Northern Germany road trip continues to Hamburg
I left Lubeck the other day and am now in Hamburg staying at what has probably become one of the most iconic structures in the city, the Westin Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. The Elbphilharmonie is ensconced within the middle of the Westin, which makes it an interesting implementation of private and public space. The the building looks sort of like a giant iceberg placed upon a pedestal. The hotel is stunning and matches the dramatic views quite well.
I learned that Hamburg is the 2nd largest city in Germany and has more bridges than any other European city. I would have guess Venice would hold that title, but after doing some research, I discovered Venice only has about 400 bridges, where Hamburg has over 2400.
Unlike Lubeck who was mostly spared during the war, Hamburg was pretty much decimated. Hamburg was, and still is, an industrial city—building airplanes, ships and automobiles. It’s also a major shipping port, and was a city vital to the war efforts. Needless to say, it was a high-level target for the allies. What has emerge many decades later is a city of new. The architecture is absolutely fantastic. It seems nearly every building is completely unique from the next.
One of the best ways to see Hamburg and its architecture is by water, so the first thing I did was hop aboard a tour boat that takes passengers through some of the canals and open waterways to see the skyline.
My first evening in town I dined at VELT Restaurant, which is located less than a half mile walk from the Westin. VELT is anchored within a hip warehouse district and looks brand new, but has actually been serving guests for a decade now. The space retains its warehouse look and feel with an all-brick wall as an accent, with wooden timbers hanging from the ceiling that are back-lit to accentuated the brick wall. Huge steel beams support the room and frame out the space. Contemporary lighting hangs from a concrete reinforced ceiling, while beautiful large bay windows flood the space with light during the day.
The food at VELT was outstanding, it can best be described as a modern interpretation of German cuisine inspired by the coastal region of Hamburg.
Hamburg is a fascinating city and one of the best ways to learn about it is by taking a walking tour with a guide. I highly recommend Tomas Kaiser, this guys seems to know everything about Hamburg. It probably helps that Tomas is a history professor.
That evening for dinner I went to Bianc Restaurant, one of the finest all-around dining experiences I’ve had in recent memory. Bianc takes contemporary fine dining to a level that will make experienced foodies rejoice. Every element of the gastronomic journey is paved with intense thought and creativity. At Bianc you can select from the menu, or the prix fixe, I opted to go with the 20-course prix fixe. It was nothing short of spectacular!
Tomorrow I leave Hamburg and continue my northern Germany road trip to Bremerhaven, but will try and make a few stops along the way. Click here to read my next Road Diary entry from this Germany road trip. Click here to read the next Road Diary entry on my northern Germany road trip.