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Blankenese and “Planten un Blomen”
Thursday, 04 October 2007

We spent most of my second day in Hamburg cycling to the places I haven’t seen before.   Very interesting was the bicycle route from Hamburg Altona underground station, along the north bank of the river Elbe, to very affluent suburbs called Blankenese. Historically it was a small fishing village going back as much as 1000 years. It has always been closely connected to the sea, through either fishing or later trading with sailing vessels.  Even to this day the area retained its old fishing village atmosphere from past times, with well preserved fishermen's cottages, perched precariously on the steep hillside overlooking the Elbe. Interestingly these houses belong now to the most prestigious addresses of the whole Germany.

The only proper way of seeing Blankenese is to walk it.  It is very hilly with plenty of steep climbs and valleys. There are very few roads and many houses can only be reached by climbing up or down countless steps to be found in the maze of small ways.  In fact the whole area towards the south of Blankenese and facing the Elbe is known as the “Treppenviertel” - the Steps Quarter!  Indeed it is very unusual sight compared to the most of the North German plains, and I felt like I was somewhere in Italy rather than in the suburbs of Hamburg.

The second highlight of the day was the visit to the park “Planten un Blomen”  (Plants and Flowers) located in a close proximity to Alster Lake.  It is an oasis of tranquility in the heart of the city, with old Botanical Gardens, tropical greenhouses, and one of Europe's largest Japanese Garden.  A small lake inside the park futures water games during the day and a colourful water-light show at night.

We arrived  at Planten un Blomen  on our way back from Blankenese, after loading our bikes onto a river boat, which took us close to the center of the city.  I was glad to experience the water-light-and-music show that starts at 10pm each night in the summer.  It is a great experience, absolutely not to be missed by any visitor to Hamburg.

Blankenese, Hamburg, Germany

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