The Forgotten City of Hamburg

This selection is from a good piece by John Powers, of the Boston Globe. In a recent trip to Hamburg, Germany, Powers discovers a city which most travelers often overlook when taking a trip to Germany. Powers writes:

wans are cruising languidly along the canal just a few steps from the majestic sandstone Rathaus. Strollers are licking ice cream cones next to the dock from which ferries cruise the city’s two artificial lakes. Along the adjacent Jungfernstieg, shoppers crowd the remodeled Alsterhaus department store and press their noses to the window at Wempe, the country’s ritziest jeweler.

This is Hamburg, the same broad-backed, rough-edged port with its notorious Reeperbahn, where the Beatles made their breakthrough in clubs nearly half a century ago. It is also Germany’s second-largest (more than 1.7 million residents) and richest city and one of its most cultured, with three world-class orchestras, 40 museums, and 30 theaters, including the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, the country’s biggest.

Yet most American tourists never make it here, preferring Berlin and Munich to what locals call “The Venice of the North.” Those who make their way to this old hub of the Hanseatic trading alliance on the Elbe River discover one of the continent’s better-kept secrets: a vibrant, entertaining, and walkable city, which rebuilt itself twice in less than a century and a half.

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