An afternoon in Hamburg

Hamburg is a beautiful city, full of trees and parks, crisscrossed by canals, a river, a lake, and the third-busiest harbor in the world.

I had to present a paper at the ACM WiSec conference.  Because of constraints back home I could only stay at the conference long enough to present my own talk, but I arrived in Hamburg at noon the day before and spent an enjoyable five or six hours strolling around the city.  Read on!

The Rathaus (city hall), Hamburg.

It has been a rainy spring, apparently, so the trees and bushes were green and lush, and with many of them still in bloom the air was sweet with scent.

In the middle of the city is a medium-sized lake (Alden-alser?), close to my hotel. So I strolled along the banks, passing several small marinas.  Sailboats are the clear vessel of choice, and given the stiff breeze today there were dozens if not a hundred small sailboats out zipping around.

I had lunch at a cafe on one of the sailboat piers.  I took a chance and ordered something from the menu without really knowing what it was, and was dismayed to receive a plate of cold fish covered in sour cream. Not a great choice for a chilly and windy outdoor meal.

I spent the afternoon strolling through the central city, visiting some of the nice shops (indulging in a cup of Godiva hot chocolate!) and some of the sights – such as the Rathaus and St. Michaelais church.  The latter has been rebuilt many times over the centuries, and was at one point the tallest building in the world.  I climbed to the top of its tower, which affords a panoramic view of the city. 

St. Michaelais tower provides an excellent view back to the lake and Rathous.

I returned for dinner to a different restaurant, also on a sailboat pier; the weather was now sunny and warm. I had a seat overlooking the lake and hundreds of late-afternoon sailboats.  Fresh asparagus is in season – my meal was six very large white asparagus, Hollandaise sauce, pesto sauce, new potatoes, thin slices of Black Forest ham, and a nice tall beer.  Excellent!

Here’s me, enjoying a beer at the lakefront. Hamburg.

All in all, it is a beautiful city, well kept, with pleasant people, shops, and parks.  Well worth a visit.    See the photo gallery.


This post was transferred from MobileMe to WordPress in 2021, with an effort to retain the content as close to the original as possible; I recognize that some comments may now seem dated or some links may now be broken.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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