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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hamburg - Day 3

Another uninterrupted sleep, I could get used to it. Breakfast is as per the last however many days. I've got it down to a fine art - I make a boiled egg, cheese and proscuitto roll. Don't try it at home, I'm a trained professional.

I hop on the train at Stephansplatz and it's a very quick trip to Hamburg Sud Hbf. Now, this is the first time I've even heard of Hamburg Sud. Seems the station is that big that it's divided into north and south.

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I manage to get another map from the Tourist Office - what a surprise they don't charge anything for it.

With the new and improved map I plot out the course to the first target, the delightfully named Spitalestrasse and no it's doesn't live up to it's name.

Along the way I pass way too close to one of the stations Pissoirs and I contemplate plucking out of my eyeballs and dunking them in bleach.

The Spitalerstrasse (thank god it's not in cologne) is a pedestrian mall - one of several in the area.

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The Spitalerstrasse links to another pedestrianised street, Mönckebergstrasse or "Mo" as it's popularly known - for some reason the knick-name "Spit" never really took off for poor ole Spitalerstrasse

There are some nice buildings on this street
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There's a Burger King right behind this fountain and it's hard to take a photo and not show any of it's signage.

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The news last night had a story that one of the department stores is giving you a free return flight to new york if you buy their €199.95 jacket. I wandered by the window display advertising the offer.

My aim in coming this way is to visit the churches of St Petri and St Jacobi.

When I arrive at St Petri I find that Christo's beat me too it.
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No, really, it's having work done so that's the best I can do.

I do however really like the building that's on the lane right next to the church
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It's then off to St Jacobi - the interior of which is fairly unexpiring. It has that white walled coldness of a Lutheran church and some quite odd decorations. It's main feature is it's massive organ - umm, that just doesn't look right. The Arp Schnitger organ was placed in a bomb shelter which was fortuitous considering the church was bombed and destroyed. It looks like something Liberace would have owned - it's hideously baroque.

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I have to say that modern stained glass is crap - and stained glass from the 1960's is über crap, pardon my german and this church is home to crap stained glass. For all the complaints about the opulence or decadence of catholic churches, the lutherans certainly weren't shy when it came to building pulpits.

So far I'm batting none for 2 in finding a decent church today so it's time to go to my final spot, St Katherine's.

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And now it's none for 3. Though in this one, I get the cranky church lady. This church was weird - it has the feel of a hallelluia church. The windows near the vaulted ceiling should be glass or stained glass, instead they had taped up cardboard with "drawings" that some hideous little darlings had created.

On one of the side aisles, a mound of wood lay on the floor - from one of the leaflets I gather they had made some kind of ladder going up to the roof - or at least that's what the diagram looked like it was. And no, I don't know why, so don't ask me.

As is my usual thing, I give some money for the upkeep of the church. I dropped in my coins as I'm leaving I just nod and smile at the church lady who's holed up her desk and she just looks at me as if I've taken a piss in the baptismal font. Okay, where's the coat hanger so I can get my money back. Maybe she knew I'm with the opposition.

So to the final judgement. The best church in hamburg is the bombed out ruin of St Nikolai. Don't bother with the others.

The Zippelhaus runs in front of St Kat's, parallel to the canal and on the other side is the area known as the Speicherstadt. These are late 19th century red brick warehouses.

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At this stage it's raining so I decide to call it quit and head back to the hotel, taking the opportunity for a early(ish) lunch.

I decide to take a chance and risk a cruise around the Alster - I write off the 1.30 and 3.00 cruises as they include punch (and I don't want another drunk german experience) - and settle on the 3.30pm, which will be the 3rd last of the day.

I get my ticket and wait on board, taking a seat in the outside rear section of the boat. Right on time, we set sail, I shortly discover that I'm the only one onboard. It makes for a very easy trip for the captain since he doesn't bother with the commentary. I have however got an english information sheet so I'm all set.

The Jungfernstieg is the site of the 13th century dam on the Alster river - it's then split into two, the Binnen(Inner) and Außen(Outer) by the two bridges, Lombard and Kennedy

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This is the view of the Binnenalster from Jungfernstieg towards Ballindamm...
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...and this is the Lombard Bridge.

The TV tower is 890 feet high
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Krugkoppel Bridge just one of Hamburg's 2428 bridges, yes, it's more than any other city in Europe, yes, it's more than venice.

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I think Paalo will like this little boat....
it goes very well with this house on the shores of the Außenalster
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Heading back, trouble was soon at hand, dark clouds were building...the question is would we make it to shore in time
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Travelling under the Kennedy Bridge I couldn't help but wonder
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would it be in better condition if he said "ich bin ein hamburger?"

The storm hit about 10 minutes from shore - it was quite a heavy downpour but mercifully brief. By the time I reached shore, the rain was just a light sprinkle.

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(The skyline with the spires of the Rathaus and St Nikolai)

I had thought about catching the 4.45 canal boat - partly because I felt bad that they went around with only me on board, but then the weather changed again and it started to pour. Maybe this was a message from above warning me of folly? That thought firmed in my mind when I decided to forgo the trip and head back to the hotel, the rain stopped. Spooky eh?

For dinner I go to another nearby restaurant.

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I have a lobster cream soup - there's no photo - you all should know what it looks like. It had the appropriate lobster colour and chunks of lobster through the soup. It was quite creamy. A good soup.

As I waited for the main to arrive I thought about the last few weeks and that I've hardly had any meat at all...in fact it's almost like I was a vegetarian. I know I just had lobster but fish don't count, neither do chicken, they aren't meat. And eggs don't count either, or milk or yoghurt. I admit I have had salami and sausages but well, I haven't eaten anything with a face, that's what really matters. I mean, the face would have been all ground up before it went into those sausages so that doesn't count anyway. Yep, I've been as much of a vegetarian as most vegetarians are.

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And the reason for my dietary thoughts was bought about by my choice for main - Wiener Schnitzel! It was served with traditionally cooked peas and carrots - I suppose microwaving is traditional. I shouldn't be that harsh, they were very nice baby peas. The schnitzel was a bit odd since one pieced tasted like pork and the other veal, the menu had stated it was veal. Maybe they ran out. Neither had a face so I'm still a vegetarian.


If you'd like to see more photos from today just click on the link
Hamburg Set
Hamburg Alster Cruise

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