Book Review: Only in Hamburg

Posted in: Book Reviews


Hamburg Alter Elbtunnel
Take a weird walk through Hamburg's Alter Elbtunnel. Photo: Emrox

By Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries—

It is more than 18 months since we highlighted a trio of new titles in the “Only in…” series here on EuroCheapo. Now author Duncan JD Smith follows up Berlin, Vienna and Prague with a quizzical look at Hamburg.

Only in Hamburg is a guide to hidden corners and unusual spots in and around the great German port city on the Elbe. This is travel writing with a twist, for while Smith takes in Hamburg’s landmark sights, he also digs out spots where few tourists ever venture.

Visiting the Afghan Museum

Top of our list from Only in Hamburg is the city’s oddball Afghan Museum tucked away amid the warehouses of the city’s dock district at Am Sandtorkai 32. Open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the Afghan Museum is more than merely a collection. It is a place to relax and enjoy cardamom tea. You can tickle your senses further by moving on to the spice museum in the same building.

Walking under the Elbe

A curious weekend walk in Hamburg is under the Elbe when the Alter Elbtunnel is closed to vehicles. The tunnel marks the centenary of its opening in 2011, and we have to say that it takes our prize for Europe’s weirdest walk. Smith rightly gives it a good write-up in Only in Hamburg.

More Hamburg curiosities

Elsewhere in the volume, Smith takes in a Hindu temple, a floating church and the grave of an Arabian princess. If such dedicated urban exploration all sounds a little too tiring, Smith commends such relaxing distractions as a Japanese garden or seeing Hamburg from the comfort of a Venetian gondola.

Just in case you wonder, Hamburg is not awash with gondolas. But Ina Mierig, the only gondoliera in Germany, claims that exploring by gondola is by far the best way to see her adopted home city.

About the author


About the authors: Nicky and Susanne manage a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine.

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