After a long day yesterday exploring the city, it was time for a much needed late start this morning.

Now, when I say “late”, I mean hostel life “late”.

We were out the door at 10am this morning.

Not before a nice free breakfast buffet again though!

I mean, it shouldn’t be free but, like yesterday, nobody asked me to pay as I entered or left so I just left.

Oh, and it’s not like I’m hiding in there or sneaking around or avoiding the staff.   I literally asked a staff member for gluten free bread each time.

I don’t know.   Whatever.   Free breakfast!

Miniatur Wunderland

We didn’t have anything planned until later in the afternoon so we kind of winged the planning today.

First stop – the Miniatur Wunderland.

According to Guinness World Records, it’s the largest model railway system in the world.

I’ll be honest.   My expectations were kind of low for this attraction.   I guess I just figured I’ll see some toy trains and be on my way.

Well, I wasn’t prepared for the vastness and detail of all the model areas that were much, much more than just trains circling around a track.

There were hundreds if not thousands of little miniature people and cars and building and trees and mountains and, well you get the idea.

There was even a replica of an airport.

What I thought would take less than an hour had us there for 2 hours.

The ticket to enter cost €20 but they have limited number of people for each time slot so, unlike us, you should probably book ahead online.

When we arrived at 11am they told us the first slot available wasn’t until 2pm.   Ugh.

However, if we also booked an optional VR tour addon for another €10, we’d be able to enter right away.

Aha!   The ‘ol €10 convenience fee I see!

Whatever.   I wasn’t going to start moving things around to figure out how to get back there later in the day.

So, we paid the extra €10 and went in right away.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have booked the VR option otherwise and I was more than ready to skip the VR and just chalk up the extra charge to, like I said, a convenience fee.

But you know what?

The VR was amazing.   I’ve never done anything VR before and my whole world has opened up.   Let’s just say I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for other VR experiences out both while I’m traveling and at home.

Anyway, after 2 hours and over 70 photos and videos (which you can see in the gallery below), we were out the door back into the cold Hamburg day.

I put on my touque and the gloves Shawn had lend me, zipped up my coat, and left for the waterfront.

A ferry ride

There are many boat tour companies that offer you a trip down the river Elbe but our tour guide told us a little secret yesterday.

There’s a public ferry transport, the number 62, that will take you down the river for less than €4 ($6).

So, armed with that knowledge, we trekked over to Bridge 3 and board ferry 62.

The ferry had both an upper open air deck and a covered bottom desk.

As it was freezing, it was to the bottom deck we went.

Yeah, sure you could see better from upstairs but, damn, did I mention yet it was cold out there?

Ironically, the inside lower deck was too warm with the heaters blasting on.

Warm enough where I actually took off my touque, gloves, and jacket.

After about 15 minutes we had reached the halfway point of the trek.   Since it didn’t look like there was much more on the shoreline to see beyond that, we decided to disembark there and go for lunch nearby.

I put my jacket back on and heading for the door.

The ferry left and it started to drizzle rain a bit.   I reached in my backpack to grab my touque and gloves.

Oh no!


I left them on the ferry.


To say this was annoying would be an understatement.

Yeah, I was annoyed.

I knew deep in my heart I’d be laughing about it in the future especially since I had just literally found the same touque 3 days ago myself because someone had left it behind by mistake and lost it.

I do however feel bad that I lost Shawn’s gloves.   That kind of sucked.

Anyway, we’re standing in the cold, in a light drizzle.   I’m annoyed and, honestly, still pretty tired from the hectic pace of yesterday.

Only one cure.

A nice hearty lunch.

Mr. Dumpling

I guess dumplings are kinda German.   I mean, they are more than, say, sushi or a hamburger.

And this place offered gluten free options!

I ordered the Manti stuffed with mincemeat and served with yogurt and a sweet chili sauce.

Manti is a type of dumpling mainly found in Central Asian cuisine and, despite it being gluten free, it tasted amazing.

That, along with a hot chocolate, was exactly what I needed.

As I ordered my meal I had asked my waiter, who spoke virtually no English, about gluten free desserts and he pointed to the one listed on the menu.

Turns out he thought I had ordered that as well because, as I was finishing my plate, he came out with my dessert.

After this huge, heavy meal, I was looking upon a semolina covered ice cream dish with pinenuts.

Must.   Eat.

With lunch out of the way and me recharged, it was time for our next adventure.

Dialog in the Dark

When I was looking for cool things to do in Hamburg I had read about this Dialog in the Dark thing which allows you to experience what life is like for the blind in their everyday life.

This sounded like a cool adventure and something I had never experience before so I was all over it and signed up right away.

They have groups every 15 minutes and our group of 3, myself, Shawn and a man from the Netherlands, had the 4:30 slot.

Before entering they are very strict about storing your bag and your phone in a locker as they don’t want anything to light up while you’re in the darkness.

The three of us were given canes and sent through a curtain.

For the next hour we were in the dark.

Our guide, who we never saw and only heard, led us through four different rooms as we followed his voice feeling around our immediate areas with our canes.

The first room was a replica of a park with a lake and the different sounds you’d find out in nature.

Next, we entered someone’s apartment complete with appliances, tables and chairs and a couch.

Then we were led to a room representing a busy street and a crosswalk we had to navigate.   We had to listen for the clicking sound of the pedestrian signal and find the call button.

Once pressed, we waited for the sound to change and then navigated our way across the street.

By this point, we had pretty much acclimated to the experience of being blind and we could really appreciate part of what it’s like to be blind.

The final room was the dark bar where we could walk up to the bar, order and pay for a drink, and then find a seat at a table to sit down at.

And then our guide led us to the exit curtain and we were back into our non-blind world.

Like I said, we never actually saw what our guide Andre looked like nor did we ever seen how any of the rooms were actually constructed.

Just part of the mystification and the experience.

A fruitless search

When we exited we had to figure out what to do next.

Shawn really wanted to have a hamburger in Hamburg which, I mean, makes sense.

I had done a burger yesterday at Five Guys but Shawn had had a BLT sandwich instead as he wanted to do a burger in a “real” German burger joint as opposed to some chain restaurant.

Fair enough.   I just didn’t feel like doing a burger again and I was still pretty full from my dumplings a couple of hours earlier.

So, we went our separate ways.

He went to grab his burger and I headed back to hostel to relax for a few hours before going out for dinner later in the evening.

I had discovered that there was a Kaufman store, Germany’s apparent equivalent for Walmart, located a station beyond the stop I get off for the hostel.

Well, I needed a new touque and gloves so I decided to take the 30 minute detour there and back.

It was a fruitless detour.

Yes, Kaufman is indeed very big and, yes, it has alot of stuff.

But, no, it doesn’t have any kind of clothes.

Well, that was an epic waste of time!

At 7pm I had finally arrived back at the hostel and, after a couple of hours, I headed back into town yet again.

Dinner to save the day

In retrospect I probably should have booked a hostel closer to the main part of the city rather than on the outskirts in the Altona neighbourhood.

Yes, it’s a nice and high rated hostel but it’s always a 20-30 minute trip to get into the city that includes a 6 minute walk to the bus loop each time.

Anyway, I took the S Bahn out into town again in search of dinner.

Despite my saying I didn’t want a burger for dinner again, I actually made a plan to go to a burger restaurant I had marked on my map that had an option for a gluten free bun.

I didn’t bring my backpack with me this time and only my wallet and phone.

And, wouldn’t you know it, it started to rain.

Who left their umbrella in their backpack?

Yeah, that would be me.

Okay, no worries.   Just gonna walk briskly up the side street to get to the restaurant.

I got there around 9:30 only to find that, despite the restaurant being open until 10:00, the kitchen had closed at 9:00.

Okay, what the actual f*ck?

Why have a restaurant open when it’s not serving food?

Okay.   Okay.

Must calm down.   Must relax.

Must come up with a plan B.

Plan B was to walk another 15 minutes back down to the waterfront and go to the restaurant Shawn and I had our very late night dinner at a couple of nights ago.

I actually ended up getting the same server I had as last time.   She remembered me because I’m going to say I’m just so memorable but, in reality, I was probably one of the few non Germans who had dined there.

Tonight I had veal sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.

Now, that is a German meal.

And, no I didn’t tag you in the photo this time Joel Rivera.   Although, I am mentioning you in my blog, so I guess that’s the same thing?!?

By 11:30 I was back at the hostel and by midnight I was snoozing and another day had come to an end.

Tomorrow, we leave for yet another city, Cologne, where we’ll stay for a few days before heading further south towards the Black Forest and then east across the country to Munich.

The adventures are just beginning…

Germany Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Hamburg, Germany
Germany 2024
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