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Monday, September 26, 2005

Hamburg - Day 1

With a little trepidation I head outside to find the taxi rank. For a change I find a driver very quickly, and he gladly wants to take me to my hotel, quickly taking my bags and putting them into the car. Wow, maybe my luck is changing.

It's only as we pull out from the station that I work out why he was so happy to take my fare - he was in the drop off point, not the pick up point. And by the queue of taxis that we pass, no wonder he's laughing.

However in keeping with my scatological experiences at train stations, I see my first pissoire and it's not a pretty sight when you're sitting down low in a taxi.

It's a fairly easy trip to the hotel - I know that it's on a pedestrian strip but the driver kindly drops me off at the closest point. It's also refreshing to see that he actually used his meter!

Lin is the manager of the hotel and she shows me to my room - its probably one of the smallest rooms ive had. I think if i was sit on the toilet i could have my feet in the shower. It's very clean and Lin couldnt be any friendly. She gets me a map and gives me an idea about the neighbourhood.

After I unpack a few things I head out for a little reconascence taking just the camera phone to get some snaps.

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Colonnade, as I mentioned is a pedestrian mall - one of several in the city. It runs at a diagonal and ends at the Binnealster, which is a lake.

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The first stop is to try out what looks like a starbucks but isn't. It's called Balzac Coffee and I try their caffe latte. Now, don't be looking down at me for going in there - I wouldn't normally but i'm a country that murders coffee.

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Apart from being served in a mug and having an over inflated head, it's not a bad coffee and it is made with real milk and served at close to the correct temperature.

This area is very much boutique central, it's very trendy, it's very upmarket. You name a label and they probably have a store here. Some of the side streets actually remind me a bit of melbourne. I could almost be crossing little bourke street. There's also lots of arcades, linking streets. It's already nicer than Cologne.

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These statues are of Hans Hummel, Hamburg's mascot (much better than that pissing boy from brussels) and from what I read, there's 100 of them in the city - all with different designs. These were snapped on the bridge near to the Alte Post, very near to the Rathaus.

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Just behind one of these guys you can see a canal boat - it's actually waiting in the lock for the water level to rise so it can move on. This definately is an area that has been revitilised - it's so clean and the buildings are in such good condition.

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The rathaus is definately and imposing building and a place I'll return to with the Nikon to get some decent shots.

Unfortunately it began to rain so I decided to take shelter and lucky for me, found a department store. Very much in the vein of David Jones, the Alsterhaus re-opened a couple of weeks ago - and it looks very shiny and new.

Glancing at the floor directory I spy a couple of interesting departments - one being the Champagne Bar and the food hall - both of which are on the top floor.
There's a fromagerie that apart from selling cheese, also serves it - on the menu theres a €10 tasting plate of 10 cheeses - that's something to think about.

For dinner I head for the restaurant next door that has the inticing name of Die Kartoffel (the potato).

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For an apertif, I settle for a Jagermeister. I then order the Potato soup with sausage and the Potato roesti with gravlax.

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For €3.80, this is very good deal. A heatry flavoursoup soup of chucky potatoes and sliced sausage. It's surprising delicious for something so simple. It goes down a treat.

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The photo doesnt do it justice. This is just so tasty and at a bargain €8.50. Four crisp and crunchy roesti are served with thickish slices of house cured salmon that take up most of the plate.

The white sauce is a sour cream and chives - perfect for the roesti, the sauce to the bottom is a honey dill sauce which is sublime with the salmon.There's also a little salad on the side.

The salmon couldnt be fresher and it's very lightly cured, it's still that fresh pink colour. The Roesti are meltingly soft on the inside, formed with shredded potatoes, and have that wonderful crunch on the outside. This has to be the best dish i've had so far.

Satisfied and very happy I wander off for a little stroll before returning to my hotel.

Crossing the Neuer Jungfernsteig, and onto the banks of the Binnenalster and take a few pics of the area.

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On the other side of this WC is the tourist map!

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Hamburger Hof - shopping plaza

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Alsterhaus

If you'd like to see more pics from today just click on the link
Hamburg Set

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