SIGHTS in Hamburg:
To catch the Fischmarkt on a Sunday you have to get up early - something that is easier said than done given Hamburg's lively nightlife. Those who make it can reward themselves with a fresh crab roll before venturing into the free-for-all. Yet Fischmarkt doesn't solely revolve around fish. Since 1703 practically everything has been sold: flowers, fruit and vegetables, liquorice, eels and souvenirs. Just a few years ago you could even find livestock on offer. The true highlight is the banter that the salesmen and women employ in an earthy Hamburg fashion to tempt the passers-by into making a purchase. Breakfast is available for early birds, tourists and hungry revellers from the previous night in the great hall, which is filled with the sound of a questionable music accompaniment.
Alster round trip
A fun journey down the Alster on a mini steamboat will show you a unique view of Hamburg. All aboard as you float along the river through the green metropolis, under the city's countless bridges, past the church spires, Jugendstil villas and parks. If you ask us, a trip on the Alster is compulsory. Where you voyage is entirely up to you. An Alster Cruise is the flexible variant. This starts at Jungfernstieg and concludes at Winterhuder Fährhaus, offering more opportunities to hop on and off along the way. The Fleet trip is a hit with the tourists - it begins on the Inner Alster and makes its way through the old warehouse district. The canal trip offers passengers plenty of greenery, while the Dämmertörn is the perfect way to start a romantic evening. Drinks and sausages are available on board. Mmmmm!
Oh to be a grocer's widow... as these lucky women had the honour of living in the Krameramtsstuben at the foot of St. Michaelis Church. The timbre-frame houses, which were built in the 17th century, mimic doll's houses. Today the houses are home to a bookshop, a gallery, a museum and a restaurant. Amazingly the houses remained untouched by the great fire in the 19th century as well as the bombs dropped in the wars. If St. Michaelis Church is the heart of Hamburg, the Krameramtsstuben are the soul.
SHOPPING in Hamburg:
Ethel Vaughn is an illustrious name - that's also what fashion designer Katrin Weber must have thought and therefore used the name of her boyfriend's granny for her fashion label. The granny is a Brit and also the style of the native-born Dusseldorf designer could come downright from the isle. Her urban street style is sometimes sexy, sometimes sporty, at other times simply casual - but always cool. In the small store right between the Millerntor-Stadion and the Reeperbahn in Hamburg's district St. Pauli you'll find sweatshirts with batwing sleeves, tracksuit-styled jeans or hand-bleached shorts with a domestos look. Each piece is characterised by a casual cut and trained craftsmanship. Apart from housing the sales area for the pieces from the latest collection you'll also find the designer's atelier here - where each peace can be crafted in small quantities. And what about the fact that you can also buy the British workmen's boots by Dr. Martens? It's like chalk and cheese!
The name says it all. Stoffsüchtig (in Engl.: addicted to fabrics) displays selected fashion from 30 aspiring designers amidst the Hamburg harbour city on 320 square metres and 25 metres exhibition space in a newly erected industrial building. Names like Dawid Tomaszewski or Mila Miyahara may not be on everyone's lips yet but you have probably already heard of Kilian Kerner. But more important in this fashion store is to feel - as the fabrics are focused on here. And so is the wearing comfort. Customary euro-pallets provide for an extraordinary presentation of the designer pieces and leave no doubt about the stars in here. And if you get hungry you better check out the bistro in the basement. In the daytime they serve regional dishes (including vegetarian options), at night you can order finger food and cold tapas. The right wine will accompany the delicacies. Curtains and light modify the atmosphere of the little dining area with a chambre séparée and especially the bronze and brown shades turn out beautifully.
If you are looking for just the right pen, Trixi Gronau has the answers. Even if you're not looking, you're still likely to leave with something. Pens and pencils, wrapping paper, timers, jewellery and candles - a colourful mix of items that is sure to surprise any customer expecting to find mere copier paper. The shop is a delight for those who like to poke around and pick out a little something for themselves or others. The fact that many of the items available are actually made by Trixi Gronau herself is an extra treat.
STAY in Hamburg:
Simply put Kempinski is one of the best addresses in the world, which is treasured by regular guests as well as the stars. Here both are equally discreetly catered for. A subtle sense of glitz and glamour drifts through the hotel, the rooms are elegant and stylishly furnished. Some even offer a heavenly view of the Outer Alster. Guests at Kempinski must find the time to take a seat in the foyer - watching what goes on there is often better than television. Double room from EUR 171.
This hotel has history. It was once the most famous bordello in northern Germany, despite fierce competition in the harbour city. Attentive onlookers will immediately recognise from the baroque furnishings what once went on here, with flock wallpaper, baldachins and mirrors giving its past away. Today it is an extraordinary hotel with an extravagant design. The Parisian charm of the Village Hotel appeals to artists and musicians alike. A relic of the past: free coffee day and night. Double room from EUR 85.
25 Hours Hotel
Designer furniture, textured wallpaper and retro-chic. The hotel is the perfect base for urban nomads, who feel at home surrounded by a striking and bold ambience. The rooms are available in the sizes M, L, XL and Studio. Families should opt for the XL-Family category. Should you feel lonely then make yourself comfortable on the leather sofa in the hotel's living room, where you'll almost certainly find friendly conversation. The same goes for the roof terrace in the summer. Double room from Euro 95,-.
EAT in Hamburg:
Make sure you don't forget your wallet, because fine dining at Wandrahm comes at a price. Yet guests are treated to a genuine gala dinner, which is sure to impress and even surprise. For those with a slightly smaller budget there is the bistro on the ground floor with its own menu, which includes starters and modest meat and fish dishes. In the gallery dishes are served á la carte. Meanwhile excellent hot chocolate is served in Wandrahm's Coffee & Tea bar. The bistro, restaurant and bar all go to show that a stylish ambience can also be comfortable. Whether that's down to the white interior or the crystal chandeliers or not remains a mystery.
If you're not lucky enough to have a grandmother in Vienna, then you don't know what culinary treats you've been missing out on. Bistrot Vienna is the ideal substitute. Begin with potato soup with porcini mushrooms, followed by a Wienerschnitzel or prime boiled beef and round the meal off with sweet cheese dumplings served on a bed of stewed plums. With the tables lined up so close to one another there's no room for secrets. Nevertheless this makes room for 25 guests, although they may have to be patient as no reservations are taken. All in all a seat at Vienna's table is certainly worthwhile, especially for those after a good hearty meal. It has been said that the service at Vienna sometimes suffers due to a laid back atmosphere. Nevertheless it remains a restaurant that serves up a great culinary experience.
For over 25 years now Matsumi has been serving the best that Japanese cuisine has to offer. The restaurant was originally opened for Japanese guests, quickly becoming a success by standing out from the many homogenous Asian competitors. Needless to say sushi is on the menu, while the hotplate sunk into the table is always popular. You'll be surprised how tasty sake can really be: at Matsumi you can try out 10 to 15 rice wines. The unrivalled highlight, however, is the blowfish. The chef belongs to a small group of cooks in Europe who have a licence to prepare the delicacy.