The best of world on a budget of €15 a day…
Day 22 – Hamburg
Sandeman’s New Europe Tours are a GREAT company that offer free tours in many of Europe’s backpacker-friendly cities. The company’s admirable philosophy is that everyone should have the right to know more about the city they are visiting, regardless of their budget – so they offer these fantastic 3 hour tours for free.
Well…they’re almost free. The guides are all freelance so basically, their income comes from people on the tour tipping them. Note that there is ZERO pressure to tip. It’s a quick sentence at the beginning of the tour and a quick sentence at the end where the guide thanks you and reminds you of the business model, but certainly no pouty faces and pleading open palms to be seen anywhere. So, if you don’t WANT to tip, you don’t HAVE TO.
That said, nine times out of ten you get a guide who you’d like to take home to meet your mother (the one time out of ten might also have been a hangover related issue on my part)so I can almost guarantee you’ll happily hand over your tip at the end of the tour. It’s not just laughs though; by the end of the tour you’ll be better informed and significantly more enthused about wandering around the city independently afterward, armed with your new found knowledge about whose footsteps you are following in as you troop around. Is that a spring in your step, Miss Medlock?? The tours are aimed at travellers Just Like You, so they also represent great opportunities to pick up fellow solo travellers for company. You may wish to warn them about your fifteenaday constraints so as not to disappoint them if they’re only interested in heading to the pub.
Some might find it awkward that there is no guideline for the amount given. Well… call me a miser (be fair, before the fifteenaday lunacy I have given more), but recently my tips have been in the €5 range. In my mind (although this a whopping third of the daily fifteenaday) it’s a good investment as in all reality there is only so long you can do the “wandering and pointing at churches routine” that you’ll inevitably be tiring of by the tie you’re on your tenth city.
Meeting at 11am or 1pm in front of various famous landmarks in xx,xx,xx,xx,xx,xx and xx. I can vouch for Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen and Hamburg as excellent options – with additional kudos going to Berlin.
The company also runs pub crawls in most of the cities. They charge for these, and if pub crawls are your thing, then it’s also good value for money, a good laugh and a great way to solve the solo traveller’s “I’d like to go out but I’m Billy No Mates”. dilemma. You will particularly enjoy the if you’re not prematurely middle aged like myself. I found out how old I’d got in Hamburg the hard way. After explaining fifteenaday to the company in Hamburg, they said I should come along to the pub crawl for free. A very kind offer, and it definitely made for a good way to see the city’s infamous Reeper Bahn. I’d done one of these pub crawls in Berlin when I was a bit younger (is that really almost a bloody decade ago? No. Not quite, but I guess time does fly when you’re having fun, right? Right!?!?!!) and thought it was the absolute BUSINESS! FREE SHOTTTTTTTSSSSSS!!! Even when done of us was nearly passed out in a kebab shot we were still THRIVING – yeah! Booze! Yeah!Booze!
Unfortunately, now I’m a bit old and found myself telling one of the younger English lasses to slow down a bit or she wouldn’t make it through, despite our antics being identically back in the year two-thousand-and -something. I couldn’t really stoop any lower after that, so I took myself home, told myself to get a life and wished I had more game.
The others partied on. Some of them might have even made it home to their own beds.