Hamburg is a major transport hub in Northern Germany as it hosts the second largest port in Europe and is one of the most affluent cities in European Union with the residents clearly living large, and commanding its fair share of respect across the world as NJOKI CHEGE found out
Germany is a beautiful, spacious country with severe winters punctuated with lovely, sunny summers, so when I was informed that it would be summer last month, I was understandably excited at the opportunity to escape the ‘winter’ Kenya was experiencing.
But my bubble soon burst the moment I landed at the Hamburg Airport, for I came face to face with a biting breeze, literally. I expected the humid air that embraces you the minute you land in Mombasa, making one reach for the bikini and run down the beach. Instead, a sharp, unwelcoming breeze that for a moment, made me doubt if I was at the right destination hit my face.
‘You call this summer?’ was the first question I asked one of our hosts Anna Fenske, who met me at the airport.
Amused, Anna, who was lightly dressed, informed me that this season the summer was a bit disappointing, as it was colder than expected. She, however, gave me hope that the weather would get warmer as the summer progressed. I hoped she was right, but meanwhile, my little sundresses, sunglasses and light tops would have to wait. It was going to be one hell of a ‘summer’, I thought.
The cold aside, our host led us to the parking lot to get a taxi, which pleasantly turned out to be the latest model of Mercedes Benz E 200 class. Elated at the fact that I was getting VIP treatment, I was surprised to learn that the next cab was also a Benz, so was the next and the next…almost all cabs here were the latest models of Mercedes.
That was when it hit me. I was in the land of the famous automobile brand. Here, the car in front of you is not (maybe never) a Toyota, but the latest model of Mercedes, Volkswagen, Porsche or Audi. Enough eye candy for motor lovers.
The cab driver informed us that Mercedes Benzes are the preferred cars for taxis in Germany. A slow and smooth drive through the German City of Hamburg gave me a glimpse of the obvious — how far ahead these chaps are, and how slowly we are doing in catching up.
Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany after the capital, Berlin, with a population of 1.7 million. It is the richest city in Germany, with a high population living large in mansions with huge well-manicured compounds and beachfronts. It is a green city, with well-managed woods, flowers, trees, parks and a lot of water as 15 per cent of the total space here is taken by River Elbe (pronounced Elba).