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The trip to Hamburg allowed us to bring together seeing Hamburg, seeing the Scissor Sisters in concert and travelling by the ICE train. Starting with the train, it was really, really good. On time, it pulled silently into Berlin Haupt Bahnhof. From the inside it was both quiet and smooth, how a modern train should be and infinitely better than First Great Western. We had a little compartment ourselves and the stewardess brought us coffee and croissant. An hour and half later we were in Hamburg. After checking into the hotel we set off to explore Hamburg. It is a wealthy city and you can see this in the shops, it has some decent ones, unlike Berlin. As well as the normal shops, it had a whole street of the Prada, Vuitton, Tiffany's type of shops. The Rathaus is typically magnificent and stands in the middle of a grand square. You can also see another feature of Hamburg - water. It is built on a river, loads of canals and a couple of lakes.

We climbed the tower of the St Michaelis Church. From the top you get a spectacular view over the city. In the picture you can see the view over the old harbour and beyond that into the modern day harbour. In the old harbour there are a number of old boats that are preserved. The harbour means that Hamburg has a large immigrant population. This includes a large number of Portuguese and Spanish. There is a street full of Portuguese and Spanish restaurants and this made a good place for dinner. The next day we took a boat tour round the harbour. Hamburg is 75km from the coast but the harbour is massive. The ships are big as well, I was surprised at the size of boats that made it to Hamburg.

The picture to the left shows some of the boats in the harbour. That night was the concert and this was located on the notorius Reeperbahn. We went up early to find the Star Club, in Grosse Freiheit, that the Beetles played in. It is still there with a large stone to remember the fact. However, the street is rather seedy with a number of live sex shows,massage parlours and sex cinemas grouped around it. The concert was further up the Reeperbahn. The Scissor Sisters were fantastic and they gave a really good performance. They played all the numbers from the first album plus the second, so really good value.

The final picture is taken in the Speicherstadt. This was were all the merchants stored their imports. They could do this tax free and wait until the price was right to sell. There are strict controls in place to preserve the buildings and very few changes are allowed. We also took another boat trip. This time on a solar powered boat around the lakes in the city. This was a good way to see some of the bigger houses as these are grouped around the lake. To finish off the trip, the train brought us home in a similar style to our trip up.

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