Category Archives: Hangouts

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!

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).

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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.

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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

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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Soul’s Darkside – Le Fonque

a) Are you a vampire?

b) Does the thought of a dark room with sensual red lighting turn you on?

c) Do you like to get down to Soul, Funk and Disco tunes?

d) Does the sound of vinyl stir your little stomach butterflies?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you must read on, I have found your new favourite Hamburg hangout.

Since 1995, Le Fonque has been spinning their vinyl decks to bring revelers the finest soul and funk tunes… every night of the week! The dimly lit room, soft couches and blood red lighting create an intimate ambiance while the DJs unite the bar through the love of music.

Le Fonque is open every night of the week from 9pm. Depending on what time and day you go, it will either be a sexy little retreat where you can get cosy on the plush couches, or it will be bursting at the seems as everyone gets down to the funky vibes.

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You can find Le Fonque just off the busy Shulterblatt at Juliusstraße 33, 22769.

Rainbow Fountains and Fields of Flowers

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love Planten un Blomen already for its 47 hectares of sprawling gardens, lush grass, public sunbathing chairs and colourful array of blooming flowers, now the Summer Programme has begun too!

From public orchestra performances, guided walks, workshops, pop concerts and of course, the famous Wasserlichtspiele (water light show), you can find the entire programme here.

I went to see the water light show the other night, and I was extremely impressed. Take a little picnic dinner and some drinks, and set yourself up in front of the Great Lake at about 9.30pm. The show starts at 10pm every night, but it can get quite crowded!

The show is controlled by two artists, who sync the display to an amplified soundtrack. One controls the water jets while the other controls the extravagant lighting system. The theme of the music changes over the course of the summer as well.

It’s free, it’s romantic, it’s beautiful and awe-inspiring; a definite must see while in Hamburg.

 

Paradise in Hamburg – StrandPauli Beach Bar

One of my favourite things about Hamburg (besides it’s fiery community spirit, unique culture and diverse creativity) is it’s BEACH BARS!

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as reclining in a deck chair, sand between your toes and cold beer (or cocktail!) in hand. And luckily for you dear reader, you can find such tropical-esque escapes all over Hamburg. Over the course of Spring and Summer we will be bringing you a series of articles covering our favourite beach bars. And first on our list? …Strand Pauli!

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As soon as you walk through the entrance of Strand Pauli you begin to fall in love with the place. Incredible views of the River Elbe, couches and deck chairs scattered around so you can soak up the sun’s rays and watch the passing ships. As the sun sets, a romantic atmosphere falls across venue; If you dig your toes into the sand you can still find the hints of warmth from the day’s sunshine, and overhead strings of little lanterns light up to illuminate the paradise that is StrandPauli.

They also offer a great menu of delicious food and drinks (we recommend the quiche!), and on Sundays there is a breakfast buffet from 10am. We highly recommend you arrive early to find the perfect place to perch in the sunshine, as it can get quite busy when the weather smiles!

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Strand Pauli is open from 11am – 11pm everyday (Midnight on Friday and Saturdays).

You can find StrandPauli on the harbour front at Hafenstraße 89, 20359 Hamburg.

 

 

The Mobile Blues Club

Tucked away in a little Sternchanze parking lot sits the Mobile Blues Club. An old wooden truck wagon set back among the trees and rainbow fairy lights. A hand-made iron archway on the street declares ‘bar’, but at first one might be dubious as to what the wagon at the end of the dirt track actually contains. At first I thought it was a private campervan, the motley collection of people milling outside part of some eclectic looking private party that I desperately wanted to be a part of.

Fear not though readers, this incredible venue is open to the public, and the lovely staff at the Mobile Blues Club will welcome you with open arms. When you step inside the ‘front door’ of the wagon you are instantly embraced into the most intimate and alluring music venue I have been to in a long, long time.

The soft candlelight dances across walls the colour of red wine. Heavy velvet curtains frame the performer on stage. Everyone sits close together on chairs or on the floor as live music rattles the bones of the wagon and unifies the small crowd in a bohemian romance. The Mobile Blues Bar is a truly magical musical experience.

The venue can fit around 20 people comfortably. The music is first-class, spanning genres from Folk and Blues to Punk Country. The drinks are cheap. AND the entire production is run on donations, a felt hat is passed around for you to offer what you can for the performance.

For a special night out with a bit of an alternative twist, we definitely recommend a trip to the Mobile Blues Club. The wagon is open Weds-Sun and live music usually starts around 9.30pm. Check Mobile Blues Club for full details and listings.

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You can find the wagon in the parking lot on the corner of Schulterblatt and Max-Brauer-Allee (next to Central Park).