While fortnight-long holidays are fabulous for fully recharging the batteries, a two-night break can be just the ticket when it comes to banishing winter blues and putting a spring in your step.
With this in mind, we booked ourselves on an incredibly cheap flight to Hamburg from Edinburgh to discover what Germany’s second-largest city has to offer.
After hopping on the S-Bahn at Hamburg airport, we arrived just a few metres away from the brand new Ruby Lotti Hotel.
Lean luxury is the mantra at Ruby Lotti. Located on one of Hamburg’s many canals (more on those later), this converted former publishing house combines the building’s history with cutting-edge technology and quirky modern touches.
Rather than a traditional reception, guests are welcomed straight into the chic and bustling bar.
I checked in using a screen embedded into the bar top and my room key was promptly spat out of a slot and off we went to find our Loft room.
Our room was sleek and minimalist with views over the canal below and a huge bed, guitar amp (should you be so inclined) and an en suite complete with heated toilet seat.
After adding a few more layers (temperatures were around 2 degrees), we headed out to start exploring.
Firstly, Hamburg is beautiful. It is a port city and is criss-crossed by a network of canals (known as fleets) and bridges. In fact, as we were told by several people we met on our trip, Hamburg is said to have more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam put together.
We began our walk with a wander up Neuer Wall, a must-visit street for anyone who has shopping on their city break bucket list.
With a huge array of designer stores, this is the place to flex your credit card.
After a walk to Hamburg’s town hall, an elaborate building that is well worth a look, we discovered that we had worked up quite an appetite.
We dropped into Bona’me, which offered traditional Turkish dishes such as delicious manti dumplings and thin rolled flat breads stuffed with meatballs, yoghurt sauce and peppermint oil. This was the perfect spot to warm up and refuel before we went back to pounding the pavements.
Speicherstadt, Hamburg’s warehouse district, was high on our list of areas to explore and it did not disappoint.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is charming beyond belief and the brick warehouse buildings exude history as you wander between them.
As the cold started to really sink in, we headed for one of the city’s indoor attractions, Miniatur Wunderland.
While model railways are not usually a priority for me on holiday, as this is the largest one in the world, it felt like it was worth a visit.
The railway is spread across a number of rooms, each with its own meticulously designed landscapes complete with thousands of figures.
From crime scenes to amorous couples, a closer look adds amusement to the impressive 15,400m of track.
Aside from its beauty and history, another major draw for Hamburg is its vibrant nightlife.
The Reeperbahn is possibly one of the city’s best known streets as it runs through the very lively St Pauli district which is home to Hamburg’s famous red light district.
However, as well as its seedier side, St Pauli also offers a host of bars and restaurants to suit a variety of tastes.
We headed to East, a restaurant that oozed Sex And The City glamour, and indulged in a huge platter of sushi rolls.
The final highlight of the trip required a very early start but was well worth venturing into the chilly streets at 7.30am on a Sunday morning – and was testament to just how far I am willing to go to sample a gastronomic delicacy.
Located down at the river Elbe, Hamburg’s famous Fischmarkt opens every Sunday morning for sellers to ply their fish, fruit, flowers and much else in between.
The market was bustling with a whole host of different characters, from those on an early morning mission to get the best produce, to many who were carrying on last night’s party with a beer, a dance to the live band and a traditional fischbrötchen.
We grabbed ourselves a couple of these fish-stuffed rolls and took up a pew to marvel at this early morning spectacle.
With only 48 hours in the city, I will definitely be returning to delve a little deeper and uncover more of its hidden delights.