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Hamburg on a Bicycle.
Tuesday, 02 October 2007

I’ve been to Hamburg many times before but it has never been my favorite German city.  If I had a choice I would rather spent the week in Munich instead of Hamburg.  I did not have the choice, as my friends live in Hamburg, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Hamburg does also have its charm.

Hamburg, GermanyFirst of all, bicycles are a very popular means of transportation in Germany, even in such large cities as Hamburg. At almost each street there is a paved way for exclusive use by the cyclists.  I learned that my friend Mark rides his bike each day almost 20km from home to work and the same distance back. That makes the total of about 40 km of cycling a day!  Surely that converts into his great fitness level, as well as into substantial saving on petrol which is rather expensive in Europe. 

Both of my hosts (Teresa and Mark) took vacation for the week of my visit so that they could devote their time to the enjoyment of my stay in Germany.  It had been decided behind my back, that we will be seeing Hamburg on bicycles.  They had several of them in their garage for me to choose from.  Hamburg is a large city, so it is difficult to get everywhere on bicycle.  However, the good thing is that except for rush hours, you can take your bicycle with you to the underground (subway) if you need to take it to a far away destination.  There is no additional cost for doing that.

Elbe, HamburgI did not ride a bicycle for many years, and cycling the streets of Hamburg was quite an interesting experience.  We had a very pleasant and long ride in the first afternoon after my arrival. We stopped for a snack in a Turkish bistro around Harburg Rathaus (Harburg is a suburb of Hamburg were my friends live) and continued to the center of Hamburg.  We were planning to circle the Alster See, a lake in the center of Hamburg that was created in 13th century by damming a tributary of the River Elbe. 

The lake, surrounded by parks and trees, is now an integral part of the cityscape and lends Hamburg its unique atmosphere.  In the 17th century the 18-hectare Binnenalster (Inner Alster) was separated from the 160 hectares Außenalster (Outer Alster) and is flanked by three promenades: the Ballindamm, Jungfernstieg and Neuer Jungfernstieg, with elegant shops and hotels.

Hamburg RathausAfter having a beer near Hamburg Rathaus (home of the City Council and Senate) we just started our tour around the Alster See when the rain came.  We were forced to abandon our farther cycling plans, and to seek shelter at one of the many restaurants.  Then we had a quick dash to the underground station and took a train back home.

I was tired in the evening and my butt was hurting but I did not have this kind of fun for a long time…

Posted by Jan Koncewicz
Friday, 31 December 2010
 Actually, riding on some routes during the rush hour you are as fast (slow)as driving, in the down town it is not easy to find a parking, too. Aditionally you are allowed to ride some one way roads "in the wrong direction".
Marek  Skibicki  Marek.Skibicki@Gmx.net


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