I recently took a two-day trip to Hamburg, a port city in the north of Germany that is said to have one of the largest harbors in the world.

Leaving at around 7:30 am to take a train, first from Brandenburg to Berlin and then continuing onward after a short window of time, a friend of mine and I arrived midday at the Hamburger Hauptbahnhof.  Our first stop was the information center, where we received a city map with key interest points highlighted by the female desk assistant.  We decided to go the casual route, opting to shop a bit, walk along the harbor and get burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe strictly based on the irony of eating Hamburgers in Hamburg.

As I plan to return to Hamburg over the next year, I was not in a tourist’s rush to see all the major sights, but rather experienced the city by exploring.

The Passage Kino Hamburg, where we spent the evening watching the film ‘Bis zum Horizont, dann Links‘ in a small, eight-row theatre, is the oldest such movie theatre in the city (information given to us by an employee upon our inquiring about the building’s history).  We hit a cafe for some late desert crepes and walked along the magically lit up Jungfernstieg, an incredibly well laid out street of shops and cafes along the shore of the Binnenalster, an artificial lake.

The following morning we took a boat tour along the river Elbe and passed by some of the most expensive-to-own apartment complexes and business suites.  This view of the city, as well as the view I experienced whilst walking around the city centre gave me the impression that Hamburg is quite wealthy.  I was particularly struck by a two-story, 5 Star Abercrombie and Fitch where merchandise prices seemed to hover casually over the 100 euro mark; we were greeted by a half-naked store model at the door and an extremely tall statue of David in the foyer.  The over layout of expensive shops and upscale restaurants reminded me of Unter den Linden in Berlin, the Champs Elysées in Paris and Ulica Nowy Świat in Warsaw.