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Taking the HAM out of Hamburg


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YOLO, sick, swag, reem: just a few examples of the ever-changing slang terms found in the youth of today’s vocabulary. The latest addition to the roster: H.A.M. All the kids are saying it these days. For those who don’t know, H.A.M is a NSFW verb, defined by Urban Dictionary here. Many of you are likely to have been, or to be going, abroad this summer with the sole intent of going H.A.M.

But what of those of you who go backpacking and find yourself on a stopover between trains or coaches, in a city where you don’t intend to go particularly H.A.M? What if said city happens to Hamburg? The one city where it would make the most sense to go H.A.M, even if it were just so you could say that you put the H.A.M in Hamburg. Well never fear, because you can still enjoy yourself in Hamburg without going so H.A.M that you wake up the next day only to discover your coach left four hours ago.


Reception of the Generator Hostel, Hamburg

If you’re travelling to and from Hamburg by coach or train, make sure to book yourself into the Generator Hostel, a trendy hostel and former recording studio once graced by none other than The Beatles, just a minute’s walk from both the central station and main bus terminal.

If you’ve only got a day to spare, make your way down to the warehouse district. There you’ll find scenic canals surrounded by beautiful 18th century brick warehouses on either side. The area is particularly beautiful after dark when the warehouses bathe the canal and the boats sailing through it in a gentle light. Stand in the middle of one of the many bridges that cross the canal and allow yourself a few moments to just take it all in.


Speicherstadt, the warehouse district

Boat tours along the canal can be taken seven days a week and run extra late on the weekends. The boats depart from St. Pauli-Landungsbrückenand prices start from €20 with Barkassen-Meyer. Hamburg’s most popular tourist attraction is conveniently located in the heart of the warehouse district and has a rather unique claim to fame. Built in 2000 by twins and model rail enthusiasts Gerrit and Frederik Braun, Miniatur Wunderland currently holds the record for the world’s largest model railway. The exhibit covers almost 70,000 square feet of floor space, uses almost 40,000 feet of track and contains over one thousand trains accompanied, by 10,000 cars and 215,000 figurines. I had initially been sceptical before visiting but Miniatur Wonderland turned out to be very interesting and well worth a visit; the sheer scale and detail of the place was really quite impressive.


No, your eyes decieve you. This isn't a picture of the swiss alps, it's just a really, really big train set

After you’ve checked out that little marvel, head back to Generator Hostel where you can grab a cheap pint or two at the bustling bar near reception. The place is very chilled out and a great location to have a quiet drink if you aren’t planning on going anywhere too hectic. Rooms are quiet, cool and comfortable so you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep if you have to be up early, and with the train and coach station right across the street, you may even find time for a cheeky lie in.

Accommodation provided by Generator Hostels, prices start from €12 a night for shared dorms and €39 for private rooms

Coaches provided by Eurolines, passes start from €195 for 15 days and can be purchased from 

Tickets for Miniatur Wunderland can be reserved at  or purchased on the door and prices start from €13.90

Boat tours with Barkassen-Meyer can be booked at and prices start from €20 

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