So work beckoned again. I had a conference to attend in Hamburg (it’s at times like this when I love my job!). Once again it seemed a shame not to spend a bit of time seeing the city. I’m always keen to expose my children to as many different places as possible….and there has to be some perks to having a working mummy! So flights (from Heathrow) booked and an Air B and B located (near the University yet in easy access of public transport) – I didn’t fancy having to walk too far (I was 7 months pregnant!). So, we’d got used to traveling and packing for our daughter but she’d recently moved from her cot and into a toddler bed. This was fine but what were we meant to do about our travel cot? What would our daughter sleep in? After some searching we settled on the Intex Kidz Travel Bed Set. It was ideal – light weight and compact but comfortable and safe (there was no way she’d roll out). We didn’t need to take much in the way of toys – as they get older I feel it gets easier (as long as you have the trusty iPad packed!). There was a play park just opposite the apartment and I packed a selection of crayons etc. When I travel with my daughter I always have a sticker book packed (she’s particularly keen on the Usborne ones), chalk (they can draw on paving slabs etc), an art magazine, books and a doll. These are our toy travel staples. Anyway….
We managed to squeeze some family time in around my work commitments. Hamburg zoo was quite simply one of the nicest I’ve ever been to. The elephant enclosure is sensational – the fact that you can feed them and get so close is truly memorable. The zoo is set in wonderful park land, with plenty of places to stop for snacks (and picnics) and the restaurant opposite the flamengo’s is very good. We sat outside, soaking up the rays enjoying our schnitzel.
The weather was glorious (quite unexpectedly) and this was a real bonus – we spent early evenings (post work) playing outside and going for strolls around parks.
Our apartment was an easy 5 min walk from Hallerstraße metro station and just off Grindelhof. There was a lovely selection of restaurants locally – all very reasonably priced and delicious. Our daughter was made to feel very welcome and on a number of occasions there were other children eating (and playing!). Many an evening was sat enjoying a relaxed family meal on the pavement, watching the world go by. There was a delicious bakery near the apartment – beautiful rye bread (a trip to Germany wouldn’t be complete without it!), great baklava and delicious croissants and pastries. Yummy. We did struggle to find places to eat in the centre of Hamburg – I’d advise finding places (perhaps using Trip Advisor) rather than just drifting around.
My husband had to fly home for work (same old, same old) so my mum flew out to help with childcare. Tag team parenting! We had one full day to explore the city. Miniature Wunderland came highly recommended. Thankfully we saved it until the weekend. The weather had changed – gone was the glorious sunshine to be replaced with wet and cold days. Being on the water it was also incredibly windy at times – reminded me of my student days in Cardiff. You really should book before you arrive – you save having to wait in a cafe whilst slots become available etc. The website was pretty easy to use and also available in English. It really is something to be seen. Our daughter was mesmerised by the moving trains and lorries etc. Every 30 mins or so ‘night time’ comes and little lights come on all over! Usefully there were little wooden benches all around for younger children to stand/sit on.
Many an afternoon/evening was spent with our daughter enjoying the park near the apartment. She loved playing with all the other children and for the first time noticed that they didn’t ‘use the same words as her’. The linguist in me was pleased and set about trying to encourage her to communicate in German (not sure how successful I was!). Either way, travelling is about opening your eyes to different cultures and languages and having new experiences – so I was pleased.
The only difficulty we experienced was in using public transport. On the whole, it was excellent – as you’d expect, but sadly a number of the underground stations (including the very central ones) had patchy access with prams (you could get to some platforms but not others). This wasn’t a major issue when my husband was around but posed a challenge when it was just me, my daughter and my mum.
As with our trip to Copenhagen, when it came to getting back to the airport we found a Hamburg taxi app and booked via this. This worked really well. They even had a car seat we could use for our daughter! Hamburg airport has a nice selection of cafe’s and bakeries. It is a really long walk to the various gates (so be prepared if travelling with young children). There is a McDonalds in departures (before security) with a fab soft play for children (great if you arrive early or your flight is delayed).
Again, we only got a flavour for Hamburg – there would be plenty more to explore. I’d love to return and go for a boat trip and have the weather and time to see more of the parks. One day….
Top Tip: Live like a local, book an apartment through, this link tfor £30 travel credit with Airbnb and we get a little something off our next booking too, enjoy!