Today an interview with Ute Kreitz, Spotter for our Hamburg cityblog. We met Ute in 2008 in Hamburg, and she’s been Spotting for us since!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am originally from Northern Germany. After high school, I moved to the US where I lived for 8 years (east and west coast). I’ve been in Hamburg for 2 years now, and it’s a place where I instantly felt comfortable and at home. Being an international person myself, I enjoy meeting people from all over the world.
In my spare time I sing in a band, and we get to play in a number of cool venues around the city. Over the summer, I worked with another solo artist participating in local band contests, which was a lot of fun! And we were successful – we got 1st and 2nd place!
How do you like being a Spotter?
Whenever I ride around Hamburg I get a warm and fuzzy feeling thinking *how nice* this city is! So I want to share this experience with others and oftentimes I go around town thinking ‘Oh, this would be another great spot to write about!’ It’s a wonderful way of presenting the city from my point of view, to give visitors a chance to see unique places that are not all crowded with tourists. At least that’s the way I enjoy traveling the most – not a big fan of crowds and mainstream activities/events. I like things and places that can tell stories, that are of real substance.
Most people that I show around town are all impressed with the beauty and the diversity of places and events. They all say it’s a truly international city that has so much to offer!
I love this city because you can find a little bit of everything: a cool Hanseatic flair, metropolitan elegance, alternative culture and art – in other words, everything from extravagant to grungy to flamboyant.
Most people here in Hamburg are pretty laid back and I like their mentality: they’re open and friendly, like to throw in a good joke here and there, yet they’re not afraid to get straight to the point – whether it’s pleasant or not. I often hear from other visitors that they are pleasantly surprised by the warmth and friendliness of “Hamburgers”, quite contrary to the common cliché that people from Northern Germany are cold, reserved, and abrasive.
Also, I like the look of the city: there is a great combination of art nouveau (my favorite!) and modern architecture, lots of parks, a big body of water right in the center, and even a beach along the Elbe. Also, Hamburg is investing a lot in environmentally friendly concepts and was awarded for being Europe’s Green capital by the European Commission!
What is a must do when you visiting Hamburg?
Hm, there’s a lot that you should see and do when you come to Hamburg. Definitely bring enough time with you! But if I had to narrow it down…well, a tour of the harbor is definitely a must! Also, you should try some Labskaus (traditional local dish), go for a walk along the Alster, and see good show. Oh yeah, and you should be prepared for all kinds of weather conditions.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Hamburg at this moment?
Eimsbüttel. It’s a lively and rather urban neighborhood, attracting younger people, students, alternative artists, and young families. The buildings are not taller than 4 stories, many of them in art nouveau style. There is an abundance of restaurants, bars, and cafes. A few small pretty parks add a bit of nature to the neighborhood. It’s central – with public transportation it takes 10 minutes to get to the city center, or in 20 minutes by bike. The airport and main station are also very easy to reach.
What can you do in Eimsbüttel?
Where to begin? Well, for one thing, you can go shopping here! Everything is more or less clustered around the main street ‘Osterstrasse’, which is not necessarily the most beautiful shopping mile. It can get pretty crowded here, but you can lots of unique little shops offering a variety of things like tea, interior décor, books, clothes, international delicatessen, shoes etc. Be sure to visit the side streets! Twice a week, you can shop at the Farmer’s Market on Grundstrasse.
Although the ‘nightlife scene’ in Eimsbüttel is rather quiet and laid back, it has definitely picked up recently when some new restaurants and bars opened. When there’s time, I usually go to a café to relax or do some work on my laptop (many cafés offer wifi), or hang out with friends. You can have a drink or a nice meal at one of the various restaurants (German and international cuisine). Many bars and restaurants also offer a brunch on weekends.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
Hmmm…on a perfect day, the weather would be perfect, too, right? I would do a lot of outdoors activities then. I’d go for a stroll along the Alster down to Jungfernstieg, have lunch at Friesenkeller, from there hop on the metro to visit Planten un Blomen, then go down to Landungsbrücken for a trip of the harbor.
Once it’s dark, I would walk through the Old Elbe Tunnel to enjoy the view of the lit up harbor from the other side of the river, and finally, conclude the perfect day with visit to Hasenschaukel.
Follow this link to see the other Spotter interviews.