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More than just fish: A must-see for early birds and night owls
Since 1703, the St. Pauli Fischmarkt has drawn early birds and night owls to the banks of the Elbe. A unique mix of people come here early on Sunday mornings for a variety of reasons. Some come for the great bargains on fish, fruit, flowers, clothing or souvenirs, while others come here as a last stop on a night out, unwilling to go home yet. But here, everybody, be it locals, party-goers, or tourists, end up having coffee together, maybe a fresh fish sandwich, and regain their spirits while enjoying the marvellous atmosphere. If you have not been here, you have not (truly) been to Hamburg.
It’s not unusual to precede your visit to the fish market with some serious bar-hopping in St. Pauli, only a short taxi-ride away. If you’re looking for a fine bar and a club experience, look no further than the new-opened FITZGERALD.
Upstairs, is a finely-designed and well-stocked bar playing lively music. Downstairs, there’s a club with electronic beats and a micro-movie theatre airing experimental films; it’s a great way to spend the last hours of the night. When the Fitzgerald closes at 6am, you will find yourself just 30 feet away from the Fish market. The stalls have already been set up and you’ll be among the first customers there
The best stalls aren’t really… stalls. The best produce is actually sold right out of the back of a truck. People gather here and listen to vendors loudly shout out the list of their wares: plants, fruit or fish, you name it.
The Dutch plant vendor has become something of an attraction here. With what appears to be a jungle protruding from the back of his truck, he cries out to customers: “A palm and a fern! I will throw in another palm and a Mango tree! And… three more ferns! Just 20 Euro, young Lady”. What a spectacle! (even if you are not into plants).
There are several fruit vendors in the market, who also yell out. If you’re just looking to buy a couple of apples, you just might end up with 4 plastic bags of bananas, pineapples and melons too. Enjoy your vitamins!
Another celebrity in the market is “Aale-Dieter”, who sells all sorts of fish: fresh or smoked or cured. Buy one mackerel and get two bags of Herring free! And he will toss half a salmon on top, as well. He is the loudest and rudest of them all. His routine is more akin to a stand-up-routine, as he sells fish. Even if you do not speak one word of German, you will catch his drift.
Remember, never go for the initial price – alwayshaggle. It’s Hamburg’s Sunday morning sport.
The Fischauktionshalle (fish auction hall) is right in the middle – you can’t miss it. This beautiful, 100 year-old hall is an ideal hideout for cold or rainy days. Here, you can find a superb breakfast and a funny German variant of live Jazz music. Spirits run high, as some folks bring their dancing shoes. Here, the party just keeps on going. It’s the ideal place to meet people (or just people watch) – it’s packed with locals (every Hamburger needs to go to the Fishmarket at least twice a year). What a great way to start a Sunday!