Final post in the Hamburg series!
Having talked about the places I visited in Hamburg, I probably should mention how I travelled to them. Yes, it’s the big climax, the one you’ve all been waiting for: my assessment of the public transport system.
Hamburg, like many European cities, is blessed with a lovely public transport system. As well as buses, and the aforementioned ferries, there are underground and overground trains zipping all over the place. No trams, though. Boo.
But… dear, oh dear, the network map lets it down. A nasty mess of jagged lines, and the city centre is a jumbled mess with lines criss-crossing all over the place. It’s not as bad as the horrible Merseyrail map with the square loop from a few years ago, but still, I can only give 6 out of 10.
Hamburg’s transport system is known as the Hochbahn or “elevated railway”. You can sit underneath stations like Landungsbrücken, sipping a beer and watching the trains fly above. However, there are also underground sections, which have that typical ambience that combines 70s public toilet tiles with a smell of brake dust.
Above right is Jungfernstieg station at 2am on Saturday. Yes, the U- and S-Bahn system in Hamburg runs 24 hours on weekends. It’s something that Germany seems to do quite well (Berlin likewise runs an all night service at weekends). Coming from a city which manages to run precisely two weekend late night trains, and then only in the weeks before Christmas, I felt rather jealous.
I was suitably impressed, at least until the Sunday morning, when we tried travelling to the north of the city and found our way blocked by weekend engineering works. In this country we tend to think of these as a peculiarly British phenomenon (especially when tweeting abusive comments to train company Twitter accounts) but no, the Germans occasionally like to rip up tracks too. Still, we got a nice trip through Hamburg’s suburbs on a bendy bus out of it.
So, that’s the end of my Hamburg blog posts. Sorry it took so long to get them all written up, but I hope you found them entertaining. Thanks for reading, and thanks also to Boris, who invited me along in the first place.
Strike a pose!