Since we weren’t doing any travelling over Christmas break I made plans to go to Hamburg, Germany. (Jeremy grew up near Hamburg, New York so it seemed fitting that we’d see the German version.) The real reason for the trip was to see Miniatur-Wunderland, a model train extravaganza which anyone who has spent time watching the Discovery Channel has probably heard about. Hamburg is, according to Google Maps, a 5 1/2 hour drive from us (and that doesn’t include bathroom stops or staus) so we opted to take the ICE train.
We visited the Wunderland on a Friday night, and I expected the crowds to be light. Well, I was completely wrong there. It is a very popular place and with good reason: it is amazing!
All of the numerical details and statistics are available on the website, but suffice to say 1) it is HUGE and 2) it is incredibly detailed. We started in the American section where the layouts included famous American landmarks. However, we did not see a Wal-Mart.
Of course there were trains zooming around (much more efficient than Amtrak) but there were plenty of other vehicles cruising along the highways. This section of America was in a bit of a time warp. The city of Las Vegas was also featured, as was Miami Beach.
Apparently all of America has this amazing geography. That is what is shown on Road Runner and Wiley Coyote cartoons, after all.
The section behind Andrew is Scandinavia and had real water with boats in it. In the information guide there was an ‘eye spy’ game to try to find some unique scenes, such as scuba diving cows.
There were thousands of little human figures in the displays.
In many parts of the display there were interactive features. Pressing one of those buttons would make some lights go on or would cause something to move.
I can figure out what the people are doing, but what is up with that red creature eating a candy cane?
The cyclists in the far right of this bridge caught Jeremy’s eye.
Not that I would revel in someone’s misfortune, but this was pretty cool: this building was on fire and the emergency vehicles were speeding their way along the highway to help. The building had some pretty realistic flames and smoke!
Perhaps this gives a sense of the scale. There are over 150 full time employees! A good sense of humor must be a requirement for this job because there were many amusing features in the displays.
Take this for example. Since we were there after Christmas there were plenty of Santas visiting. Even Santa needs to wait his turn at the outhouse.
I think Thomas was getting little tired. He’s gazing down at the Swiss Alps.
This made me want to go back to Switzerland. This time I’d be sure we get to the top of Jungfrau.
This airport is the latest addition to the Wunderland, though we did not see any planes taking off. Every 20 minutes the sun “sets” and it is night-time. On that time scale our visit lasted about two weeks!
Photos don’t really do justice to the display since what is truly amazing are all the moving parts. I did take a little video but apparently it is in the wrong format to post here. (And truly, it isn’t that great.) For a better review, search YouTube or check the Discovery Channel listings. Or go to Hamburg – truly, it is incredible!