On the day we arrived in Hamburg we felt both very much in Germany, and very much at home. We were overwhelmed with sudden change in weather and environment, we were now suddenly in the midst of autumn and we couldn’t help feel somehow like we were home.
Our trip through the remainder of Italy had been quick and noisy. Once we were in Hamburg the pace slowed down immensely and our time there felt like a vacation from what our trip had been so far.
Hamburg is a port city, and has more bridges per square kilometer than Venice, but its greatest achievement in our eyes was how peaceful the city seemed to be. We stayed north of the downtown area, in a smallish flat with our friend we met in the summer and her husband. They were busy during the week and we were left to our own devices during the week, but they took us to the harbor on the weekend which was one of the best parts of our time there.
The harbor area is divided between two very different uses of the waterfront. A very industrial sector with hundreds of cranes and shipping tankers stands in stark contrast to the wealth of 300+ year old buildings. It could feel awkward, but instead feels normal, I think because the city has been able to build in a way that such a contrast between tradition and modern industry is complimentary. Which is almost how the German way of life is constructed: the new respects the old.