It's official, despite spending just over a week in the city, Hamburg has stolen my heart. I'm one of those people who instantly gets a gut feeling about a place, and in this case it's most definitely a good one which is a relief as I'm actually moving there in less than three weeks! But instead of thinking ahead, let's focus on what we got up to last weekend when I went over for my second visit, and was lucky enough to work with Come To Hamburg while exploring the city. For those of you who don't know, my boyfriend actually grew up just south of the city but he has been away travelling for the last four years, and I had only visited Berlin before this year. So we're both incredibly excited to be spending the next year based in the city, giving me a first chance, and him a fresh opportunity to discover Germany together. Staying in the lovely Hotel Baselor Hof – read my review here – we had the perfect base to explore the city together.
Harbour Boat Tour
Despite the rainy morning, we were excited to head to the harbour for a boat tour with Barkassen Meyer for the first of our weekend's activities. Hamburg has a huge Hanseatic history, much like King's Lynn (where I come from in the UK) and much of the focus is on shipping trade there, so if you are interested in history, these tours are full of fascinating tit-bits. If history doesn't float your boat, there's plenty else to keep you entertained and this is a fantastic way to see the city from a new perspective, and to really appreciate the beauty of the harbour while getting to cruise amongst the boats. Along the way we spotted huge cruise liners, even bigger shipping containers and learned how they worked, we saw historical ships used as museums, and some that were still in use despite their age. There was even an old fashioned steam engine boat!Cruising along with a Glühwein to keep us warm, we were happy the boat was well covered with lots of windows on all sides so you could enjoy the tour and still stay dry in the rain. Fancy a boat tour but don't speak German? These guys are great. One in ten of their visitors are not German, so they are prepared and offer tours using their app on your smartphone, which translates the tours for you and makes them universal. They provide English translations of the tours from 11am onwards, Friday to Sunday, and a special tour at 1pm every day in English, so if you're visiting for the weekend, its the perfect opportunity to take a cruise along the river Elbe. More information, or to book, click here.
Chocoversum - The Chocolate Museum
Later that afternoon, we couldn't resist a visit to the city's sweetest attraction, The Chocoversum is a chocolate museum that can be found in the heart of Hamburg. One of my favourite experiences of the weekend, it's the perfect activity for anyone with a sweet tooth, as not only do you get to learn about the chocolate-making process from start to finish, but you get to make – and taste – lots of chocolate of your own! If anyone else is a bit like me and is usually guided by their stomach when it comes to travelling, this is a tour you don't want to miss out on. With entrance prices at 12-15 euros for an adult, you get plenty for your money with the 90-minute tour that teaches you the process of making chocolate from start to finish, with tasters at every step of the way. The tour even starts with a taster from the most delicious looking chocolate fountain that my boyfriend has to hold me back to stop me from jumping in!But my favourite part had to be the complete surprise that we got to make/design our own chocolate bars – choosing between dark or milk chocolate and then picking our favourite toppings and sprinkling with chocolate powders to personalise them. These were then placed in the fridge to cool while we completed the tour - a particularly special touch if ever you had one. I want to say a huge shout-out to our tour guide Ulrike who did a fantastic job, was full of fun and definitely taught us a lot about the world of chocolate, it was a pleasure to take a tour with someone who is so passionate about her job. It's also definitely worth checking out the gift shop for some very unusual chocolate products including the chocolate beers/stouts which we had to try – definitely a unique flavour! For more information and tickets, click here.
The Better Burger Company
As I mentioned above, a lot of my travels are planned mainly around food. So when we were invited along to check out the Better Burger Company, we couldn't resist. Just across from our hotel, we took a moonlit stroll across there for a bite to eat, eager to see what the fuss was all about. The Better Burger Company have made it their mission to create the best burger experience in the city, and let's be honest, if you're going to do a hamburger right, it should be in Hamburg. With their organic beef and fresh ingredients, the restaurant takes fast food to the next level by allowing each customer to personalise their burger to suit their own tastebuds. Everything from the meat and the toppings, to the sauce and the sides, is your choice. I went for a beef burger covered in onions, jalepenos and lettuce, and then smothered it in a picture of chilli and garlic sauces. As you can imagine, my boyfriend was thrilled with my smelly choices and decided to match me so he couldn't smell my onion breath afterwards. All this was washed down with fries and a cold beer – not a bad first night in Hamburg. Question: Now that I've eaten my first burger in the city, does it make me a Hamburger?A huge thanks to Come to Hamburg for organising such a great trip to the city, and so many fun activities. Check out Friday's post to find out about what happened when I went to the Portuguese district for dinner with WeSwap and how you can save money on currency when you travel. And next week, you can read all about my gorgeous spa experience with Come to Hamburg.
Have you tried any of these tours - what did you think? Have you been to Hamburg before - tell me about your experiences? What do you prefer - chocolate or burgers?