At the Elbe bridges w/h Mrs Elbville.
Every hvv switch point is a story in itself - and an invitation to make a point. More than 100 hvv switch points in Hamburg offer a variety of ways to get from A to anywhere. We introduce you to exciting people from Hamburg - on their routes through the city. This time it's journalist Susanne Krieg.
The atmosphere at the hvv switch station Elbbrücken is almost apocalyptic on this day in November: surrounded by the gigantic construction sites of HafenCity, it looks like a station in the middle of nowhere. The sky is grey. The neighbourhood has been in the press for weeks: At the end of October, there was a tragic accident involving scaffolding, and construction work on the Elbtower, right next door, was halted due to funding problems. It was supposed to be the tallest building in the city. "Someone wanted to show who had the longest," says Susanne Krieg.
Susanne Krieg, 48, worked for years as an editor at GEO and won awards for her reports from Nepal, Scotland, Ethiopia and other countries. Today she writes about Hamburg. On Instagram and in books. She also takes photos. So she has a good eye on the city's buildings.
Why are we meeting here, in the middle of building sites?
I'm here often. Elbbrücken station is architecturally exciting and a hotspot for the photography community. You can always take good pictures here, no matter what time of year or day. I have permanently pinned a photo from here at the top of my Instagram gallery. When it gets dark, people gather here with tripods to capture the special light atmosphere. But right now I can see that a lot has changed: The buildings all around are getting taller and taller, making everything darker. It looks completely different to how it did in spring. That building didn't even exist yet... (She points to a 14-storey building shell.)
You grew up in Schleswig-Holstein. When did you move to Hamburg?
In 1995, to study. I still remember exactly how awesome the first week in the shared flat was: it was total freedom for me to finally live in the city. Before that, I was regularly in Hamburg to party. But you always needed someone to drive you, or you were dependent on bus and train timetables. And I knew that if I missed a particular S-Bahn train, my mum would be sitting up in bed at home.
And did you arrive safely in the city?
Yes, very well. I timetabled my university courses so that I had two days off - usually Thursday and Friday. To earn money alongside my studies. But also, of course, to explore the city - especially the nightlife. And even later, when I travelled around the world for my job, I was always really happy to come home. I would never move away from here.
You worked at Gruner+Jahr for many years. Today you run a very successful Instagram channel and offer photo walks through Hamburg. How did that come about?
It came about by chance. There were job cuts at GEO, so I was forced to start my own business. And started Instagram on the side. That then took on a life of its own. As a writing reporter at GEO, I would never have thought that I would also enjoy taking photos.
Do you make a living from "Mrs Elbville" today?
I have several mainstays. People who come to my photo walks or buy my books discover me via the channel. I have published my own book, Curious Places in Hamburg, and one with a publishing house. I also give workshops on social media.
The photo walks have titles such as "St. Pauli by day" or "Harbour edge". What are these tours like?
I show people how to take good pictures with their smartphone - in special places in the city. I think the main trick is that all you need is your phone - and you always have that with you anyway. I tell stories and background information about all the places. And somehow I don't do that badly, because the walks are always fully booked. And many of those who take part come back.
One of your books is called "Curious places in Hamburg". Which is the most curious place in the city for you?
The places are usually curious because of their stories. The Oberhafenkantine is not just as crooked as the Tower of Pisa because of storm surges and high tides: there is a myth that it was built from the same clinker bricks as the Chilehaus. The landlord at the time is said to have gone to the builders with beer and taken stones in return... His daughter Anita later took over the shop and is said to have done handstands on the bar stools until her death at the age of 84.
How do you come up with these stories?
I'm just good at googling... Finding good stories is in my blood as a journalist. Sometimes, when I see an interesting place, I stop and immediately check the internet to see if I can find anything exciting about it.
Do you have a favourite place in Hamburg?
The fish market, in the morning, right at the edge of the harbour. But the real fish market, which is hidden in a long tube a stone's throw away from the tourist fish market, is also a highlight for me. When I have visitors, I sometimes go there with my guests because it's simply a spectacle. It's only open during the week from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. for wholesalers. You can see huge fish stored on mountains of ice. I have never seen many of these fish species before. You can also shop there as an ordinary mortal - but you have to know what you want. Nobody there has time for advice.
How do you get around the city?
I cycle a lot or use public transport. I don't enjoy driving a car in Hamburg, so I prefer e-scooters. But then I always hope that nobody sees me...
Somehow I find it embarrassing. Maybe because e-scooter riders often mess up? But these things are sometimes very practical. I hope that people find a better way of dealing with them and learn not to put them in the way or throw them into the canal - so that they don't have to be banned at some point, like in Paris.