Amsterdam – City of channels
There are three things that are immediately noticeable when you arrive in Amsterdam. Firstly the Dutch are tall, very tall. Secondly, bicycles have the right of way and there are a lot of them (12,000 bikes get dredged out of the canals annually). Thirdly, Amsterdam is a beautiful city where life flows along in a relaxed fashion. There’s also plenty of culture in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum, the largest museum in the Netherlands, is famous for works by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals.
The Van Gogh Museum houses some 200 paintings and 550 sketches showing the artist in all his moods. The Civic Guards Gallery, which is free, (Schuttersgalerij) offers more paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Another great Amsterdam tradition is its cafe culture. At every corner there’s a cafe, from jaor chains to small and intimate places with crazy sairs and low beams that hark back to a nage when people were shorter. They are the perfect places to watch Amsterdam’s life go past.
But the Dutch also know how to be festive and Holland’s ‘Koninginnedag’ – the Queen’s birthday celebrations on April 30 – has a special place in every Dutchman’s heart. It attracts millions of partygoers, and every year it just gets bigger. Amsterdam turns into the world’s largest flea market with thousands of stalls springing up in every available space.
Useful tips while traveling in Hamburg
It is easy to get around Hamburg thanks to its compact centre and excellent transport system. A Hamburg Card provides unlimited access to public transport and free or reduced admission to top tourist attractions (hamburg-tourism.de).
As Hamburg is surrounded by water it would be a shame not to explore the city by boat, ferry or steamer. On a warm summer’s day do as the locals do and take a cruise from the Binnenalster (Inner Alster) to the Aussenalster and its parkland fringes.
Travel information and weather
The best time to visit Hamburg is late spring or early summer when the weather is mild. The warmes months in Hamburg are June, July and August, with mean temperature to 19 to 22 degrees celsius. The coldest month is January when the average temperature is around -2 degrees celsius. The local currency is the euro (1 american dolalr = €0.73 approximately).
Emirates flies daily between Dubai and Hamburg. Visit emirates.com or emirates-holidays.com for further information.
Interesting facts about Hamburg
Europa Passage is one of Hamburg’s glitziets city centre shopping malls; The ‘Speicherstadt’ district consists of old warehouses built on thop of oak poles. Since 1991 the buildings have been listed and now house numerous museums and shsops; a cafe in the warehouse is surrounded by water and has more bridges than Amsterdam and Venice put together; The Hamburg Dungeon displays 2,000 years of Hamburg’s darker history, complete with a torture chamber; ‘Knot Otto’ is one of the more unusual attractions at the Hamburgers Fischmarkt; the spire of the St Michaelis church offers stunning views and boasts Germany’s biggest tower clock; the Hamburgher Fischmarkt is as much about free entertainment as it is about shopping.
Hamburg – Accommodation and cuisine
Where to stay
The elegant InterContinental Hotel (Fontenay 10, intercontinental.com) is located in a quiet setting overlooking Alster Lake. Relax and enjoy the indoor swimming pool, spa treatments and wellness bar. The city centre, main business dictrict and Congress Centre are within easy walking distance. Park Hyatt Hotel (Bugenhagenstrasse 8 hamburg.park.hyatt.com) is classy and centrally situated. Enjoy high tea in the hotel’s Park Lounge with its views of teh busy Mönckebergstrasse.
What to eat and drink?
Hamburg’s cuisine is largely influenced by the city’s proximitiy to the sea. rEgional fish dishes include plaice, herring and shrimp with eel soup a speciality. A tasty dessert is ‘Rote Grütze’, a red fruit pudding often followed by a ‘Pharisaer’ – coffee with an added swig of rum. To the inhabitants of Hamburg, Franzbrötchen (Franz’s rolls) are a breakfast staple. Atmospheric cafes and bars are found along the banks of the Elbe and Alster rivers. One of the trendiest is the cafe Amora (An der Alster 72, a-mora.com). Be like a local and order an Alsterwasser while enjoying the river views.
The maritime themed Fischereihafen (Grosse Elbstrasse; fischereihafenrestaurant.de) serves fine seafood to the well-heeled burghers of Hamburg who like to dine alfresco, weather permitting, while watching container ships glide past. Try the excellent colding and flounder, cured herrings and smoked eel. Reservations recommended. East (Simon-von-Uterecht-Strasse 31, east-hamburg.com) is a designer hotel famed for its fabulous Euroasian restaurant with unique dishes like tuna tartar with avocado and crispy lotus roots, or beef ragout with roasted chestnuts, pumpkin, lingonberry and potato truffle foam.