Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, biggest sea port...This city is totally beautiful and maybe because it's on the water it always feels a bit more like home than some other German cities. The harbor is a big part of the culture...evidenced in the historical Speicherstadt, where all the brick store buildings date from early sea trade...also in the Fischmarkt every Sunday morning, where from 4 am to 9:30 you can get fish, as well as other market goods like fruits and vegetables. The fish-sellers are the coolest though, they yell at you as you walk by, trying to get you to buy their fish. Really unique experience.
Above: Rathaus, city hall building
Above: one of the reasons I love Germany, the street cafés where you can sit outside on neighborhood streets, watch the people going by. This neighborhood (Sternschanze) is filled with cafés and people eating and drinking outside late into the night. Strikes me as something very typically European, something I miss in the US but our cities just aren't built densely enough to have this kind of life.
Above: in the canals of the Speicherstadt.
Above: my friend Klara took us on a little canoe trip through the canals. Rich, expensive villas in this area of the city, lots of ducks and other birds,
Other highlights of the city:
eating Fischbrötchen, fish sandwiches with herring, or north-sea-shrimp, or matjes
running the half marathon, through the famous Reeperbahn, the red-light district, and along the harbor
going on a party boat, the Tante Hedi, drinking a beer, dancing, listening to music as we ride through the harbor and look at the city from the water
walking along the Elbe River towards the expensive Altona Blankenese area, looking at the beautiful old houses, through parks and gardens
reading, playing chess, picknicking in the gorgeous botanical gardens
having a huge German-style breakfast (fresh bread with jams, meats, cheeses, quark with fruit) at an outdoor café in the sun