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This Party in Hamburg Starts at Five in the Morning

June 17, 2014 at 11:37 AM | by | ()

If Berlin is Germany's best party city, then consider Hamburg a miniature version with its nightclub culture, red-light district, and the street-filled fiestas of the Reeperbahn. There's enough to keep you going through the next morning, and on a recent visit, we discovered the perfect place to watch the sunrise - and found something we never expected.

As the clock began to push 5 a.m., this travel writer was led by his friends out of the club, into the daylight. They all kept talking about this fish market, something that, in my 5 a.m. haze, I could not fully understand. Why on earth are you taking me to a fish market when we've been out partying all night? To the waterfront we went, away from the noise and the ridiculousness of the Reeperbahn. Little did I know, it was about to get even more ridiculous.

On the surface, it really was a fish market, one where local vendors sold everything from fruit to fresh fillets. There were pretzels and Berliners, flowers and fish sandwiches, currywurst and beer. Yes, beer. When I walked into the main fish hall, the sun was shining through the large glass windows at the far end of the building, a dominate reminder to all that it was indeed daytime. But they might as well have pulled down a gigantic shade, because no one could have cared less about the time. Under that aforementioned window, a band blasted out pop cover songs, and a crowd of a few hundred people - bigger than what had been at the club - bounced around and sang along.

Instantly, I understood why my friends were so insistent on coming. We weren't ending the night - we were continuing it. Fish sandwiches for all to go with another round of beer, then straight to the dance floor for more fancy footwork. It was as if a beer hall, dance club, and grocery store were participating in a threesome, the drinks on the tables a mix of beer mugs and coffee cups.

It is in this image that the true value of this experience revealed itself to me, the odd yet lovable mix of people mingling at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Some were starting their day and others were ending it. Out of one eye you see an older couple perusing the vendors with their arms interlocked, and out of the other you see a drunk twenty-something walking around with a pineapple on his head. In one corner, it seems like a pre-Sunday service breakfast is taking place. In the other, fish sandwiches are inhaled by people who can barely seem to open their eyes.

The fish market takes place every Sunday, from 5 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. April through October and 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in winter. It's a must stop on your next visit to Hamburg, but whether you decide to start or end your day there is up to you!

[Photos: Flickr/Katherine Rodeghier/Flickr]

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