The Altona District
One of the fringe benefits of holding FEATS at the Altonaer Theater is the location: from here, you can visit many a Hamburg landmark or take a great city stroll and still be back in time for the next round of shows.
Things to do in Altona
The Elbe River
If you simply need a breath of fresh air, take a right as you come out of the theater and head towards Altona Rathaus, the large impressive Neoclassical building which houses various district offices, including a local registrar's office (just in case you meet the love of your life during the festival and want to tie the knot). If you pass this and cross the street, you'll find yourself on the Altonaer Balkon, a large green park offering what is no doubt one of the most impressive panoramic views of the Elbe River. You'll also see a large part of the harbor, container ships and the extraordinary Köhlbrandbrücke, one of Hamburg's most renowned of its more than 2,400 bridges: yes, that's right — Hamburg has more bridges within its city limits than any other city in the world, including Amsterdam and Venice combined! If you want to get closer to the water’s edge, walk along the park for a bit and you will find steps leading down to Grosse Elbstrasse, fast becoming a (daytime) destination for seafood fans, with its former fish import/export warehouses transformed into cafes and restaurants.
Shopping & Eating in Altona
Head in the opposite direction towards the Altona train station, bear left to turn into the main pedestrian thoroughfare, Ottenser Haupstraße, and you will find yourself in the heart of one of Hamburg's trendiest, liveliest quarters with the most diverse array of shops, restaurants, and cafés. If you don't have time to sit down for a meal, just go to Mercado. The first floor of this three-storey mall is an open-plan market with cuisine from all over the world and the perfect place for a quick, delicious and affordable bite to eat.
Alternatively, if you need to pick up some last minute purchases for your set, follow the signs at Altona train station to IKEA, just five minutes from the theatre. Opened last year, this is the first inner-city IKEA in Europe, offering the usual range of furniture, an IKEA restaurant and environmentally-friendly bikes and trolleys which you can rent to transport your purchases.
A Few More Ideas on What to See and Do
Besides rehearsing, performing in plays, watching plays, having the odd drink or two …
… here are a few things you might want to do, should life become boring …
… perish the thought!
Giant Camera Obscura
If you walk to the Altonaer Balkon (see above), you will find a big black box installed by the Altonaer Museum: an oversized camera. As you enter it, be careful: it’s dark inside! Once your eyes have adapted, you will see an ‘interesting’ projection of the harbour on the wall.
For more details and directions please visit: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/hamburg/camera-obscura/
Old Elbe Tunnel
Visit the old Elbe Tunnel (the 'new' Elbe Tunnel links the north and south banks of the Elbe in Hamburg by means of the A7 motorway). When it opened in 1911, it was a technical sensation. Four huge lifts carried pedestrians, carriages and motor vehicles to the bottom on one side and back to the top on the other - a big improvement for the tens of thousands of workers in one of the busiest harbours in the world. While other bridges and tunnels have since been built to take over most of the traffic, the tunnel is sill in operation and worth a visit. The walls are tiled with beautiful historic decorative elements, and on the south side of the river you’ll be able to take in the best view of Hamburg’s cityscape. The entrance to the tunnel is located to the right of the Landungsbrücken piers, and you can either take the stairs or the elevators. As a pedestrian, the best time to explore is on the weekends, when the tunnel is closed to traffic. For more details and directions please visit: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/hamburg/the-old-elbe-tunnel/
If you would like to see Hamburg from the water, take a trip on one of the HVV (Hamburg’s local transport network) ferries – known as the HADAG ferries and not to be confused with the privately run ferries offering harbour tours. For the price of a HVV ticket you can take the No. 62 ferry departing from Landungsbrücken (only 3 stops from Altona on the S1 or S3) downriver to the fish market, Dockland, and over to the historic fisherman’s district Oevelgoenne. Here you can look at the historic ships in the harbour museum, stroll along the beach (yes, we have a real beach!) or walk up the hill in the direction of the Elbchaussee and see the picturesque houses overlooking the Elbe – formerly belonging to seafaring families. For more details and directions please visit: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/hamburg/hvv-fahre/
The Devil's Bridge
If you’re feeling really energetic, there is a lovely walk from Oevelgoenne to Teufelsbrück (Devil's Bridge) – from Teufelsbrück you can take the ferry back to Landungsbrücken. The walk will take about an hour: if you would like to eat something before setting off, go where the locals go: The Strandperle (Beach Pearl), a very popular little restaurant right on the beach. For more details and information please visit: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/hamburg/strandperle
Fabrik Food and Designer Market
If a Saturday market (09.00-15.00) is your thing, then go to the Fabrik for a food and designer market, originally inspired by Australian neighbourhood markets. There are a variety of stalls offering a great selection of food made with fresh ingredients. Local artists present products ranging from handmade soap to clothes to finely crafted jewellery and ceramics. The event is accompanied by live music. For more details and information please visit: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/hamburg/fabrik
The link www.spottedbylocals.com/hamburg/ is useful for restaurant information and exactly what the link promises – information on areas frequented by locals.
Visit the Süllberg Hotel, and don’t be intimidated by the fact that it looks rather ritzy and expensive. Go round to the terrace outside, which has a beer garden and fairly simple snacks for lunch (sausages, grilled chicken) – the view from here over the Elbe river is fantastic.
To get there take the S1 from Altona to Blankenese, then take the No. 48 bus that runs round trips from Blankenese station up the hill (buses depart every 10 minutes from Blankenese station). The bus trip itself is very interesting (the bus is known as the Bergziege (mountain goat)! Get off at the Waseberg stop (12 minutes) and walk to the Süllberg hotel, which is located at Süllbergterrasse 12.