|After seeing some advertising for a new airline with good flight deals to destinations in Germany I booked us a trip to Hamburg. From what I had read it sounded like an 'interesting' place, not your typical sightseeing tourist destination but definitely a place to have a good time.
We managed to arrange a host in the form of the lovely Birthe, a fairly young German lady who lived by herself and had spent time living in London previously.
As soon as we got to Birthe's place we got changed and headout out with her to meet her friends for drinks, along the way we got our first look at the notorious Reeperbahhn (supposedly one of the largest red light entertainment districts in the world), it looked interesting with plenty of people out and about but nothing particularly different from other red light areas.
After a number of hours drinking heavy german beer in a very smokey little lounge bar, it was time to head home, by this stage we were completely wrecked after having only a couple of hours sleep the night before (due to a huge fight that is another story altogether).
As we made our way back to Birthe's we discovered that the Reeperbahn had become considerably busier (at 4am) and the real things of interest became more apparent.
Being a ridiculously cold and wet evening it didn't seem unusual that ladies would be walking around with big snow jackets on to keep them warm and dry, however as we walked the number increased and quickly I realised that these women were working - just being a bit more practical about it.
The following day Birthe and her friends took us on a tour of the Speicherstadt, a massive and very nice warehouse district with many canals twisting their way through it. I believe the majority of these warehouses are currently empty, but I have no doubt the move to develop these buildings into commercial and residential property will be very swift over the coming years.
The Saturday evening was quite a weird one as there is a Fischmarkt starting at 6am every Sunday morning which we were dead keen on going to, yet Birthe and her friends we also having a bit of a party which sounded like fun. As we were already cream crackered (not a pommie accent just the phrase) we couldn't pull an all nighter so we decided to sleep for a few hours (7 to 11) then met up with Birthe (11 - 3), slept some more (3 - 6) and made our way to the Fischmarkt by 6.30am.
Oh and were we glad we did, it was pouring rain but the main market is undercover and it was definitely not like our traditional Queen Vic market, while there were some fruits, vegetables, meat and fish shops the main focus was on beer, food (a huge selection of fresh fish burgers) and a band belting out the best party songs of the 80's, 90's and 00's in english.
The massive warehouse was packed full of people of all ages (quite a few people 70+ who were all right in the thick of the party) who were drinking, dancing and singing like it was New Year's Eve (some had been going all night), so we had a great time joining in the celebrations. The most amazing thing from our perspective was that this is a regular Sunday event and not a NYE's once off - the plain and boring German stereotype definitely doesn't fit.
While they do love a kebab, their traditional hangover (stomach lining) meal appears to be something called a 'Farmer's Breakfast' which consisted of a big plate of diced potatoes fried with bacon and topped with 5 sunnyside up eggs. JP and I shared a plate and only just managed to finish it between us. I thought I had a decent appetite but these people put me to shame - especially considering they were also chugging their way through the beer twice as quick as me as well.