The land of Hamburgers

It's raining again in Potsdam, which means it's time to for some reminiscing, holiday-sun-fun style.

So let's rewind a month back, to a magical time when the sun was high in the sky, Andy's folks were visiting, and we all headed Nor-west to Hamburg.

I rode in on the ICE train late Thursday evening, and began my exploration with 'the Wizza Gang' (who had been in Hamburg since Wednesday) the next morning.

Actually, the Folks decided to head up to Luebeck- the famous home of the Marzipan, while Andy and I got to know the city with another Walking tour.

Let's take a look 'round Hamburg shall we?


 
 

I travelled to Hamburg with Lauren and Ashlee back in '09, but mainly with the purpose of visiting my cousins, and only for a couple of days. I remember walking along the water edge, going to markets, shopping for chocolate, and lots and lots of earmuffed seagulls.

But, with the exception of the Nikolai Church, I didn't remember much about the physical appearance of the city.

Let's be honest, I'm not great with physical landmarks anyway- but in my defense, it was winter last time- and the changes between the seasons are so extreme here that if they came any more rapidly I wouldn't be able to recognise the street of my own apartment from one month to the next.

Our guide took us past Chile Haus, dedicated to the country- but strangely adorned with polar bears.

I guess they match the penguins.


The whole thing is rather spectacularly shaped like a ship- Hamburgians have a bit of a ship fetish from what we could tell, but I guess that makes sense with their rich (fiscally) past involving the sea, plus, according to wiki, the fact that they are still the second largest port in Europe.
 

What is important to mention that it is not shaped like Chile the country, despite how much Andy tried to convince the guide.




We also walked by the building formerly occupied by the company that made Zyklon B. Originally made as a pesticide, it was later used by the Nazis to gas its victims in the Holocaust. The company was found to have removed the warning smell from Zyklon B, and thus were found guilty of playing a deliberate role in the deaths.

The building is no longer occupied by the same company, but carries a memorial plaque to the victims nonetheless.

We journeyed onwards, to Nikolai church, the church I remember as a MontyPythonesque 'burned down, fell over and then sank into the swamp' project. In reality I think it only burned down and got bombed into the swamp, but one has to question whether such 'acts of God' were actually some sort of message.

 
Of course, as with all German structures, it comes complete with memorials.



We travelled on, where Andy found, and fell in love with, this water fountain

 
As you can probably guess, the cylinders rotate and bubble, making a rather pretty little clockwork show. Because of the motion, and the heat generated, it is the only fountain in the world to still operate when the temperature drops to minus 30.


If you travel down a secret pathway...



 
 
...you come to a 'water courtyard', enclosed by houses...
 


...some of which look suspiciously Dutch.
 

The building to the right is, if I remember correctly, the original burning point of the Great Fire of 1842- which raged for 4 days, took out Nikolai church, killed 51 people and left about 20,000 homeless.

We fled for some more water, to the new Harbourside town...


... where our guide coerced a few of the guidees to reenact the story of Klaus Störtebeker.

He was originally hired to cut off the Danish supply lines during one of the many Danish-Swedish tiffs, but so enjoyed the piracy that he decided to make a career out of it.

When captured, he is said to have offered a chain of gold long enough to wrap around Hamburg in exchange for his freedom, and then, when this was denied, he asked that as many of his men be spared as he could walk past after his head had been chopped off.

Apparently he walked quite well for a headless man, and was only stopped by the executioner (tripping him, or- as we were told- throwing the executioners block over him). All the men were killed despite his efforts, and when the senate asked the executioner if he was tired, and he replied that he could 'easily execute all the senate as well', the finished his life off too.


When we finished the tour, we wandered along the harbor, where we met up with some of those gulls I remember so well form last time, and ate some Nordsee FishandChips.

 




Andy wanted to go and check out the Reeperbahn- Hamburg's very own red-light district, so, as he promised he wasn't into the sex and drugs and just wanted to check out the rock 'n' roll, we headed over.


The Beatles statues are Beatlesplatz were honestly a bit disappointing- although Andy tried to make the most of it:


And then we saw this beauty.



 


 
 
As we were walking through a park, Andy mentioned the presence of a rather large man in the vicinity. I will admit that my expectations did not really prepare me for the awesomeness of

THE. BISMARK. MONUMENT.


Can you even find Andy in the picture?


We walked past more buildings that look like boats, and then popped into an up a church.

 
 




It's pretty impressive when a church comes complete with its own halo.


Incidentally, the church has an opshop very close buy, which has (had- I bought them all) some rather wonderful things.

We met up with Andy's parents for way too much dinner, and then took a ferry around the harbor.






I rather love these shipping cranes. They remind me of Fremantle, and make me think of dinosaurs.





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