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Schnitzel, Beer and the Golden Poodle Club: A Guide to Hamburg by a one-time Visitor

In a last minute search for a few nights away, my boyfriend and I had been once again stalking Skyscanners cheapest flights to anywhere. Hamburg- I’ve never been there. It’s reasonably priced. Let’s do it.

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And so the adventure began. Before heading out, I perused the internet for advice on what to expect from the city. I’d never heard anything about Hamburg before and wondered about the prices, food and the nightlife but aside from a youtube video of two guys talking at me about the weather, I came up with very few results. So for that reason I thought I’d share the very little wisdom that I gained from my four day trip to the city.

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The prostitutes are the ladies with the bumbags

No, we aren’t all missing out on some big 90’s rave, the short skirts and bumbags just belong to the many sensible and pragmatic ladies of the night that line the Reeperbahn. This area is the place to go for seediness and sex shows. It’s definitely worth a visit but probably isn’t the most beautiful part of the city..

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Keep your bag shut 

So.. rookie error, naive little tourist that I am, I jumped on a bus with my bag open and like any other city in the world ever, in Hamburg there are thieves at large. So keep your stuff safe (just maybe not in a bumbag). On the plus side, I got to go to the police station and muster up all of my A Level German in order to report it missing- a fun and unexpected experience!

Schnitzel

So although it’s something you really have to try when in Germany, I don’t have a very high opinion of Schnitzel. I’m pretty sure it’s just mushed up sausage covered in breadcrumbs. Don’t get me wrong it was relatively yummy, but I’d rather a steak and chips any day. If you do fancy some schnitzel, there were some great places offering it on the cheap down in Sternschanze.

Sternschanze

This was my favourite part of town, it’s graffiti ridden and rough looking but it has so much character. Easily accessible on the U-Bahn it is an unmissable part of the city with some fantastic restaurants and a really young vibe.

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Hofbrauhaus is the one to go to for a big German stein 

I didn’t even like beer very much before this trip. Now, I love beer! Specifically German beer. The stuff is amazing and with the traditional German benches and great atmosphere this is a lovely place to visit!

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Speaking of Beer- ASTRA 

‘The only beer at the heart of Hamburg’, drinking a pint of ASTRA is a must whilst visiting the city. We had ours in a funky little winter sports themed bar on the Reeperbahn and I don’t know whether it was the holiday atmosphere or the beer itself, but it tasted wonderful.

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And as for cocktails, Goldfischglas..

In the funky neighbourhood of Sternschanze, this place was the epitome of cool. The bar was pumping SBTRKT as we sipped on our cocktails whilst hassling the couple next to us about the best places to go out in the city. Filled with students and the types of people that wear fedoras inside, I only wished it were open later on week nights.

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Go to Hamburg on a Weekend!! 

This was possibly the only disappointing aspect of our trip, we went midweek. A continuos stream of people explained to us that if only we’d come out on a weekend there would be so much more going on. This was including multiple invites to house parties and various club nights that were taking place on Friday and Saturday nights. We didn’t even manage to get to the famous nightclub, The Bunker. That being said, we did find a few places to go clubbing, some of which were pretty odd..

Hamburger Berg

This was the only place we could find to go dancing with our minimal knowledge of the city on a Wednesday night but it was great fun! We found a bar to dance in that played the kind of chart music that is fantastic when you’re incredibly drunk, which after a day fuelled by stein’s suited us perfectly. The drinks were cheap and there was even a photo booth inside the club.

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Beware of the cigarettes 

A word of warning: beware of the cigarette ends that fly around the clubs like fireflies on speed. I’d completely forgotten that people can smoke inside clubs and bars in Germany and with no forewarning I had completely no training in cigarette-end avoidance. I learned the hard way.

Chat to the locals!

We met some fantastic people in Hamburg that were amazing at helping us figure out what to do with our time in the city and even ended up drinking back at someones flat. Luckily for us, communication was no issue because their english was on par with Colin Firth’s.

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Rob and our new German buddy, Jonas

In fact, it was lucky we’d bumped into them at about 3 in the morning outside a bar on Hamburger Berg because they ended up taking us to the most bizarre club I’ve ever been to in my life..

The Golden Poodle Club

I’m still not actually sure if this place was a real club and I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly where it was.. It looked like a big house next to the harbour somewhere and I was slightly alarmed when the friendly German giant who had been leading the way shouted back over his shoulder to us, “Can you smell ze heroin?”. The place was covered in graffiti and it was completely surreal. There was no doorman, just one bar and a podium with the decks on, surrounded by a bunch of hipsters dancing the morning away.

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The U-Bahn is pips to use..

..and they don’t really check your tickets. It’s up to you wether you want to chance it, as the fine is supposedly very pricey, but they didn’t check our tickets once and we were using them all day long.

Air B’n’B 

As we were working on a budget we used air b’n’b to find somewhere to stay in the city. We ended up in a lovely area in the North of the city called Winterhude. It was very upmarket and we had a gorgeous flat to ourselves.

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A black coffee on the balcony every morning before heading out for the day absolutely made this trip for me, and we popped across to the supermarket for a cheap snack for breakfast. Would definitely advise staying in this area if you can as it really is lovely and you can get into town really quickly from here!

The one thing I wouldn’t advise however, is coming in drunk at 7am and breaking the lovely people who have let you stay in their home’s toilet..

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All in all Hamburg was an amazing city with loads of character and full of friendly and welcoming people, I’d definitely recommend a visit to anyone! 

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