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Walking the streets of Hamburg
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  • http://english.dbw.cn銆€銆€ 2013-01-18 14:56:50
     

    銆€銆€Canals flow between office and residential buildings in Germany's Hamburg, often called the "Venice of Northern Europe". Photos by Amber Wu Ping / for China Daily

    銆€銆€From St. Nikolai Memorial, visitors are rewarded by a stunning vista of Alster River and downtown Hamburg.

    銆€銆€St. Pauli Church burned down in 1842, but was rebuilt through donations.

    銆€銆€A stroll around Hamburg reveals a city with an interesting past and plenty to see and do. Amber Wu Ping takes a look around the harbor, churches and the infamous Reeperbahn.

    銆€銆€Outside the plane window as we descended to Hamburg Airport I could spy a city surrounded by forests and it immediately felt like I was on holiday. There's plenty to see and do in Germany's second largest city, but all was quiet as I took a 15-minute stroll from my hotel to the harbor on an early Sunday morning.

    銆€銆€The second largest port in Europe, situated on the Elbe River, spreads in front of me like a canvas. Ships from all over the world are gathered, mixing with local ferries and barges.

    銆€銆€The fish auction hall and paintings in souvenir shops along the harbor are reminders of its past glories as a major trading center.

    銆€銆€I spot people carrying baskets of fruit and fish and come across a market that is full of vendors selling small seafood hamburgers, snacks and flowers. It is packed with a mix of locals, tourists and night owls, who arrive after partying in the nearby red-light district of the Reeperbahn.

    銆€銆€A few blocks away, canals weave among offices and residential buildings, which is why the city is oft called the "Venice of Northern Europe".

    銆€銆€Another classic walking tour in Hamburg starts at the Rathaus, or City Hall.

    銆€銆€After the old City Hall was destroyed by fire in 1842, it took almost 44 years to build a new one, at a cost of around 80 million euros ($104 million) in today's currency.

    銆€銆€Stepping into this neo-Renaissance sandstone building, there are exhibitions detailing the development and history of the city.

    銆€銆€The second floor still maintains its original governmental functions with Renaissance-style offices and meeting rooms for Hamburg's parliament and senate.

    銆€銆€Meanwhile, in the city square, harbor and fish market, there are buskers everywhere and free concerts, making Hamburg a city of music.

    銆€銆€On Sunday afternoon, I stumble upon a free rock concert where both the young and old enjoy the sunny weather, beer and music.

    銆€銆€Walking south, I find myself surrounded by luxury boutiques and bustling shopping malls.

    銆€銆€To the left of the bustling shopping area lies the beautiful Alster Lake, where I take a river cruise.

    銆€銆€The captain and tour guide is obviously entertaining because everyone's laughing, though I can't understand much of what he's saying with my rudimentary German.

    銆€銆€However, I'm equally entertained by the lively scenery outside the window, as locals take to their boats and even paddle surf.

    銆€銆€Swans, ducks and geese bob on the blue water, lined by beautiful villas, where families barbecue or read in their courtyards.

    銆€銆€Hamburg is the media capital of Germany. Walking to Baumwall after the cruise, there's a majestic ship-like building belonging to the publisher Gruner + Jahr (home to Stern and GEO magazine), part of Bertelsmann, the biggest media group in Europe.

    銆€銆€Not far from G+J is St. Michaelis Church. It is the city's largest church and managed to survive the Allied bombings of World War II. The 132-meter high Baroque spire covered with copper has been a landmark for ships sailing up the river Elbe since it was constructed.

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    Author锛? 銆€銆€銆€Source锛? China Daily 銆€銆€銆€ Editor锛? Wu Qiong

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