This morning we left to begin our tour of the City of Hamburg. Like Berlin, Hamburg is also a city and a state in Germany. We met our guide for the day,
Kathrin, at the main station. She was a tad late because they had to evacuate the S-Bahn station she was in. But we were on our way with her about 9:15.
Kathrin explained much of the history of Hamburg as we made our way to the City Center. It traces its history back to the early 9th century when it was founded as Hammaburg. Like most of northern Germany, it was once in the possession of the Danes until ceded to Prussia. There is also a strong Dutch influence in the city. There are 3 rivers that flow through Hamburg: the Elbe, the Alster, and the Bille. The city boasts 2470 bridges and 95 consulates.
In 1842 there was a great fire in the city that destroyed 50 % of the city after which it was built on modern lines. In 1892 more than 8600 people died as a result of cholera deaths. During WWII air raids destroyed more than half of the city.
As we drove we passed the Anglo-German Club. Like Teutonia, it only admits men as members. Women are not allowed in the club until after 4:00 and only accompanied by a man.
Hamburg is a very green city because of parks and the waterways. One even finds a man in the midst of the river.
Our first stop of the day was to the Rathaus and Rathaus Square. What a beautiful Renaissance building that luckily survived the fire and air raids.
In the courtyard there is a fountain dedicated to Hygieia, the goddess of health, that memorializes the victims of the cholera epidemic.
Behind the Rathaus is the stock market as Kathrin explained.
In the courtyard in the front of the Rathaus is a statue of Heinrich Heine, the famous writer.
Just a few short blocks away was St. Michaels Kirche. It is baroque church that was just breathtaking. Contrary to so many European churches, St. Michaels is very bright and uplifting. The choir was prepared to sing, but upon entering the church, we heard another choir and orchestra rehearsing. What a treat. The seats are teakwood, the pulpit Italian marble, and there are 4 organs.
Across the street are the oldest homes in Hamburg. Built 390 years ago they once served as homes for widows. The twisted chimney kept sparks from going straight up and starting a fire.
A drive along the Reeperbahn gave a glimpse of the "night life" in the red light district. The tribute to the Beatles marks the street where the Star Club(1st venue for their performance) is.
It was then time for our harbor cruise. Even though Hamburg is inlnd, the port is quite busy for shipping and container ships.
The new concert hall will also have apartments above.
A quick lunch and then on the coach for a trip to Altes Land.
Unfortunately, on this excursion I was sitting on the right side of the coach and most of the "sights" were on the left. The Altes Land shows a prominent Dutch influence that is reflected in the style of the homes and many orchards. The "bridal gate" marks the entry to the home and courtyards.
In Jork we visited a beautiful church where a wedding was about to happen. The steeple of this church is not attached to the church itself because of the marshy land.
Heading back to Hamburg we passed the massive Airbus plant that employs more than 17,000.
At the Elbschloß Residenz, we met the Lotsenchor with whom the choir would sing. Dinner (cold snacks) and music ensued.
Willi and Dieter exchange gifts and remarks.
The senior citizens loved the choirs.
Another full day and great fun. It was a late return to the hotel, but everyone was excited about the later departure on Sunday.