Posts Tagged With: Europe

The City of Warehouses

The Speicherstadt or City of Warehouses is where goods like carpets, coffee, tea, cocoa and spices were imported and stored. Today you can walk around the massive red brick buildings or take a boat ride along the canals.

The companies that operate out of the Speicherstadt are responsible for 1/3 of the world’s carpets.

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The Rathaus

In the center of Hamburg is the ornate Rathaus or City Hall. When the original City Hall was destroyed by fire, the new building took 44 years to build. The Rathaus has rooms numbering 647, the latest room was discovered in 1971 when a document fell behind a filing cabinet and unknown door was found.

Adorning the facade of the building are statues of saints, benefactors, gods and goddesses, real and imaginary animals.

In the Rathaus courtyard is a statue of the Goddess Hygeia. Hygieia as the goddess of health in Greek mythology and its surrounding figures represents the power and pureness of the water. It was built in remembrance of the cholera epidemic in 1892.

One of the unique figures inside the courtyard was this little baker licking his spoon. No one seems to know anything about him or why he is there. Maybe he was the son of the Burgermeister’s Chef and he grew up in the Rathaus kitchen.

Inside, you can take tours in German, French or English.

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Hummel, Hummel

In Hamburg, Hummel, Hummel was a cranky water carrier. As Hummel would carry water through the streets, the children would run behind him shouting “Hummel, Hummel!” in order to annoy him. Hummel would shout back “Mors, Mors!”, an abbreviation of either “klei di an’n mors!” (go scratch your a**! or “Klei mi an’n Mors” (Kiss my a**! )

in 2003, a hundred figures of Hummel were displayed all over the city.

The original Hans Hummel lived in the early 1800s, and was actually named Johann Wilhelm Bentz. He is said to have worked than any man before him shuffling around Hamburg with his burden. Children of the city mocked him by calling him “bumble-bee

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St. Nikolai

The Gothic Revival Church of St. Nicholas (St.-Nikolai-Kirche) was formerly one of the five Lutheran main churches in the city of Hamburg. It is now in ruins, serving as a memorial and an important architectural landmark. When
The church was the tallest building in the world from 1874 to 1876 and is still the second-tallest building in Hamburg.

The current condition of the Church of St. Nicholas is the result of air raids during World War II. The clearly visible spire of the Church of St. Nicholas served as a goal and orientation marker for the pilots of the Allied Air Forces during the extensive air raids on Hamburg. On 28 July 1943 the church was heavily damaged by aerial bombs. The roof collapsed and the interior of the nave suffered heavy damage. The walls began to show cracks, yet neither they nor the spire collapsed.

The English architect George Gilbert Scott, who was an expert for the restoration of medieval churches and an advocate of the gothic architectural style, was commissioned to devise a new design. He designed an 86 meter-long nave, with a 28 meter-high vault. The architecture was strongly influenced by French and English gothic styles, though the pointed spire is typically German. The amount of sculptures made from sandstone in the interior and on the spire was unusual.

I made several trips to St. Nikolai while I was in Hamburg. It was a reminder that not even something sacred can escape the destructive powers of war.

The once grand church doors now open onto rubble and debris.

Even though much of the Church now lay in ruin, it is still very beautiful and impressive.

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The Streets of Hamburg

After a long drive and a less than satisfying lunch at a quaint German restaurant called Burger King, we settled in to our hotel in Hamburg, Germany. The weather was grey and dull but that didn’t keep me indoors for long. With a tourist map in hand I ventured out into the city.

Outside the Rathaus I found this metal map of the city.

Hamburg was a very easy to navigate. You can walk anywhere or take the train and get around. I walked from one end of the city to the other several times over the few days I was there.

Throughout the city, there were reminders of it’s ancient history. Narrow alleyways opened onto the canals. Side streets still had half timbered houses and the remnants of World War I were everywhere.

Bronze statues stand guard outside the Kontourhaus of Laisez-Hof. Otto Fürst von Bismarck, German imperial chancellor from 1862 to 1890 and
Albrecht Graf von Roon, German Field Marshall watch silently from their perches. If you want to locate them yourself they are at Location N 53°32’52” E 9°59’31”.

The other side of the building facing the canal had a sculpture of a sailing ship on high.

The city was full of surprises, near our hotel, I watched this guy and his friends bounce their bicycles from post to post.

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24 Hours in Amsterdam

24 hours in my first foreign capital wasn’t ideal for taking in the local scene, but I made the best of it. Taking the train from Schipol Airport, we headed for the city center and started walking toward the canals.

Amsterdam may be known for it’s canals, but it’s also populated with bicycles. Everywhere you go, there are bicyclists speeding down the street looking for pedestrians to run over.

One of the interesting architectural features on Amsterdam’s streets.

A view of the Westerkerk (Western Church) from the canal by the Anne Frank House.

The church was built in the period 1620 – 1631 by builder and architect Hendrick de Keyser. The church tower was designed by builder Jacob van Campen, with it’s 85 meters (about 280 feet) spire it is the highest church tower in Amsterdam.
On the top of the spire is a big blue crown, symbolizing the Imperial Crown of Maximilian I of Austria, ruler of a large part of The Netherlands in the 15th century. From 1906 until 2006 the crown was painted yellow. In 2006 the color of the crown was repainted in its original color blue.
Anne Frank mentions hearing the church bells of the Westerkerk in her diary.

The Black Cafe

The Waffle Wagon outside Schipol Airport. If you have the chance you must try the Stroopwaffel, 2 crispy waffles with sweet syrup in between.

One whirlwind day in Amsterdam, tomorrow we are off to Germany.

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