As our daughter moved to Hamburg for a new job recently, we planned an orientation visit to Hamburg to satisfy the (eternal) parental need to see that our chick was happy and safe in her new nest – she is – and to check out the sights of Germany’s second largest city. A visit to any new city is not complete without a reconnaissance mission to yarn store(s) identified in pre-travel research.
Hamburg turned out to be rather surprisingly nice. Okay so it doesn’t have the lure and romance of Paris but neither does it have Paris’ dirty polluted air, poopy footpaths and crowded scungy Metro. Hamburg was a breath of fresh air – literally – it was the windiest place we have been since leaving Wellington and it felt good. (I know I’m being a little mean about Paris, I will never not love her; it’s just that when you look past the fabulous reputation she is frankly, grubby.)
Hamburg is located in the north of Germany, about 110 km away from the North Sea, on the river Elbe where it meets with the Alster and Bille rivers. It’s a major shipping centre, also apparently a media hub and it generally looks pretty well-off. I’m not surprised it ranks high up on the list for quality of living – as do Auckland and Wellington of course. (Oh all-right then, so does Sydney & Melbourne…..Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, but Vienna tops everyone.)
The Alster River has been dammed to create lakes in the city area for sailing and other water sports. There are lovely round-the-lake walkways and the city centre is peppered with bridges (more than Venice said the bus tour guide) over waterways. There are walkways around the port and fish market area, the historic central city area near the Rathaus building (Town Hall), as well as some snazzy looking shopping destinations. All in all, a lot of water and that is what makes it so pleasant looking (and affluent, given its port – 3rd largest in Europe).
On our rather refreshing walk alongside the lake we spied swathes of dependable crocuses in bloom declaring the seasons are changing as expected, the weeping willows sprigged with green danced wildly in the wind and dogs out for a romp had the cob-webs well and truly blown out of them. Not surprisingly the lake area is bordered by beautiful residences, consulates and hotels including the Atlantic Hotel where a few scenes with Pierce Brosnan in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” were filmed.
As for yarn?…..well, what a find: Mylys in Hamburg. This gorgeous little store in a trendy part of town is a treasure; uber helpful friendly people, shelf loads of lovely yarn; even some Zealana Rimu merino-possum double-knit and German wool brand Schoppel-Wolle of course, plus all sorts of easy to carry knitting tools. The space in my carry bag freed up by the delivery of homemade Afghans* and the last of my NZ Marmite stock begged to be filled. Das original Zauberball sock yarn in Oktoberfest and Fuchsienbeet colourways made it to my stash cupboard. I love the warning on the wool label: “Stricken kann suchtig machen!” Knitting can be addictive!
Not only is Mylys a yarn store, it’s a café as well. My dearly beloved and I lunched there with Ms KiwiHamburger and her NGB, and all agreed we’ll be back; delicious food, lovely ambiance. I think I’ll be back in September for the Hamburg Wollfest that the Mylys team told me about. It’s a Knitting Expo planned for Sept 6-7 in Hamburg. As well as yarn sellers there will be workshops, some in English, including those with Ysolda Teague and Stephen West.
I’m looking forward to seeing Hamburg with its summer wardrobe on, it should be very pretty, and by then I’ll need to feed my yarn addiction too.
* Afghans are traditional NZ biscuits, my favourites to bake.