All posts by Hamburg Live

House of Consumption Culture LOKAL

The LOKAL is a tiny, old, bilious green house hidden behind a small fence, bushes and trees and located between a tire dealer, church institutions and regular residential buildings. I had passed it several times without noticing it until I was invited to an exhibition at the LOKAL. It was so unoptrusive that I passed by the location twice until I noticed it and eventually entered the building. I didn’t know what I had expected but definitely not something like I got to see inside: a rustic-style charming little house with unplastered walls, a DIY bar, old retro-like furniture, a wintergarden (smoking area) crowded with people. I was fascinated by this place of which I had never known existed.

The LOKAL serves as a place for consumption and culture and is run by the LOKAL e.V. – a charity association. It is a network and platform for creative people in Hamburg, enhancing sustainability and regional commonness. Here, everyone can participate in all kinds of events, DIY workshops, readings and lectures about fashion, textile, design and handmaking. It is functioning as a central and affordable space for young artists and creatives in Altona and close to the lively Sternschanze neighbourhood. Every 4th Wednesday of a month, it is rent-free and if you have a good idea for an event, workshop or similar you can apply to use the space.

Regularly organized workshops in August are nude drawing (free entrance), the sewing club, the knitting club (free entrance), and an exhibition (free entrance as well) called „…von Fischköppen und Sackgesichtern… „ („about fish heads and bastard faces“, quite common German word for different kinds of people).

It’s definitely worth visiting the LOKAL – over and over – because it is always surprising, different and inspiring!

„Hood of Stairs“ – The Treppenviertel

If you think Hamburg can only offer flat landscapes you are wrong! The Treppenviertel in Blankenese, Altona is a small neighbourhood located at a steep slope directly going down to the Elbe river. About 5.000 stairs lead through a cozy bunch of small mansions and ancient houses with a beautiful view on the container ships entering and leaving the Hamburg port. It is definitely worth to make a short trip to the Treppenviertel and climb up 88 meters while passing through meandering alleys and by white-painted houses enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.

It’s also easy to get there: If you take the S-Bahn #1 until Blankenese and from there bus #48 to Krögers Treppe (Fischerhaus) you are in the middle of the „Hood of Stairs“ – as I like to call the Treppenviertel – and can walk down the narrow stairs towards the Elbe.

In case, you are more keen of biking, you can rent a bicycle and take a ride along the Elbe river promenade (Strandweg) which is truely beautiful and not tiring at all. It’s a nice ride from Altona of about 10 kilometers and you’ll pass by the old villas of Övelgönne, the historical museum port, the Elbe beach, a few parks, a small, cute yacht harbour and maybe get to see one of the Airbus planes from afar which appear like flying wales. You will see a lighthouse after about 30 minutes of bicycling which is directly infront of the Treppenviertel. Get a drink directly at the Kajüte SB 12 or a little earlier at the Ponton op’n Bulln restaurant on a ponton on the river and then climb up the stairs until you reach the top, enjoy the view from a seemingly Mediterranean part of Hamburg.

During winter time, kids love to sledge on the adjacent sled tracks.

For cyclists and campers: The Waseberg right next to the Treppenviertel is well-known for its steep slope. If you keep going a little more along the promenade you will reach the Falkensteiner Ufer with the unique Elbe Camp – a hippie like camp ground with art, a beautiful and cleaner beach, a good restaurant, a playground for children and very nice people! In case, you are on your way with a caravan, please check out how to get there with a navigation system because it is not as easy to reach with a car of you don’t know the way. Don’t hesitate to ask people on the street – they usually know how to get there. It’s a wonderful place!

 

Photo: wikipedia / JoachimG

The Beautiful Public Transport Hamburg

You are anxious to see more of the beautiful city Hamburg? But you might be short of cash? Maybe you’re tired as well because of traveling, sightseeing or partying? Or the rain curbs your motivation to go outside and check out other parts of the city? I got the right thing for you to do:

My beloved public transport journey through Hamburg! It takes you around the industrial and historical harbor, the red light district Reeperbahn, HafenCity and the Elbe river beach and takes about 2-4 hours – depending on your linger mood and transport connections. Come sun, come rain – it’s the perfect tour for lazy feet. The only things, you need to get are a 9 o’clock public transport day ticket, your favorite drink & snack and of course your camera!

The so-called „9-Uhr-Tageskarte“ for the area „Großbereich“ costs € 5,90 per person (plus 3 children up to 14 years old) and is valid Mon-Fri between 0-6 a.m. and 9 a.m.-6 a.m. (of the following day). On the weekends and holidays you can use it all day for as many rides as you wish. Buy the ticket at any station (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, inside a ferry or from a bus driver). It already pays off to by a group day ticket (for up to 5 people) when you are more than one person.

Go to a supermarket (cheaper) or a kiosk (more fun and personal), get a local Fritz or Ali Cola, a charity-based Maracuja or Lime LemonAid, Viva con Aqua water or some fair trade coffee and get started! (Watch out: No alcohol allowed in public transport vehicles.)

Suggested starting point: Central Station

Get into U-Bahn #4 towards HafenCity Universität (7 minute ride) and have a look at the two newest underground stations of Hamburg at Oberhafenquartier with its underwater atmosphere and at the last station HafenCity Universität with its huge light cubes changing color. Find your way towards the newly built university, right next to the harbor and huge construction site fallows.

Catch bus #111 right across the university building at Shanghaiallee station and let it take you through the newest Hamburg district HafenCity, pass by Hamburg’s Golden Eye, a building which looks like a doner kebap spear and the Elbphilharmonie with its wavy rooftop. The bus passes by the pupular Herbert-Straße and Reeperbahn red light district, makes another loop around the beautiful historical fish market with its very last stop in Altona (29 minute ride).

There, take the bus #112 until Neumühlen/Övelgönne (7 minute ride) where you can check out the museum harbor with old wooden ships, have a walk along some ancient houses and villas until you get to the Elbe river beach, enjoy the view or have a cool drink a little further at the Strandperle – a popular beach café liked by most Hamburg citizens.

On your way back to the station, catch the ferry #62 towards Landungsbrücken and enjoy the beautiful view over Hamburg’s industrial harbor and the city skyline (18 minute ride).

At Landungsbrücken, get the U-Bahn #3 towards the Central station (8 minute ride) and have once more a beautiful view over Landungsbrücken, the harbor, HafenCity and the historical Speicherstadt until you are back at your starting point. You can also get off at the city hall (Rathaus) if you have not seen the Alster yet.

Still not enough? Take S-Bahn #31 or #11 towards Altona (12 minute ride), have a beautiful view over the inner Alster lake, some sweet murals on the way towards Holstenstraße and the water tower right before you enter Altona station.

Or: Take another ferry ar Landungsbrücken – e.g. # 73 towards Wilhelmsburg (Mon-Fri).

Of course, feel free to get off on the way and hop onto the next bus, subway, metro or ferry if you liked a spot on the way. That’s the public transport way to discover a city!

Low-Budget Festivals in Hamburg

Unique and temporary magic worlds inbetween informal networks

When you are in Hamburg, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on the one or other openair festivals – Jazz, Metal, electronic music, 70ies, rock, art and performances – all transforming (lost) spots in Hamburg’s urban environment. Here you can get a feeling of the music scene and how important such festivals are for Hamburg people who like to enjoy music in an artistic, unique, relaxed or crowded atmosphere.
Free/affordable, unique and colourful festivals are usually not promoted a lot (mainly due to financial reasons) but rather through local networks. I came up with a neat collection of interesting festival which are still coming up in 2014  (in chronological order):

 

Keine Knete – trotzdem Fete „no money – nonetheless party“
When: 25.07.2014 (Fri) – 27.07.2014 (Sun)
What: art, culture, music (HipHop, Punk, Rock, Techno, Dubstep, Drum’n’Bass, Jazz), workshops, festival for children, cinema, vegan food
Where: 21079 Hamburg
Comments: small size, noncommercial, outside

 

Hafengrün Festival „green harbour festival“
When: 01.08.2014 (Fri) – 03.08.2014 (Sun)
What: electronic music and free air culture. „Love, bass and sunshine“ at old harbour dockyard
Where: Altes Werftgelände, Neuhöfer Damm 98, 21107 Hamburg
Comments: 6-27 Euros

 

Spektrum
When: 02.08.2014
What: from HipHop, Dubstep to Drum’n’Bass
Where: MS Dockville Gelände, Alte Schleuse 23, Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg
Comments: cheap

 

Butterland Open Air
When: 03.08.2014
What: techno, electro, electro-swing, djs…
Where: MS Dockville Uferpark, Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg
Comments: cheap, cool location!

 

international summer festival
When: 06.08.2014 – 24.08.2014
What: art, performance, installations, theatre
Where: Kampnagel
Comments: costs depend on show, very interesting cultural venue

 

KNOTEN.13 „Festival for urban art“
When: 11.10.2014 – 13.10.2014
What: 40 urban art artists from all over Germany (“Zipper – Die Rakete”, Uli Pforr, Elmar Lause), music
Where: Kolbenhof, Friedensallee 128, 22763 Hamburg
Comments: 3-10 €, very charming venue, „we don’t want to show just art, we want to celebrate it!“

 

Kulturflut „culture flood“
When: 02.10.2014 – 04.10.2014
What: music (Folk Rock, Ska, Kammerpunk, Singer), local and international artists, readings, comedy, art exhibition, impro theatre, programme for children
Where: Gorch-Fock-Park, Finkenwerder-Hamburg
Comment: partly for free, first time ever!

 

Got money – more festivals
There are the ‘biggies’ with crowds of visitors, with a certain theme, and often expensive. Free exceptions are the Duckstein Festival (18.-27.07.14) and the legendary 70ies music parade Schlagermove in St. Pauli. Special but rather expensive are the metal festivals Wacken Open Air, Hamburg Metal Dayz and Elbriot FestivalDockvilleReeperbahn FestivalFilmfest Hamburg with national and international movies, Überjazz and Elbjazz.

 

Back again in 2015
Special, free but only again in 2015 are Hamburg’s Woodstock-like festival Wutzrock (since 1979), peaceful electronic dancing at Grünanlage, ska etc. at the Sommerfest Umsonstladen HeimfeldJazz Open at Planten un Blomen park, the cultural neighbourhood festival Altonale48 Stunden Wilhelmsburg, and the International Short Film Festival (2014 30th anniversary!).
In case, you plan to experience Hamburg in 2015, definitely check out one of these great events.

 

Hints on facebook
Would you like one more hint? I check out current open airs, usually small, for free and noncommercial here. Festivals and open airs are definitely worth to check out in Hamburg! Be open for surprises and some magic 😉

Guide to Hamburg’s Parks

Since the sun came out for the Hamburg summer in the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time in the leafy parks across the city.

Whether I’m picnicking with friends or reading by myself, I’m constantly in a haze of wonder at the beauty and diversity across these grassy city retreats. And I’m not just talking about the whispering trees and blooming flowers; I’m talking about the humanity!

Everywhere you look there are humans engaged in the most diverse range of activities. From sports to picnics, we’ve got you covered with everything you’ll need to have a parkfect day out.

Park Day Out Checklist

  • Take a blanket or rug big enough for your group of pals (or yourself!) to sit on.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the german sun, you CAN get burnt! If it’s hot, take some sunscreen.
  • If you’re by yourself, take a book to read and find a shady tree to relax under.
  • Sports! Throughout hamburg’s parks you will find an endless array of activities going on; there’s slack lining, tennis, bowls, badminton, football, hula hoops, juggling, cycling, skateboarding and acrobatics; to name a few! So if you can, head down to the park with a football or hacky sack so you’re not overcome with jealousy of all the fun everyone else is having. If you don’t have any games to take to the park you can always chat the the lovely people with the slack lines, they are usually happy to give you a go! Or take a deck of cards to pass the time with friends.
  • Food. Take a picnic lunch with you for the cheapest alfresco meal in the city. The local supermarkets (like Edeka) sell nifty little BBQ sets, a foil tray of coals with a mini grill on top. Pick one of these up for around €3 and some bratwurst and you’ll be having a right ole German time. They are SO easy to use, and you can cook just about anything on them, right there in the park.
  • Drinks. It is legal to drink on the streets of Hamburg, and yes… this includes the parks. Pick up some cold beers or a bottle of wine to add to you picnic.

Now that you’re a fully equipped and professional German picnicker, you need to find a park to rock out in. Hamburg is a really green city, there are parks and gardens and cemeteries everywhere. Here are three of my favourites:

Planten un Blomen (Best for: Families/ Sight Seeing/ Couples)

At 47 hectares in size, Planten un Blomen is one of the largest parks smack bang in the middle of the city. This park is great for wandering around, visiting the different themed gardens and taking in the perfectly manicured landscapes. They offer free deck chairs for you to enjoy the sun on and there are amazing fountains and sculptures scattered across the grounds. There are also cafes and ice-cream shops, and even water-based games for the kids to play (for free).

planten

Wohlers Park (Best For: Slack-lines/ Group Picnics/ Couples)

Wohlers Park is an old cemetery, tucked away in the St Pauli district. Don’t be turned off by it’s title as a cemetery though, this park couldn’t be more full of life. Tree lined paths weave in and out of hidden glades, picnic areas and open meadows. What I love most about this park is that despite its smallish size, you can still get lost in it due to the clever planting of trees and bushes that create so many hidden little parts. On a weekend the large open areas are full of people having picnics and playing sports. The overall vibe here is amazing and it is one of my favourite places in the whole city.

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Schanzenpark (Best For: Drinking/ Sun Bathing/ Socialising)

Schanzenpark is located just behind Sternschanze U-Bahn station. The park itself is quite big, but the particular area I am talking about here is the main hill. Everyone gathers on this hill that catches the afternoon sunshine and every ray right until nightfall. Because of the angle of the hill towards the sun it’s great for sun bathing, but it’s also where people go to drink and hang out. There is usually a dude with a guitar or sound system as well sharing music across the grassy knoll. If you want to relax, perhaps try another park; if you want to party before the sun goes down; try the hill.

schanzenpark

Jim Burrito

Jim Burrito is THE BEST Mexican in Hamburg.

Hidden behind a dingy facade on Schulterblatt, Jim Burrito is serving up to most delectable burritos and quesadillas from 12pm-12am everyday.

For vegetarians and vegans they have a fantastic menu too, more options than your sombrero’ed head could ever dream of (ok, you don’t actually wear sombreros here…) My personal favourite is the tofu quesadilla, served with salsa, guacamole, sour cream and salad. The serving sizes are very generous, and I still haven’t managed to get through a whole burrito by myself yet.

For drinks they have the ever popular craft beer Rathshern on tap with a variety of other bottled beers and soft drinks.

While you are devouring your scrumptious mexican, the guys at Jim Burrito are constantly rocking out to some of the best playlists I’ve heard in a restaurant. Depending on the day you’ll be treated with anything from old school hip hop, modern indie, hard rock or even some nostalgic pop punk tunes.

You can find Jim Burrito at Schulterblatt 12, Hamburg 20357

Hostel Recommendation: Backpackers St Pauli

Looking for a cheap and cheerful bed in Hamburg? Backpackers St Pauli offers you just this, and oh so much more.

Nestled in a quiet residential street in the heart of Hamburg’s hip and alternative St Pauli district, Backpackers St Pauli provides a fantastic base for exploring the creative districts situated in the West of Hamburg. The Reeperbahn with it flashing neon signs and flashing women and Sternschanze with its sunny cafes, indie boutiques and eccentric charms are both only a ten minute walk away (in opposite directions). You’re smack bang in the middle of the St Pauli flame that burns so brightly it  casts a glow across the entire city.

The hostel itself is wonderful. The beds are comfortable, the rooms are delightfully clean and full of light and sunshine. Each room has an en suite with tiles that gleam so white you might feel like your staying at a fancy hotel. Wifi floods every corner of the building (I know, shock horror…. but it’s true!) and the hostel also boasts a huge common room with fully equipped kitchen where you can mingle with other guests. Oh, and there is a big outdoor area complete with BBQ!

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And then… there is the eclectic crew of staff. Get chatting to them in the reception (which doubles as a cafe and bar), they are just waiting to answer your questions, tell you crazy Hamburg stories, and steer you in the right direction for a great night out without all the tacky tourist cliches.

I would definitely recommend booking in advance for weekends and peak seasons, you can make reservations via their website linked here.

Enjoy your stay in Hamburg!

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Alternative Hamburg Tours

I’ve been living in Hamburg a little while now, but I recently went on the Alternative Hamburg walking tour and was blown away with how much I learnt.

The tours market themselves as an ‘alternative culture’ tour, covering everything from street art and graffiti, politics and protests, history and gentrification… and everything in between.

We spent two hours wandering around the districts of St Pauli and Sternschanze as our guide, Judy, opened our minds and eyes to little hidden pieces of street art and shared endless stories and quirky facts about the areas I have come to love.

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For a first time visitor in Hamburg, I really recommend taking this tour. As Judy was telling us at the end, a lot of tourists miss out on these special neighborhoods all together as they aren’t often mentioned on sightseeing websites and the like. But if you want to discover the real heart of Hamburg, and all it’s eclectic charms then head over to the Alternative Hamburg website to book your places.

To make these inspiring tours even better, they are run on a pay-what-you-want-basis so all budgets can afford to discover the hidden side of Hamburg’s bohemian districts. The walk takes just over two hours and starts at 1pm every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday near Sternschanze S-Bahn Station. When you book your places online, you will receive an email with directions to the meeting point.

 

www.alternativehamburg.com

info@alternativehamburg.com

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Store of the Week: Kleidermarkt

When I first arrived in Hamburg, I was struggling to find decent vintage clothes stores at affordable prices. The second hand stores in the touristy areas are a bit too expensive for my budget, and often have limited offerings.

I was in vintage-despair… until I stumbled across Kleidermarkt. As soon as I walked through the doors and the sweet musty smell of recycled clothes reached my nostrils I began laughing to myself and without realising it, I did a little dance right there in the entrance of the store. I had died and gone to some sort of retro heaven.

Kleidermarkt is HUGE. Like really, really big (1500 square meters to be exact). The big warehouse-esque space is jammed pack with the most exciting array of clothing from the past 6 decades in every colour, cut, texture and style you could ever dream of. And it won’t cost you a months pay cheque to look like a 1970s super model either.

At the back of the store is the sale section… Dresses for €5, Skirts for €3 and T-Shirts for €2. On Wednesday’s as well, from 11am – 4pm you can get 30% off all full priced items.

Kleidermarkt Hamburg_2

You will need to travel away from the busy tourist areas to find Kleidermarkt, but if you’re after beautiful and affordable clothes, it’s definitely worth it. You can find the store at Max-Brauer-Allee 174, 22765 Hamburg.

 

Party of the Year – Hamburg’s Port Birthday

So guess what tomorrow is guys!? …It just so happens to be the greatest harbour festival IN THE WORLD, right here in Hamburg! Yes, that’s right, this weekend over a million visitors will flock to the harbour to celebrate 825th birthday of the Port. Personally, I can’t wait to see the birthday cake that fits 825 candles (*this may not be an actual event), but there are a TONNE of other exciting activities to keep you entertained this weekend as well!

It would take me about a month to list all the events for the festival, they are endless! But you can find the complete programme here.

As usual, I aim to write about the more eclectic, alternative and fun aspects of Hamburg that aren’t covered by the major tourism websites. Here are my top 4 events for the Harbour Festival:

1. HAFENROCK!

A mini music festival on the harbour, and it’s free!There are three stages to choose from, spanning genres from reggae, folk, punk, ska, rock, jazz and gypsy swing. Check out their website for full listings.

2. Rustic Fishermans Village @ StrandPauli

Fisherman’s cottages, delicious traditional food and live music will take over the ‘beachfront’ at StrandPauli Beach Bar from 10am til midnight, Friday – Sunday.

3. Harbour Fun

So, while this isn’t a single event, I suggest you spend some time admiring the incredbly beautiful and diverse ships and boats on the harbour for the festival.Vessels come from all around the wolrd to join in this celebration, so there is plenty to feast your eye upon! At 7pm on Friday there is also a water-skiing show on the harbour!

4. Buenos Aires Argentinian Festival at Kehrwiederspitze

Think Argentinian style BBQs, wine, music and dancing.

5. Fireworks!

Who doesn’t love fireworks. Silly colourful explosions in our sky… humans are so crazy. Enjoy the spectacle on Saturday night at 10.30pm.