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Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg was the first city where I spent more than 3 hours in a museum. I didn’t even do that at the Louvre. This was at the Miniatur Wunderland where, as it’s named, there are miniature scenes in different countries or scenarios set up. I don’t think I’ve heard or know of any similar museum anywhere else in the world. It is now one of my favourites!

Miniatur Wunderland

There is just so much to look at in each one and the detail! Gosh, you would not even believe- traffic jams, breakfasts, skiing accidents. Now as a full grown adult, I very much appreciated the reflection of real life that these models had. For example, this airport traffic jam- what an exact representation of all the different drivers you get at the ticket gate!

Great for kids and adult children- make sure you are fed before visiting. As it is a huge attraction in Hamburg, arrive early or prebook your tickets online.

I’m not sure whether cities that are surrounded by water just seem to have a calmness about them or if it’s just Hamburg, but it was just so relaxing walking around the canals and near the port.

As always, I did the free walking tour in town which I think is always a great introduction to a new city and I especially love the stories and history as sometimes I don’t do my research beforehand.

Speicherstadt
Trying out the famous Hamburg pastry- Franzbrötchen

I stayed at a hotel/hostel on the main street of Reeperbahn, the red light district, as it was one of the cheaper places to stay in Hamburg. It was quite safe (but alittle noisy) but close to public transport and a short walk to the waterside.

Have you been to the Miniatur Wunderland? What did you think?

Spending a few days in Cologne, Germany

How magical it was! I landed in Frankfurt, Germany and spent a few days there recovering from my AUS –> Europe flight. Caught the train for 1hr north and voila, arrived in Cologne (or Koln as the locals know it). Once you step outside the main train station, there is the Cologne Cathedral- ominous yet magnificent, casting a shadow in front of you. It is what you expect of a gothic church- amazing, grand (in every sense) and dark (you know, that we haven’t water gun cleaned it (can you even do this to UNESCO listed sites?)).

The 1 thing I was most looking forward to was the Christmas markets. Boy oh boy were they amazing. Amazing atmosphere and location!

For the chocolate lovers, be sure to stop by the harbour side Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (they give out free waffle stick dipped in chocolate!). You can see how cacao seeds get to chocolate form that we all know and love and see machines in action. Great for the kids or a rainy day.

During my visit, I also went to the EL-DE Haus which was the former headquarters of the Gestapo turned museum. This normal looking building on the outside houses original basement chambers which were used to keep prisoners and a courtyard used for executions. The walls are still covered in pencil markings and etching. It was so eery in the basement even with many visitors in there. It is well preserved and am so glad that it is. There is great information and I think that there is a good balance between allowing visitors to see the bare walls and also information panels. Definitely one for the history buffs or those who want to explore Germany’s past.

Cologne has so many more museums in what is a great tourist friendly and interesting town. Be sure to add this to your list if visiting Germany!

What are also great museums or places to see in Cologne?

-S.