When I was little my parents were all about gender-neutral toys. As well as having a Dolls House we had a Fisher Price Garage (complete with petrol station) and a Seaport. The Seaport came with a big container ship, a dock where the Ship could harbour and a couple of Cranes for moving things on and off the Ship. I had completely forgotton about this bit of my childhood until I visited Hamburg Port last weekend. Looking over the enormous Hamburg Hafen, the toy set and all the games I used to play with it came flooding back. Happy memories! I'd love to know if Mum has kept that toy amongst all our childhood treasures; would be nice to get it out again and see if it's as I remember it. Anyway, even over the Easter weekend the port was alive with the comings and goings of container ships. Hamburg's port really is still the heart of the city and we found ourselves coming back to the port repeatedly, thankfully always with five minutes to spare to watch the ships and take just a few more photos of the busy-ness that was all about.
Back behind the port is the old Speicherstadt area. The warehouses were built in the late 1800s to store goods from the free port. It's a pretty quiet part of town now - there are a few apartment conversions in the pipeline and curious tourists walking through the old lanes, but mostly the old buildings have been left to themselves leaving you to imagine how the place must have looked 200 years ago when bargeships and men and pulleys and horses would have filled the place with the sounds that now echo from the modern-day port.