26 February 2012


I have been wanting to get to Hamburg for a bit.  It's only about a two-hour train ride from Berlin, but I felt it was worth more than just a day trip.  Given how easy it is to use the airport, I decided to set it up as a long weekend trip on its own.  Fortunately, I found a routing other than through Frankfurt which was a little less expensive and just as convenient (plus, I get tired sometimes of flying through Frankfurt).  Lufthansa flies some direct routes from London Heathrow to selected cities in Germany, and Hamburg is one of them.  So, a Wednesday night flight from SFO put me at LHR in the afternoon in time to catch a short flight onward to Hamburg.

I purchased a 3-day Hamburg card (free public transport and several discounts)upon arrival at the airport and made my way to Central Hamburg via the direct S-Bahn connection.  Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is very big and very nice.  There are lots of shops and food choices.  It also can be a little disorienting popping out of there if you don't know which street is your destination.  Thanks goodness for my iPhone -- I knew where my hotel was (close tot he station, so my trusty GPS function told me where I was.

There are no Hilton's in the Hamburg area.  So, it was either a Fairmont or a Park Hyatt.  I went with the Park Hyatt because it was closer to the train station (early morning departure flight to catch) and a little more centrally located.  It's a very nice hotel.  Even though I have no status with Hyatt, I was treated well.  The rooms are nice, with plenty of space and 30 minutes of free internet every day.

It's located on one of the main shopping streets.

After my research, I decided the things I wanted to do during my short stay were: Tour the Rathaus, Hamburg History Museum, The church steeple at St. Michael's, a boat tour on the lakes and canals, and the  old Elbe Tunnel.  I also made a couple of visits to one of the casinos in Hamburg, and made a reservation via Opentable.com at Jellyfish, a small, innovative seafood restaurant.

 There was an intense snow squall while I was touring the Rathaus.

 St. Michael's steeple can be climbed (partially by elevator if you want).  The viewing platform is just above the clock.

The old Elbe Tunnel is open to pedestrians all the time and to cars some of the time.

I had an early Sunday morning flight to London, so I took a 5 am train to the airport.  It was quite an experience as the Hamburg partyers were just heading home from their evening out. 

I got to London in plenty of time to  enjoy the Star Alliance First Class Lounge (which I had not had the opportunity to use before.  It was much quieter than the regular business lounge, with better beverages (fresh orange juice) and cooked-to-order breakfasts and lunch from a menu if you want.

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