Last weekend we visited Hamburg, home of der Hamburger. After visiting Münster and Köln recently, we were surprised at how huge Hamburg was. We actually had to take the U-Bahn to get places. And, well, they had a U-Bahn system at all. Hamburg wasn’t quite as sprawling as Berlin (where we’re headed yet again in a few weeks), but it got the job done.
Our first stop was the Beatlesplatz region on the Reeperbahn, near where the Beatles hung out and performed in Hamburg before making it big. We did minimal research, so we didn’t realize that the whole street is basically one massive strip joint. Essentially the same as it was 50 years ago when Paul and Ringo were there. Also, it was pouring rain, so we got out of there pretty quickly. We spent some seconds looking at the Kaiserkeller where the lads did much of their performing, and where they first met Klaus Voormann, who among other things designed the cover of Revolver. We also snapped a quick rainy shot of the only thing there in the way of commemorating the Beatles, namely an odd wire sculpture.
The rest of the first day was spent finding the best pizza we’ve had thus far in Germany, and then retreating to the hotel to escape the downpour. The next day the rain let up, and we walked something like 10 miles, all over the city. We saw the Hafencity (harbor district), St. Michael’s church, and the very impressive Rathaus. The center of the city surrounds a huge lake, with a big fountain that we caught right as the sun created a rainbow.
We also went to the art museum, which was quite nice (it has Caspar David Friedrich’s famous Wanderer above the Sea of Fog), though we couldn’t help but chuckle at the English translations on some of the paintings. The worst was “Rast” (meaning rest, as in the taking of a breather), translated as “rage.” Pretty different. Almost as exciting as the famous art was this great water fountain! This is the first and so far only water fountain we have seen in Germany, or, I think, anywhere in Europe. We drank out of that for a while.
We had dinner at a great Vietnamese place the second night. The food was great, though a fish in their aquarium kept nearly leaping out onto the floor, which was terrifying. The next day we killed time waiting for our delayed train by trying the new Thai Curry Burger at McDonald’s. I do not recommend doing this.
All in all a good trip. Now we’ve got a couple weeks for Rast, and then we’ll find out what All Saints’ Day is like in Berlin.