Earlier this summer at a huge summer festival called Karneval der Kultern here in Berlin, a friend and I ran into some guys she knew from Hamburg. When I spoke to one of the guys about how it was living in Hamburg he proudly boasted, “Hamburg has more bridges than Venice!” Now, I’ve been to Venice, and could not believe that a city in Germany had more bridges than that city; Hamburg has 2300 bridges! This is more than London, Amsterdam and Venice combined. So, I guess he was right. That night a group of us decided to go to a hip hop event, where we were invited to their house party in Hamburg. My girlfriends and I were definitely in!
We decided to go for a four-day weekend and were looking forward to the party. The weather in Berlin was great and we just knew Hamburg would have great weather over the weekend. We grabbed affordable bus tickets for 22 euros (28$ USD) round trip on the bus line Meinfernbus. Before taking the bus in Europe, I wasn’t one for bus rides, no matter how short the ride. The bus arrived late to the station, but once we were on board and seated we were ready for the weekend. Did I mention that there was free Wi-Fi?! The ride through the country during the afternoon was peaceful and beautiful, and took about three hours.
We booked a flat on Airbnb, which I loved.There were four of us going and a nice kitchen, along with adequate sleeping space was important. We arrived to the flat only to see tons of Post-Its all over the place. I thought it was cute and thoughtful; someone thought it was anal (and very German). Whatever. The kitchen was even stocked, but that night we were invited to our friend’s place for dinner. We were not prepared for how stunning his place would be. It was a building that had three parts and housed about seventeen people. While his sister gave us a tour, we walked through the kitchens of other people as they ate, they didn’t seem to mind. It was so expansive, we wondered when the house would end! After our tour ended we were treated to a beautiful Italian dinner prepared by the guys.
Friday morning we made breakfast (perk of booking a flat), and went for a walk. We did a little shopping in a second-hand shop with one of the guys; afterwards, we did some exploring on our own. Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany with a population of roughly 1.8 million inhabitants. Getting around the city is relatively easy. Like Berlin, there are buses, the S-Bahn, and U-Bahn. We opted for the 3-day group pass that allows for unlimited public transportation as well as discounts to some of the city’s attractions and restaurants. We stumbled into a place in the district of Schanzenviertel called Mikawa. The food was good, but the miso soup was the saltiest I’ve ever had! It was affordable, clean and had a great atmosphere. Just avoid the miso soup and you will be fine. After lunch, we continued walking and exploring. As is customary for Hamburg, it started raining without warning, and soon we found ourselves in the middle of a cycling exhibition. After, my friend Felicia found a café called erste Liebe Bar (translates to first love). Great café! The coffee, cake and barista were all on point!
We walked a little more, then went back to our flat to prepare for the house party. We didn’t know what to expect, but were excited nonetheless. We were a ten minute walk away from the party and were surprised to see so many people. The house and garden were packed. We met people from all over Germany and The Netherlands who came for the party. Apparently these house parties are held annually and are quite legendary. We were ready to sweat the night away, and we did! There were DJs playing in blocks and we heard everything from Old School Hip Hop and R&B to Persian dance mixes. It was the largest and most organized house party I’d ever attended.
Drinks were sold and desserts were abundant and free. It was a diverse crowd and no drunken crazy people or fights. There were, of course, the creepy guys who post with a drink and just stand and stare at everyone. But aside from that, everyone came to have a blast. I don’t remember the time we left, but we were thoroughly spent. Saturday was simple; we spent the day recovering from the night before then took a walk around the city again. We had lunch at Bullerei, a restaurant owned by a renowned German chef. It was a bit overpriced for my liking, but we enjoyed the open kitchen and natural lighting. Sunday morning we prepared a huge brunch for our friends before we left.
My advice for Hamburg? GO! It is a beautiful city. Be prepared for the moody weather (think London and New York City). Also, Hamburg isn’t cheap, it is relatively expensive but won’t break the bank. If you can find awesome people who are throwing a house party in Hamburg, don’t question it – just go! Have an adventure!