IT’S very early on a Sunday morning and the Fish Auction Hall in the north German city of Hamburg is rocking to the rafters as the band belts out crowd pleasers by Johnny Cash and The Kinks.
To get their money’s worth, savvy shoppers either get up very early or go straight from all-night sessions in Reeperbahn clubs.
The market has been around since 1703 and still offers bargains such as carrier bags of fresh fish for €10 (£9), shopping baskets of fruit and vegetables for €9 and enough plants to fill a trendy small office for €20.
Music buffs gather by 5am when the music starts and they order buffet breakfasts to watch live bands playing jazz, country, rock or pop music until midday.
The revival of the Fish Market and Auction Hall in the St Pauli region of Hamburg – one of its most lively, thriving and colourful areas – is symbolic of the transformation of this city, the second largest in Germany.
With continental Europe to its south, Scandinavia to its north, the North Sea to its west and the Baltic to the east, Hamburg welcomes thousands of business and leisure travellers.
The newest attraction in the St Pauli region by a long chalk is the Beatlemania Museum.
John Lennon once said: “I was born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg.” Yet this is the first major permanent exhibition in Hamburg dedicated to the Fab Four.
Until now there was nothing to show how important the Reeperbahn experience was for those 1960s British bands.
Today Hamburg still has a thriving music scene and promotes as many new bands as it did in the 1960s. I could have spent the whole weekend watching them, but there is so much more to see and do.
The Schanzen and Karolinenviertel districts remind me of London’s Camden and Notting Hill. The shops were quirky and there were bargains to be found.
Hamburg is a beautiful city to walk around too.
We stayed at the Steigenberger Hotel Hamburg with three nights B&B costing £85-130. Visit www.hamburg-tourismus.de for more information.
We stayed at the luxury four-star Holiday Inn just a couple of minutes from the town centre. Contact the hotel on 0870 4431 761 or take a look at the website www.qmh-hotels.com and click on the link to Holiday Inn, Harrogate.
Must-see places to visit in Harrogate include the Montpellier Quarter, Betty’s, the Pump Room Museum, the Valley Gardens, the nearby Harlow Carr gardens and the numerous individual shops and arcades.
Visit www.harrogate.gov.uk for more information on the town.