Part 7 of my trip to Hamburg. I’m nearly at the end, honest!
Hamburg is a port city, straddling the River Elbe and welcoming ships from all over the world. It’s the second largest port in Europe behind Rotterdam, and the ninth largest in the world. The best way to see the harbour and port up close is, of course, by boat. It was our last day in Hamburg and we had a few hours to kill before our flight home, so we headed for the river and the pier at Landungsbrücken.
The ferries in Hamburg function as part of the public transport system. The routes are numbered just like bus routes, and you can hop on board as easily as you would a bus (well, almost).
We were joined by some of Boris’s friends from Friday night for the trip. At the Landungsbrücken pier we boarded a number 62 ferry for a short journey west. The weather was cloudy with the threat of showers, but we still took ourselves upstairs and stood on the upper, open deck.
Great views were available in all directions: on one side of the river, office blocks and apartments rise up; while on the other, mile after mile of docks and industry line the bank.
20 minutes later we arrived at Neumühlen, where we alighted and went for a short stroll. There are some impressively posh houses and a short length of beach here, with a slightly incongruous backdrop of cranes and docks on the opposite bank of the river. I’m reliably informed that anyone going for a paddle has to look out for the wakes generated by the huge ships which go past.
Time was growing short and we needed to get back to the hotel for our bags. We headed back to the pier for a ferry back east. We had to wait a few minutes and a crowd of people built up. When the ferry arrived it was already quite crowded, but we joined the procession of people waiting to board and assumed there would be no difficulty.
As I boarded, one of the ferry crew stepped onto the gangway behind me to obstruct it. I didn’t quite catch what he said, but it was clear that the boat was full and no more passengers would be allowed to board. The problem was that one half of our merry band was still standing on the pier, and I could only watch as we sailed off, leaving Boris and co behind.
There was a happy ending though. Boris got a lift direct to the airport while I rushed back to the hotel on the U-Bahn to collect our luggage, then manhandled two suitcases onto the S-Bahn to the airport. Well, I guess it was happier for Boris than me.