Denmark, Germany, Netherlands – August 2015 (Part 2)

Denmark, Germany, Netherlands – August 2015

Part 2  – Hamberg, Germany
Pictures coming soon….


After arriving in Hamburg, we purchased our public transportation passes and made our way via Hamburg’s S-Bahn to Dammtor Station where our hotel was. Hamburg is divided into zones, and most tourists will be fine with an AB zone ticket; only if you need to go far outside the city will you need an ABCDE zone ticket. Hamburg’s public transportation company, HVV, does not sell multi-day tickets unless you need at least 7 days. Your best option is the Tageskarte (day card). It comes in 2 versions. The first is an all-day card good for 1 adult and up to 3 children under 14 years old. The second is known as the 9-Uhr-Tageskarte. It is valid only after 9 a.m. (after morning rush hour) for 1 adult and up to 3 children under 14 years old. However, if you are traveling with up to 5 people of any age and will always be traveling together, you can purchase a 9-Uhr-Gruppenkarte, which is cheaper for 2 adults than individual tickets. Again, it is only valid after 9 a.m., and all users must always travel together. But this last option can save a couple over 4 euros a day vs. 2 individual all-day cards.

Our hotel was located next to Dammtor Station, outside of which we saw a Kindertransport Statue. German for “children’s transport”, the statue commemorates a rescue effort that occurred in the nine months prior to the outbreak of World War II, during which approximately 10,000 Jewish children from all over Central and Eastern Europe were placed in foster homes, hostels, farms, and schools in the United Kingdom. In addition, around 1,400 children were brought to the United States. In 1939, influenced by Kristallnacht attacks in Germany, the Wagner-Rogers Bill aimed to admit 20,000 Jewish children into the U.S. through an increase in the immigration quota, but the bill failed in Congress due to an anti-Semitic Senator from North Carolina who blocked the bill from ever being voted upon. Often these children were the only members of their respective families to survive the war.


After storing our bags at the hotel, we walked down Colonaden, through Gastav-Mahler-Platz, to Jungfernstieg. This is a large commercial area where you can find shops like Apple, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès. The Jungfernstieg borders the Binnenalster (Inner Alster), from where you can get hour-long cruises, but more on that later.

Miniatur Wunderland

One of the main reasons we stopped over in Hamburg for two days was to go to Miniatur Wunderland. This is the largest model train display in the world and one of the most successful permanent exhibitions in Germany. The attraction, housed in a former warehouse along the Elbe River within walking distance of the Baumwall U3 station, is open 365 days a year. It is so popular with tourists and locals alike that the attraction’s website actually offers visitors a wait time predictor based on the number of pre-purchased tickets on a given day. Wait times in the mornings can easily exceed 1.5 hours. We reserved a time late in the day—after 5 p.m.—and walked right in when we got there. I would not suggest visiting Miniatur Wunderland without a reservation, and if you can avoid morning hours, do so. If you go in summer, closing time is between 10 p.m. and midnight.

We spent about 2 hours exploring everything Miniatur Wunderland has to offer and actually debated about going back a second day. Even if you aren’t into model trains, the attention to minute detail in every area of the attraction is something to be appreciated. You can see the employees working on new sections and see the massive computer displays that control the multi-level attraction. There are seven sections: the cities of Harz and Knuffingen in Southern Germany, Austria/Alps, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and the Knuffingen Airport, which is the newest part to open in 2011. The construction teams are also working on opening two new sections: Italy and France. But there is no opening date for either section.

The most fascinating part was the airport. After over 6 years of constructing every piece on site, the airport showcases 40 different aircraft, including a Cessna and an A380, taxiing independently from the airport to the runway, taking off, and landing. Each plane is equipped with lights and realistic turbine sounds for take-off and landing. Also of note is the Switzerland section, which is spread out over two stories and 2,691 sq ft. The Matterhorn model is almost 20 feet tall, through which visitors can pass to see the display from above.

Planten un Blomen

In central Hamburg, just south of the Dammtor train station, is a botanical garden whose name translates to “Plants and Flowers”. Originally designed as a zoological garden, the area was converted into a recreational area in the 1930s. The garden contains a tropical greenhouse, a rose garden, a tea pavilion, and the largest Japanese garden in Europe.

Alster Lake Cruise

As we have done in most of the cities we’ve visited, we took a cruise. In Hamburg, these are not river cruises, but cruises of the Alster Lake. This is a great way to spend an hour seeing the mansions that dot the lake. While there are more options in the summer season, winter cruises can also be taken on enclosed boats. These leave from the Jungfernstieg Pier.

Musical Theatre/Opera House

If you enjoy musicals or classical music, Hamburg is the place to be in Germany. Hamburg plays host to both permanent musicals and limited-run productions, and most of the city’s theatres are in the city’s harbor district, which lines the Elbe River. For fans of classical music, Hamburg is currently constructing a new performance arts theatre called the Elbephilharmonie, located right on the Elbe River. After several delays, the new building, which will also house the Westin Hamburg, should be open by January 2017.

Next stop, Berlin! –> To continue, Click here

Author: TTG Michael