he would be spending his time the next few days.
Despite the frazzled beginning, our day ended up being wonderful and incredibly relaxing. From boat rides to the beautiful garden blooms, there are some lovely spots worth exploring in downtown Hamburg.