nach (or is it zu? Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut) Hamburg

Today’s blog post topic: Core Course Week. At DIS we have a core course, which is the course you go on short and long study tours with (mine is Urban Studies, though if you found this blog through the DIS website than you already know…and thinking about it most of you from back home that I have talked about DIS with know…well, now you ALL know). My course, European Urban Experience: Why Cities Matter, traveled to Hamburg at the beginning of the week and toured different parts of Copenhagen later in the week, and our focus was on harbors.

Monday/Montag-an early (almost too early?) start

Monday morning at 7:10 we meet at Copenhagen Central Station (which isn’t too early, except I still had to get there. Thankfully my host mom gave me a ride to the train station in Allerød because otherwise the transportation planning app was suggesting I leave the house at 4:30 or take a bus and train combination I have never taken since my normal bus was not running that early in the morning). We are a pretty punctual group (we all made the train, though their were some close calls) and most of us were at the station before the designated time. Once on the train, we had time to nap and/or take in the view during our 4.5 hour journey. I love trains, so this was great. In the afternoon we arrived at the train station in Hamburg and our city adventure began!

Center Station in Hamburg
the S-Train/ U-bahn Stop near our hostel

Of course, weather was not really on our side for most of the trip, but rain or shine we were there to explore the city. That afternoon Regitze took us on walking tour of the Altstadt, with special focus on the canals, arcades, and Kontorhaus (control house) District and brick expressionism (Backsteinexpressionismus in German). We ended the day having a group dinner at Taverna Romana which was around the corner from Superbude, our hostel (Superbude was a super cool hostel, it had a slight nautical theme and very tasty breakfast. I will stand by my opinion that European “buffet” breakfasts are vastly superior to American.)

Tuesday/Dienstag– Maybe I should have brushed up on my German…

Tuesday we began the day with breakfast in the hotel and then headed to our tour of HafenCity. We gathered at an aerial photo of HafenCity to meet our tour guide, Marco. As was the theme of our early travels, it began to rain quite hard as we set out to tour the area, but sheltered under raised buildings we learned about the history and future of HafenCity.

HafenCity according to their website:

“The task in hand is to define a new downtown in both urban planning and architectural terms. Since the site of HafenCity was once largely occupied by single-story sheds and, with the exception of Oberhafen quarter, few existing buildings could be retained or were worth preserving, HafenCity consists almost exclusively of new buildings. Altogether more than 2.4 million sqm gross floor area (GFA) is to be constructed. More than 7,500 residential units for over 15,000 residents are being built, as well as business premises offering in excess of 45,000 job opportunities, plus educational institutions, restaurants and bars, retail, cultural and leisure amenities, with parks, plazas and promenades.”

HafenCity Hamburg

HafenCity is an interesting case in urban planning, basically they are designing and implementing a neighborhood from scratch and it was really interesting to learn about the plans to create a community. It will be interesting to follow as they are only about a third of the way through construction.

After a much needed defrosting during lunch at NENI, we visited the viewing platform at the Elbphilharmonie (which, when being constructed, went over-budget, but at least the public can take advantage of the viewing platform for free) and then headed to Miniatur Wunderland (I took some pictures, but honestly check out the pictures on their website because they do a much better job showing the weirdness/wonderfulness that was Miniatur Wunderland). We headed separate ways for dinner and I ended up at a Turkish restaurant with a couple of people. We had a great time—my German was VERY rusty (and honestly never very good...) so we opted not to go into the restaurant that only had a menu in German outside, but at the place we did go I got a great tea so I was happy. Core Course Week is definitely a time to get to know the other students in the course better and it was nice to feel like more of a group at the end of the week.

Wednesday/Mittwoch– sunny but COLD

 Wednesday we headed to IBA Docks for a tour of Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg and to learn a bit about the International Building Exhibition. My favorite part of the tour was the model houses at the end—each focused on a different idea such as materials, flexibility, sustainability and pricing. We also learned about their three main focuses: cosmopolis, metro zones and cities and climate change.

About IBA Hamburg from their website:

In the middle of Hamburg, the IBA has been looking for answers to the most urgent questions of the modern city in order to develop and present projects for the future of the metropolises. Wilhelmsburg, the largest inhabited river island in Europe, the area Veddel and Harburg Binnenhafen have formed the arena in which about 70 projects have been realised up to 2013 and beyond.

IBA Hamburg

After lunch (if you travel to Germany, make sure you have Euro), I went to the the Alte Elbtunnel which was super cool and resulted in a really nice photo back drop of the city across the river. We then all met up at the hostel to retrieve our bags, and headed back to the train station to catch our train back to Copenhagen.

the other side of the tunnel

Thursday and Friday- back in Copenhagen

Thursday we met at BLOX and toured Copenhagen’s harbor by water taxi. Friday we toured Nordhavn, went to a roof top gym/playground area and got refreshments at a cafe connected to an architecture firm. Overall this week was super fun, and I learned about cities, city planning and the people in the class. Well, until next week!

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