Sunday, June 26, 2016

Jalan-Jalan Hannover

So yeah, not quite a top-of-mind destination, but the opportunity to visit Hannover came when my other half invited me along on her work trip this past March. Her company was an exhbitor at the world's biggest IT fair, CeBIT, so I happily said "JA" to this chance of visiting Germany for the first time ever :)

We took a KLM flight to Amsterdam, and continued our journey on the KLM Cityhopper to Hannover. The last time we were at Schipol Airport was in 2013, when we went to Amsterdam and London for our year-end family holiday. Think they've done a fair bit of renovation, and we encountered no problems whatsoever at the check point.

We went straight to the hotel upon arriving in Hannover, and managed to do a bit of sightseeing. The hotel was near the Hannover Hauptbanhof (the main train station), right in the heart of the city, so it was super convenient to catch public transportation, and there were tons of places to shop and halal eateries as well.

My wife had also arranged for a week-pass for all the trains and trams (available only during CeBIT), so moving about was really smooth. (Interesting to note that there are no ticket turnstiles for the tram system, so you are trusted to buy your own tickets before getting on. There are no ticket inspectors as well!)

On the first day itself, we went to the Herrenhausen Great Garden, a must-visit 17th century baroque garden and one of the best in Europe. Entry fee was EUR 6.

It was a wonderful sight, although at the end of winter, the flowers were not in bloom and trees were still being groomed. It's the same all around the city. We could only imagine what it would really look like during the other seasons.


For the next five days, I had time to explore the city on my own (while my wife was hard at work, hehe), and I did manage to do quite a bit. So, here are some highlights...

There was one day when the weather was simply magnificent (although the temperature was still relatively low), so I went back to the Haurenhausen Garden, and also visited the adjacent attraction, the Grober Garden. Sealife was there too, but I chose to just lepak by the park and actually read my book : )

The other way of seeing the sights easily was of course on a hop-on, hop-off CityTour bus. But in winter, the service was only on certain days and not on a daily basis. I managed to catch one, and it took me to 8 different stops, costing EUR 15. Yeah, it was kind of a short loop, but I did manage to get a better bearing of where all the attractions were in the city, and they were more or less within walking distance.

So, having acquired the necessary knowledge of important locations, I did my own walkabout. One definite must-visit is the New Townhall. For EUR 3, you could go up to the top of the observation platform via the arched lift. It could be slightly daunting for people who are not keen on heights, I must say!

The views from on top though were simply magnificent.

You could also see models of the city throughout the different eras and centuries, on the ground floor. Hannover was basically destroyed during World War II, so they had to rebuild almost 90% of the city.

Outside the Townhall, even the gardens around the area were simply picture-perfect.

So of course I had to come back with wifey a couple of days later to enjoy the sights again with her.

Around the area too, I visited a couple of museums and galleries, and also made my way to the HDI Arena, home of Bundesliga side, Hannover 96.

The magnificent man-made lake of Maschee was also in the vicinity.

I must say that my days there were simply relaxing and calm, with pleasant cool weather always. I spent a lot of time at the shops too, buying some rare stuff for our princess.

I also checked-out the coffee places (which they had plenty of!), and sampled some of their famous pretzels! (Big and salty, but it was alright).

For our lunch and dinners, there were quite a number of Middle Eastern kebab shops to choose from. But yeah, after 4, 5 days, bosan jugak makan kebab je : /

The only other type of halal cuisine was an Indian restaurant where we had some roti and beriyani. But there were no Malaysian or Indonesian restaurants within our vicinity.

I also visited the exhibition grounds where CeBIT was held, and it was huge! It's a bit of a walk for people wanting to visit all the halls, I can assure you.

I must say though that Germans are friendly people. Everywhere you go, people would greet you with an enthusiastic "Hulllloooo". Hehe. And yeah, somehow I passed off as a German myself. It was pretty simple; Say "hullo" going into a shop, buy something, then say "Danke!". And you're done : )

Danke Hannover, for the memories! And danke dear wifey : )

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