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Hamburg.
Surrounding Lake Alster.

Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city and has the world’s third busiest port behind New York City and London. Hamburg has long been a free city-state governed by business rather then politics. The city grew up as a key port town. Historically, Hamburg dominated shipping throughout the Baltic and North Seas as part of the Hanseatic League. Hamburg’s port is still a vital part of the economy. However, many new industries have rose to prominence in Hamburg. Today, Hamburg is the media and entertainment capital of Germany. Hamburg beats to a far different drum then fun-loving Munich. The northern city is far more refined, sophisticated, and wealthy. More German millionaires live in Hamburg then any other city. After WW II, the city was left in ruins. With the exception of St. Nikolai church, little was left standing in the city’s center. What stands today is a modernized replica of the prewar Hamburg.

Much of Hamburg’s downtown is covered by water making it one of the most distinguished cities in Europe. Lake Alster and smaller Lake Binnalster sit beside one another in the city’s center divided only by a dam on which a roadway was constructed. The lakes have a silver lining of department stores, luxurious hotels, and fine restaurants. The view from the waterfront yields a superb view of the city’s skyline. During the warm months, sailboats glide by on soft breezes. Pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes surround the lakes. You can take some time out from your morning stroll and enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the many cafes along the way.

Hamburg has a widespread assortment of nightlife ranging from the upscale wine bars around Lake Alster to lively pubs in amongst the St. Pauli District. Hamburg’s infamous red light district located in the St. Pauli District continues to earn its reputation has as Germany’s “Sin City”. In particular, the main strip called the Reeperbahn is packed with sex shops, exotic art museums, and brothel houses. On the weekends the district is filled with young people partaking in social gatherings and enjoying the extravagant entertainment.

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