Pictures: Expat Couple Visits St. Pauli’s Red Light District in Hamburg, Germany

Welcome to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, where you can legally pay someone to touch your pork roll.

On March 23rd, 2013, The Wife and I took a day trip to Hamburg. We rode the Metronome (or “slow train,” as we affectionately refer to it) north for about one hour, changed lines in Uelzen, then rode another hour to Hamburg.

When we first arrived, I was struck by the extent to which Hamburg reminded me of Seattle. It was beautiful, with a lively and colorful bay rife with wide-eyed tourists staggered about in circles. However, where Seattle has hills and skyscrapers, Hamburg has cargo cranes and a world-famous red light district. The red light district surrounds the street called Reeperbahn, which runs right through the St. Pauli quarter of the city. St. Pauli used to make me think of St. Pauli Girl beer (which is actually brewed in Bremen). Now, Saint Pauli makes me think of a slightly intimidating neighborhood where a couple of euros gets your bone smooched.

The Red Light District of St. Pauli is best seen at night, or so I was advised, enthusiastically, by the German guy I spoke with at the Restaurant Fischerhaus. Sure enough, there were neon signs and crazy porno storefronts everywhere, so I imagine the effect at night would be much like that of the Las Vegas Strip, where my every sense is subjected to a spectacular display of Shock and Awe. And much like the Las Vegas Strip, I wanted to spend just enough time on Reeperbahn street to have a beer, take a few pictures and get the hell out of there before shit got weird.

Here are our pictures. We hope you can dig ’em!

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66 thoughts

  1. So what I’m getting from this is that Europeans (or just Germans?) have some sexual sixth-sense? I always knew us Americans were missing out by being so repressed!


  2. If you didn’t take a walk through the old Elbtunnel, you missed one of the best sights of Hamburg. And that U-Boot is really something to see. As for the Reeperbahn – it is SO over-rated, man. It’s crammed with drunks and tourists trying not to trip over them, and the whores! Like an ugly contest in moonboots.


  3. Different to Amsterdam where you are allowed to wander a bit more freely – id probably be more curious and determined if someone told me I wasn’t allowed to go somewhere than if I was able to go wherever!


    1. I know. In retrospect, I could have walked around recording video if I’d wanted. No one could have really stopped me. (Especially because the ladies probably weren’t wearing shoes, so I could just run away real quick-like.) :)


      1. lol if they were wearing stripper heels they could do some damage (mental image of one being thrown down the street boomarang style!)
        I respect that they don’t want pictures taken, same goes in Amsterdam. Guess I wouldn’t want people snapping pictures of me at work either – especially if I had my kit off!


      2. I know. Me neither. I’d hate for people to take pictures of me as I sit in front of my computer for 10 hours per day, still wearing my pajamas and a sweatshirt with the hood pulled over my head. *shudder*


  4. You should try going to the main Hamburg market at about five am and having the original hot dog – a frankfurter in a bun. Mind you, I was taken for this treat in 1950-something aged about seven.


  5. How could you miss that giant model railway (featuring different countries, a model man peeing from a model bridge and a model couple making love in a model car) / model city (with moving model cars, model fire trucks, etc.) / model ocean (with model ships cruising from shore to shore) / model airport (with model airplanes taking off and landing)? Even if you don’t spend money on museums, this one is worth every penny.


  6. That’s pretty interesting. We have a red-light district here in my little city in Korea, where it is illegal. However, it’s pretty obvious and since it’s right across the street from City Hall, everybody knows about it. I usually don’t go down there but if I do, there’s a sort of train-wreck fascination with the whole place: shop fronts set up like salons and bored-looking women standing around in slightly-revealing outfits, smoking.


  7. I didn’t know Hundertwasser did the station in Uelzen as well. He’s decorated loads of stuff all over Austria and I seriously admire his work.

    I am glad you found Hamburg to resemble Seattle, that way I can safe my money for a trip there as I have been to Hamburg quite a few times.

    Glad you enjoyed Hamburg as evidenced by the beer picture. But why do you call yourself an expat “couple”?


  8. Oh memories of Hamburg! My friend and I actually waited just outside of the “Sexy Angel” store for our husbands as they went to have a wander around the Reeperbahn, and as you know, women of the non-working girl variety are strictly verboten. lol


  9. Fantastic post! I’ve been to Hamburg a fair few times and have made the very same trip on the “slow trains” stopping off at Uelzen a few times with living in Hanover, too!


  10. Right, so here is a picture of that middle house, you know? And there’s three guys in the picture (one of them is inside.) Can you guess their nationalities? Well, the guy on the left is Russian. The guy on the right is Finnish. And the guy inside? Himalayan.

    Sorry. This is a joke my father told me in the 60’s, and it’s not fair to keep the pain inside.


  11. *sigh* – I know some of the places your pics show, but not all of them… in particular I have to admit I didn’t like Hamburg… Compared to other German cities it’s kind of – uhm… “ugly”.
    But I do like your post and all the effort you put into!!


  12. Wow… really? That’s it? If that’s already so scary and exciting at the same time I’m guessing you’ve never been to Asia, well Thailand to be exact. Haha check out Pattaya for the real deal! BTW girls are allowed at the red light district there as well, not sure about picture taking though but I guess if you don’t get anyone’s faces it might be ok.

    But interesting post, didn’t know Americans were so… I wanna say “uptight” but I don’t think it’s fair, “prostitution curious”? Disclaimer: I’m Asian but not Thai.


  13. Haha that depends on where you’re from in the US I guess, or maybe I just watched too much sex and the city and got my idea from that lol!

    I don’t think Americans are square at all! Look at Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates and Hollywood films and Family Guy… (this could go on for a while) Anyway, point is you guys have created a lot of great stuff. Kudos to that. :D

    BTW I’m not saying that Asians are more used to prostitution, it was an eye-opener for me seeing “ladyboys” around in Thailand also. :P


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