Hamburg, Germany: It's a small world after all
Looks kind of fake, huh? Exactly.
The 300,000 wee folk populating Hamburg's Miniatur Wunderland, the largest model railway in the world, live variously in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and the U.S.
Over 800 train cars zip through the 12,000 square feet of cities and rural landscapes, filled with outdoor cafes, castles and skyscrapers, ski slopes with gondolas, beaches, zoos, sports arenas, hot-air balloons, parachuters, horse-drawn carriages, Ferris wheels, airports, casinos, cars (and car washes), the Northern Lights, even a crime scene. Time speeds along here; as you watch, another day will end and you'll see the Wunderland by night.
The idea for this crazy, delightful, micro-extravaganza came to Frederik Braun when he was traveling in Zurich. He happened upon a railway model shop, which prompted a serious case of childhood nostalgia. On leaving the store, he immediately called his twin brother and told him, "We're are going to build the largest model railway in the world." And so they did.
The brothers aren't done either. The wee folk will soon get the chance to visit France and Italy and perhaps other places down the road. If you're visiting Hamburg, especially with your own wee folk in tow, the Wunderland should definitely be on your itinerary. Tickets are €10 for adults and €5 for kids. If you book ahead, you'll avoid waiting in the sometimes long lines.