This is part four of mine and Matt’s 18 day interrail adventure in Europe! Over the 2 and a half weeks, we went to 5 countries across Europe, starting in Budapest. You can read how it all began here and my previous post on our third stop to Prague here. Today I’ll be sharing our adventure in Germany!
The train from Prague to Hamburg was our longest yet. It was a 7 hour journey. Luckily, it was a direct train so we avoided the stress of transfers.
Throughout the train ride, I was so buzzed to get to Hamburg. Hamburg initially wasn’t in our plans, but when we realised that we would be in Europe the same time my friend, Georgie and her husband, Nick were going to be around, we decided to make the journey.
Georgie has been one of my long time friend in the blogosphere, we literally grew up online talking to each other but have never had the chance to meet because she lives on the opposite side of the world. It was really fun to watch Georgie’s Instagram stories as she arrived to Hamburg! As we approached Hamburg, I was getting pretty excited.
This is also the city our friend Darren was joining us for the last leg of our trip.
We arrived at around 4pm. Because we were carrying our heavy bags, we were keen to get to our Airbnb as soon as possible. After scratching our heads for a bit on how to get a metro ticket, we finally got our ticket and made our way to our Airbnb.
Our first impressions of the area of our Airbnb weren’t great, it all felt quite strange… a little shady is what I remember saying to describe the area. But as soon as we got to our Airbnb, it was all okay! Shortly after, Darren joined us and we spent some time catching up and chilling out.
We had a few snacks here and there throughout our journey but was hungry for more food! Darren suggested we go just around the corner to get some burritos which sounded amazing to me 😋
After our burritos, we went for a walk down towards the harbour. It was actually quite refreshing, and relaxing walking there as the sun set. Nearby was the Madonna der Meere – a memorial for the 26,000 sailors who have been lost at sea since 1985. “to the imperishable sea, to the ships that are no more and to the simple men who have had their day.”
Before we visited, I didn’t actually know much about Hamburg and so it took me by surprise when I found out that it is the second largest city in Germany as well as having one of the major ports in Europe.
Being exhausted from our travelling, we decided to head back after our walk and play a few games of Uno before calling it a night and calling me champion of Uno. 😜
The next day we all woke up super excited to explore Hamburg and of course, meet Georgie and Nick!
Matt discovered the cafe “Pauline” on a Pauline Street, near a Pauline Place and a Pauline Park and Garden. So yeah, it was literally the best discovery ever. 😂 We decided to go there for breakfast.
That face when you spot all things Pauline 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/XCLaUtUjgQ— Darren (@MrDarrenV) April 30, 2019
On our way to Pauline (😂), we walked through some streets that was littered with broken glass and trash which we later discovered was the red light district of Hamburg. Unlike Amsterdam, it was more sleazy than classy. If you’ve been to both, you’ll know what I mean. It was hilarious walking down the street though, with music blasting out of the empty clubs and pubs.
With the area being deserted most of the time, it felt a little spooky walking down dirty streets covered in random graffiti and stickers. 🤷🏻♀️
Unfortunately, once we arrived at Pauline they were full and couldn’t let us in. We asked again after we had seen a group leave, but were asked to leave. 😅 Although we were all very disappointed, we decided to head to the centre of Hamburg to get some breakfast.
After breakfast, we walked around the town hall. We had thought that it was just our area that was quiet, but the centre of Hamburg seemed to be just as quiet. This was later explained by Georgie and Nick that it was a National Holiday – we had no idea!
Still around the same area, we walked to the Apple Store so that Matt could get another Swarm check-in and photo at an Apple Store in a different country. 😂
After this, we crossed the road on our way to the Speicherstadt area where we would then head to for lunch and the Miniature Wunderland Museum for the afternoon. It was here where… we bumped into Georgie and Nick totally by accident.
Honestly it took me days to process what actually happened, because it was such a blur.
I remember helping Darren out with posting an IG story and then I look up and see Georgie and Nick just there – right in front of us!
After some screaming and tearing up (I gotta be honest y’all 😆) from both me and Georgie, I gave her the biggest hug. I was super aware that my face was probably incredibly shocked.
The first thing I said (after the screaming and omg’s) was something like “omg, you guys have just jumped out of my Instagram feed.” 🤣
We had planned to meet for dinner, so bumping into her was such a pleasant surprise. Within 5 minutes of meeting Georgie, she started teaching me how to floss in the middle of Hamburg. Truly iconic.
Just like the times I’ve met my other online friends in real life, it always feels like a catch up rather than meeting for the first time. It was so surreal. 🥰
You can read Georgie’s account of us meeting here, as she said, if you happened to catch us on video meeting for the first time, slide into the DMs. 😆
Filled with excitement, we carried on our way to Speicherstadt. Passing through the St. Nikolai Memorial which apparently has one of the best views of Hamburg (we didn’t go up the viewing platform) and stopping at a Thai restaurant for lunch. This was definitely my favourite part of Hamburg, there were little green spaces where you could chill out and watch the boats. I could imagine being popular in the summer! Also fun fact – it’s the largest warehouse district in the world.
We then headed to the Miniature Wunderland Museum. This was one of the most recommended things to visit in Hamburg! After seeing Georgie’s stories from when she visited the day before, I was looking forward to visiting. The museum is a huge collection of a constantly expanding model railway based on famous global sites.
There were models of Venice, Rome, an airport, the mountains in Switzerland and even one of Hamburg.
One of the main things I love about Instagram is the community feel that it has. When I was posting about Hamburg, I hadn’t realised that I had a few followers who were either from Hamburg or visit frequently. They all sent me some fantastic local recommendations to see which I really appreciated 😄 One of those suggestions was to go up the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg for a fantastic view of Hamburg from the city’s tallest building. It is apparently best to go up there when the sun is setting but with the weather that we had, we didn’t expect much but the grey clouds.
I feel like I always say this, but I had never felt colder than I did when we were up there. It was freezing and being underdressed didn’t help 😅 We found a little café inside the building where we warmed up.
There were other suggestions that we really wanted to do such as getting a ferry that was covered by a standard day pass, but just didn’t have the time and also the weather wasn’t doing us any favours. 🥶 If I were to visit again, this is something I’d love to do!
We finished off our day having dinner with the Cookes at a nearby italian restaurant. 😍 Still can’t believe I can write that. 😍After dinner, we headed back to the town hall to get our metro where we were led by Nick who has the best sense of direction ever 😂
Spending time with Georgie and Nick was honestly one of the highlights of my whole interrail trip.
Today has been ✨incredible✨— Pauline P. Narvas 🐾 (@paulienuh) May 1, 2019
I’m still processing it all, but in the meantime – here’s a boomerang of me and @georgiecel super hyped after Italian food in Hamburg 🍝
Totally still grinning my face off 💜💙 pic.twitter.com/GZ9FcRJZKW
Up bright and early the next day, we headed to the train station to catch a train to the final stop of our interrail trip – Paris!
Darren didn’t take the train with us, but instead flew to Paris. This gave him more time to do things we couldn’t such as the ferry and visiting some of the parks.
Ahead of us was an 8 hour long journey, but we were still buzzed from the day before and were excited to get to Disneyland. 🙈
Overall, Hamburg was worth the visit. Of course, meeting Georgie and Nick was a huge highlight but having Darren join us at the last leg kept us all enthusiastic (even though we were exhausted at this point), seeing mini models at the Miniature Wunderland Museum and walking around the dodgy streets of Pauline really added to the whole European adventure. 😄