I have a habit of globetrotting, usually to visit my wayward actory friends in random locations – they do get about.
In my time I’ve gallivanted around Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, New York, Chicago, Melbourne, Sydney and well, Leeds… but this weekend my awesome dedication to friendship/preference for holidays where I don’t have to pay for hotels took me to Hamburg where my dearest Stark has been rehearsing for some glamorous world cruise or some lark, as you do.
I’ve not done Germany before, save for an unplanned detour on the way back from Vienna back in the days of the Ash Cloud (is he still on Twitter?) so it’s been on my list for a while. I’ll be straight with you, there ain’t much going on in Hamburg. Well, actually, there’s a lot going on, but most of it is unsuitable for pre-watershed reading. Hamburg is basically Grimsby with a Red Light District.
Thankfully, the benefit of visiting a place that your bestie has been living for the past two months (even if it’s Grimsburg) is that you don’t have to waste time going to the wrong places, you head straight for the good stuff, and she’s figured her way around pretty damn well and found some absolute gems. So the good news is I can do a decent ‘guide to Hamburg’ in the space of a few lines.
- Go on a week day – or at the very least learn your way around before the weekend hits so you have somewhere safe and wholesome to hite because GOOD LORD the stag dos. They are everywhere on Friday and Saturday night, and they will make you want to stab an entire gender in the balls. There are streets women aren’t allowed to go down unless they are prepared to fork over access to their knickers for euros. If I’d had a spare with me, I’d have burned my bloody bra.
- Line your stomach – in the absence of too much to actually do, you will drink. A lot. I can recommend 20 Up bar, Hamburg’s staple sky bar, with beautiful views and a cocktail made with 6 kinds of rum that tastes of pure wonderment.
- Google brunch. Brunch is good. And so is lunch. I basically spent Sunday doing brunch until it became lunch, until I got on a plane at 7pm. Particularly recommend Café May on Hein-Hoyer-Straße for bottomless brunch, Café Mimosa on Clemens-Schultz-Straße for… well… mimosas, and Kaffee Stark* on Wolfwhistle St (Wohwillstraße) for cheese boards, wine and musty yet cosy sofas.
- I hear there is art. We didn’t really find any because we were pre-occupied with the aforementioned booze, but it’s there and apparently it’s quite good.
Of course, it wasn’t really about the brunch (though that was an added bonus) and frankly I would have quite happily have spent a weekend in actual Grimsby for the few hours of wine fuelled catching up with my girl that we managed to crowbar in between rehearsals and hangovers. Here’s a collection of indulgent fake polaroid snaps for your viewing pleasure.
Auf wiedersehen, pet and all that.
*Kaffee Stark – go for the name, stay for the dairy products.