After taking a connecting flight to Heathrow from Leeds/Bradford Airport, we had a second short BA flight into Hamburg. I had not visited Germany for many years and it was to be my first visit to this northern city. Transferring into the city centre was very easy as trains connect the airport with Hamburg Hof station. Glancing at our map, we walked the short distance to our hotel, the Baseler Hof standing proud on the Esplanade. It’s a beautiful, old hotel with elegant furnishings and attentive staff.
After settling into our room, we found an attractive cafe for some lunch before heading out to explore the city. It was an icy cold February afternoon but the sun was shining. The main square is dominated by the majestic City Hall (Hamburg Rathaus), built between 1886 and 1897 with its impressive architecture it dominates the city centre.
Nearby we came to the elegant Arkaden, a series of historic arcades inspired by Venetian architecture and lit in the fading afternoon light by ornate wrought iron lamps, its now the home to designer stores and exclusive retailers. The pathway leads along canal paths where former warehouses have been renovated into stylish waterfront apartments.We continued exploring the city centre and were impressed with its style and sophistication. A beer hall was offering mulled wine so we stepped inside and warmed ourselves in front of a roaring fire with glasses of the warm liquor. Filled with a warm glow we returned to our hotel along the Binnenalster, the smaller of the two artificial lakes formed from the River Alster. After a rest in the hotel and pre dinner drinks it was off for dinner in a traditional ‘beer house’ a few streets away. I felt compelled to try the local delicacy, a pork schnitzel which was so enormous I hardly knew where to begin!