Travel: Hamburg Friends

Having taken an international and cross-disciplinary class that involved video conference calls across time zones, I managed to accumulate a variety of friends scattered around Europe. Unfortunately, the only country that my travel plans have been able to accommodate (given the time constraint) is the vast and diverse Germany. The first friend I visited is working now, so I did not approach Germany in a geographically efficient manner, and arrived on a sunday morning so I could spend the day with him.

It was amazingly relaxing to be shown the city by a local as I had no prior itinerary for Hamburg. We walked and caught up, and witnessed some pretty memorable sights along the way.

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After the old city hall was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1842 (You will hear more about this later), it took 44 years to rebuild the current city hall. Seven architects who were led by Martin Haller designed it in the neo-renaissance style, and it cost an estimated 80 Million Euros.

The building continues to beguile the population even today, because a secret room was found in behind a file cabinet in 1971, so the room count is estimated t 647, but it is speculated that the Rathaus continues to keep some secrets.

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Saint Michaelis is one of the five main Lutheran churches in Hamburg, and certainly the most famous. While the exterior is subtlety conservative, when you enter the doors, rare protestant opulence greets you. It dominates the city Skyline with its 132-meter spire that exemplifies classic Baroque architecture. Furthermore, it is hard to miss the iconic bronze statue that towers of the main entrance showing the Archangel conquering Satan in all his glory.

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Hamburg did not used to have a lighthouse; it was therefore necessary that a lighted boat guide the ships to safe harbor. Every night, this boat would venture into the darkness of the endless sea and light the way for weary travelers.

 

 

 

We relaxed at the end of our day by strolling along the Reeperbahn, so named because the older ropewalks were relocated in the 1620s to this region. This is distinctly demonstrated by the Low German phrases of Reep, meaning rope, and Bahn, meaning track.

It is also Hamburg’s district for nightlife with Bars and Clubs on one street, and the Red Light Distract just a mere street over. A large variety of strip clubs, brothels, and sex shops line the street in a blatant manner. This is also the historic area for some of Europe’s oldest and most renowned brothels, such as Dollhouse, Luxor, and the Eros Center; although all have closed down due to the economy or the 1980s aids scare.

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I enjoyed a local Hamburg beer called Astra. Beer is not normally to my taste, but when in Germany. 🙂

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