Hallo, Hallo!! Traveling to Germany in the summer 2020, it’s been one kind of historical trip, in the middle of the pandemic, with many countries still in quarantines and many people afraid of taking flights, I decided to take the step out of the comfort zone and experience how traveling during a pandemic feels, which new rules airports have and countries have been implementing so far, and which facts that media report are true (mostly any of them).
How are airports during the pandemic?
Going to an Airport in the 2020 after the biggest outbreak in history and in the middle of this global pandemic that has collapsed the entire world, is undoubtedly a unique experience.
It is historic to see Airports as empty in the middle of the summer. I don’t think this was happening since many decades, at least since the commercial flights started to operate during the last century. Also, since low-cost airlines emerged in the nineties, the airports used to be very busy, with hundreds of flights operating every day and thousands of persons flying non-stop.
Since I started to travel in 2013, it was like that. Long queues, crowded Airports and flights. With often delays, people were constantly moving.
That era is now definitely over. Airports are literally empty. With many gates closed. Many check-in places shut. Souvenirs shops also closed, and a very reduced list of flights operating. With some destinations already allowing tourists, while many others still shut to tourism.
Going to an Airport is worth to see how the world has changed. As Airports are symbolisms of the world. Places in which people from literally around all the world used to transit and flights used to transport those persons to all the world as well.
Not now, though.
New rules to expect at the airport
1) Because the airport is much less busy than before the pandemic, you should expect many of its entrances and exists to be shut. Also, some of the business and cafeterias are shut as well.
2) You need to wear a mask covering your nose and mouth at all times excepting when you are eating or drinking (pretty obvious).
3) There’s no real social distance while boarding on the plane and much less while inside of it, as planes go pretty full in spite of the time being.
4) Expect your flight to leave on time, and as there’s no air traffic expect to take off as soon as the flight starts moving.
5) Expect no queues and no crowds, silence and very relaxing security controls.
6) There’s no health controls at all. No temperature check. No passport control. It’s pretty relaxed.
Covid-19 Rules in Germany
(July 2020-subject to change)
At the Airport (Hamburg International Flughafen)
While traveling to Germany in the summer 2020, EU nationals including UK nationals can enter the territory without doing quarantine. Some other third countries might also apply. If you click here you’ll find all the last updates towards the entry to Germany.
While you arrive to Germany, there’s a police officer waiting for you in the entrance gate of the Airport (in my case the Airport of Hamburg) who delivers to you this paper advising of the new laws of the country referring to the entrance allowance of different nationals.
Once in the terminal, there’s 2 more police officers, who are doing aleatory controls (so, not to every passenger, but to some, or better said, to those who don’t look german, so me hehe) and ask you some random questions like: what’s your family name.
That’s it. You are now in German land already free to go wherever in the country you like. There’s no passport check, no form to fill with your contact details, and no health checks either.
At your accommodation..
While traveling to Germany in the summer 2020, you will need to fill this form also called “Formular zur Datenerfassung” , yet it’s in German, and yes also expect all the forms to fill referring to covid-19 in German as they mostly expect local tourism, not internationally, so they don’t translate to english.
The paper ask you for the dates you’re staying in the accommodation, your name, your address, your phone and your signature assuring you didn’t have any typical covid-19 symptom neither contact with someone infected in the last 14 days.
At bars & restos
While traveling to Germany in the summer 2020 you will notice that almost every time you seat in a bar or resto, even when visiting museums in Germany, you are supposed to fill a form with your details as well. I said almost every time, coz I was in some bars that didn’t ask for it
At the street
While traveling to Germany in the summer 2020, you will find that at the streets, wearing masks is not compulsory (in Germany) at least by 30 July 2020. This, as well as the rest of the info is subjected to changes in the following days, weeks and months.
Is traveling to Germany in the summer 2020 more expensive than before the pandemic?
Yes and not!
Because the mere fact of being on a pandemic in which human contact has been recommended to be avoided as measure to prevent the spread of the virus has pushed travellers towards better services, cleaner accommodations that will cost more than sharing space with other people on a hostel (for example).
Even if with all the events that have been going on recently in the world, is pretty obvious that the Travel Industry is going to experience a lot of changes, the prices of traveling services haven’t increase, at least not to go to Germany.
At the present moment, low cost airlines like Ryanair are still operating and their flights go pretty full. But still is too soon to know which airlines will remain and which ones will disappear.
So you can still buy fly tickets for the same prices as they used to cost before the pandemic. Eating on restaurants, public transport and so on has pretty much the same prices as always. So overall, traveling is not more expensive, it’s just the fact that people want more “safety” what makes people pay more for having better services. That’s it.
Travelers look for more clean accomodations without contact with strangers
That denotes, a sad but irreversible end for the hostels and its way of traveling. Probably also the end of backpackers traveling lifestyle. It’s sad because I lived that period very intense on first hand, while I traveled many places around the world, and I have even lived in hostels.
Shared everything with many other travellers and young adventurers. I had so much fun and the experience of being in contact with so many people was terribly enriching and memorable. But, as I always prefer to see the glass half full than half empty, I feel super glad I took the chance of getting those experiences that the future generations will probably miss.
AIRBNB & HOTELS
As the pandemic makes very difficult for people to find cheap accommodations sharing with more people or even staying at strangers home, more people are choosing to stay in apartments by themselves or at least at bedrooms for themselves at airbnb. Click here if you want a discount on your next reservation.
How to get to the city of Hamburg?
Getting to the centre of the city of Hamburg, I’ll say it is extremely easy. You just need to take the train S buy a one way ticket and drop off in the Central Station called “Hamburg Hbf”.
The ticket costs 1.80€ one way.
What to see in the city of Hamburg?
Visit the Rathaus and its square
The “Rathaus” also knwon as the city hall, is one of the main spots of the city of Hamburg. You can easily find it if you walk through “Mönckebergstrasse” the main commercial street of the city full of shops and typical german food stalls selling bratwurst and typical german sweets.
The entrance to the Rathaus is for free, but only allows you to see the mani entrance of the building (as the rest is used by the parliamentarians who work there) and the outside part of the building which is behind. Due to Coronavirus regulations you are expected to wear a mask as well as to fill, again, another form with your contact details.
Next to the Rathaus, if you keep walking you’ll reach the Harbour area, passing through the “Alster Lakes” in which you’ll find a street filled with elegant cafeterias and Galleries that is called “Jungfernstieg”.
If you keep walking down the “Alster Lakes” are you’ll reach another of the most relevants spots of the city:the “Binnenalster” (an artifical lake from which boats are departing to make tours around the multiple lakes of the city) and the Außenalster, another artifical lake connected to the “Binnenalster.
The Binnenalster & Außenalster
As I said before, the two connected artificial lakes, are one of the main and more popular areas of the city. Once you arrive there, you’ll notice it is pretty crowded (even during corona times) and that a lot of young people seats around the lake to drink beer, listen some music and meet their friends.
For a tourist, one recommendable thing to do is to take one of the Boats that are in waiting in front of the main restaurant of the Binnenalster. They do tours around the Lakes of the city, 1h tour costs: 15€ (with no student discount) and the other is 2h and costs 19€. Obviously the second option is cheaper, though I took the first as I just arrived to the city, had took a place at 6am and haven’t sleep, so I was a bit tired to spend so long time on a boat.
Another thing you should do is to rent a public bicycle. You’ll need to download the App of the StadtRad. The first half hour is for free. And you can ride all around the city as there’s bike lanes always. But the best option is to ride around the lakes, you can take a break, stop the bike and seat to observe any of the peaceful views and environments around the lake in which people practice water sports as kayaking, or just seat around to relax and breath the fresh green environment.
Elbphilharmonie and the port areas
The Elbphilharmonie is an iconic building of the city of Hamburg placed in the port of the city, it is considered to be one of the most pleasant concert halls in the world.
You can enter towards the first floor of the building for free, which offers an outstanding view to the city of Hamburg, seeing the whole port and many of its canals.
The architecture of the building is very original as from outside as from inside, that is another of the reasons you should visit.
If you wanna go upper from the first floor and visit the concert hall then you’ll need to get a ticket.
Around the Elbphilharmonie, you’ll find more boat tours, and a lot of restaurants, bars and ice cream stands. The prices of that area are a bit high because of its location. I seat in a bar to have a Hugo (typical drink made with white wine and soda, for the summertime and originally from Austria) and I payed 7.5€ for the drink.
Anyway, the location is unique and very enjoyable to seat for a while and drink something there. So it is definitely very much worth it.
The International Maritime Museum & Speicherstadt
It is important to remember that Hamburg has the second biggest port of Europe, and thereof it has the world’s largest private maritime collections of the world.
It’s International Maritime Museum it is iconic and its visit is a must. It costs 13 € normal entrance and 9.50€ with student discount.
If has 9 floors of exposition, each of them referring to different aspects of the maritime field which include: the Navigation and communication methods in history, the history of shipbuilding, the modern shipping, an art collection of the sea..
It has also interactive parts, which unfortunately were closed I’m pretty sure that because of the virus.
The Speicherstadt is the largest warehouse district of the city of Hamburg, was built in 1883, and it is surrounded with the canals. It is a very silent and authentic part of the city, 100% worth to walk around the district.
St. Michel's Church & the Botanical Garden
The St. Michel’s Church is one of the main Lutheran baroque churches of the city of Hamburg, very beautiful from inside, not so outstanding from outside.
From the XVII century, it has a huge musical organ, an its visit is free and permitted. The seats inside of the church though, have been separated from each other.
Place outside of the city-centre you’ll find an incredibly beautiful and well-taken care park/garden full of flowers and public seats to stay and relax a bit.
What/Where to eat in Hamburg?
If I am honest, the purpose of this trip was to experience the traveling in covid-19 times, having a taste of the world in the middle of a pandemic, in it huge and sudden change of era.
So I didn’t look to much for places to eat. Also I already was in Germany 3 times before my 4th in Hamburg, and had the taste of its typical Kartofel salads, Bratwurst, Currywurst and Schnitzel dishes. So for this time being, I improvised a lot and also discovered the healthy side of the german food.
One day I eat in a restaurant called : Green Lovers, very close to the Rathaus. They serve delicious healthy bowls that you can make choosing your own toppings. The price is between 10-12€ per bowl and 3€ per healthy drink.
Other days I just grabbed some food from the typical food stands in the street because I didn’t wanted to waste time by seating in a place, and continued visiting the city while eating. But, one afternoon I seat in one of the main Hamburg’s bistreaus, and eat delicious Apfelkuchen mit vanile (apple cake with vanille ice cream, it’s typical from the region and super delicious).
I also grabbed 1/2 litter Paulaner beer. A must if you are in Germany 😉
To end up with...
The biggest purpose of traveling to Germany in the summer 2020 was to experience first-hand the post quarantine world, taking a flight and see how other countries of the world were leading with the same issue in first hand.
Also I wanted to prove how the Media is lying as always, during this “crisis”. They tend to scare people, make them afraid of traveling suggesting is a big risk for them to catch the famous virus.
Governments are also hugely involved on confusing the population, scare them and make people vulnerable. Changing their borders’ rules daily, people don’t know anymore where they can and can’t travel freely all over again. So this is a complaint to them, but also a complaint to the people who follow their orders without questioning, and that are comfortable in a world who is losing its freedoms.
It is time to wake up, to realize the world keeps being a wonderful place full of good souls and that there’s no risks you should be afraid of, and much less if the media is telling you to be. JUST DO YOUR OWN. DON’T FOLLOW EVERY SINGLE RECOMMENDATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT. YOU’RE NOT AT SCHOOL ANYMORE.
As I always say:” The biggest risk is to believe every thing the media and Gov’s tell you is a risk, is actually a real risk”. And also :” the fear is the opposite side of the freedom”. Nurture whichever side you prefer. 😉