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> Germany > Hamburg (a.k.a. Hansestadt
Hamburg and Dresden both graced the
Elbe River, and both were very important economic centers -- but that was where
their similarities ended. If Dresden sang art and music, Hamburg boasted industry. As a major port city, commercial center, and separate and free
city-state, Hamburg was vibrant. By 'city-state', the city of Hamburg was itself a free state, and
given equal representation in the German government as one of the 16 states (Bremen
and Berlin are also city-states in the
German system. This is different from Washington, DC that was separate
from all other states but not considered equal as Washington has no
representation in the U.S. Senate.
This travelogue represents a full day-trip to the city, arriving
by train at 7AM and leaving at 9PM. I tried to hit as much of it as I
possibly could, although my tour was interrupted for much of the afternoon by a
horrendous rain shower that left some parts of the city flooded until the next
day. Hence, I decided to limit this travelogue to a single-page photo
gallery, and hopefully in the future I'll get to go back and visit Hamburg in
depth. It was such a huge city, it really required more than a single-day
trip to appreciate.
|From the train
station, I headed north by northeast to the city's massive parks and
lakes. Pictured here is the
Außenalster Lake, the largest lake in the downtown. Its northern
shores were lined with beautiful houses and marinas. Boat tours
were available as well. I followed an adjacent road to an
artificial square pond/marina (the Binnenalster) leading to the half-moon
shaped downtown, bordered by eight-lane
roads that followed the perimeter of the city's original protective wall.
Some of the wall was still visible, but much of it was long gone.
||Not far away from the
marina was Hamburg's premier architectural wonder -- the Rathaus (city
hall) pictured here. If ever there was a building that resembled a
fractal, this was it. The closer I looked, the more intricate the detail
I found. Every darkened shade and old shape is a statue, a relief,
or an engraving. Below the upper tier of windows is a row of statues of
all Hamburg's rulers in order -- stretching around the building and into
the inner courtyard (freely accessible by pedestrians). A true marvel.
|Circling back toward
the train station, I passed through one of the business districts (where
each corporation was housed in a massive red brick mansion), eventually
reaching the bombed out shell of the Saint Nikolai Church, shown here.
The Saint Nikolai was along a major road in the city loop. It was
destroyed during the intense Allied bombing campaigns just before the
war ended, and repaired solely to remain standing as a memorial.
||Hamburg was filled
with canals, owing to its flat geography and location at a wide bulge on
the Elbe. But Hamburg was so populous, many of those canals were
lined with huge apartment complexes and fully stocked with boats.
I was unsure as to the purpose of these boats, but there were so
colorful compared to most of the others that I decided to post this shot.
In the distance were huge bridges crossing the wider canals. |
|I made it back up to
the Elbe and followed the north bank toward the passenger docks.
Hamburg was a major passenger port, with destinations all along the
North Sea. The ship pictured here was of the Cap San Diego,
alleged by the posted information on the docks as one of the most
stories of the passenger boats.
||This was one side of
the main passenger terminal. It was constructed similarly to the
train station. With six major docks
and a full shopping mall and food court inside, this was a very busy
place. In the distance, barely visible, were the cranes that lined
the entire distant bank of the Elbe. The amount of cargo handled
in this dock was unbelievable. |
|In this part of the
city, there were no bridges going across the Elbe. Instead, one
took the tunnel. But unlike ordinary tunnels, this one (located
near the passenger terminal) used elevators to bring cars from the
surface to the tunnel on both side. Walkers used a sidewalk built
into the tunnel.
||This is a close-up of
the loading cranes along the south bank in the St. Pauli district of
Hamburg. The shot was taken a few hundred yards from the car
|Returning to the city,
I came across the Stadtpark in the west with this statue literally
popping out above the treeline. This is the top part of a massive stone monument
that appeared to commemorate
the city's industrial workers. The side of the monument is engraved with
'Josef Leberer,' but I was unable to locate any additional information on the
web about this person.
|| The Hauptkirche
St. Michaelis, shown here, was located not far from the Stadtpark. A
beautiful building, inside and out, St. Michaelis is another must-see
for the Hamburg visitor. In fact, judging from the 15 tour busses I
counted, it is treated as a must see by the local tourist industry.
I took this shot right before the heavy rains hit... |
|Returning to the
downtown one last time (after the rains had subsided), I went along the
main commercial street from the Rathaus back to the train station.
This shot is of the St. Petri Church, a simple but very old structure
that figured as prominently on the skyline as the Rathaus.
||This was the
'ordinary' commercial street, with the everyday shops, chain stores, and
fast food joints. It was a very busy place before the rains -- the
crowds hadn't quite come back out yet. On the other side of the
Rathaus were several shopping streets that were higher-end, mostly
expensive boutiques. As one would expect from a major seaport
city, Hamburg was a shopper's paradise. |
Trip taken 30 June 2001 -- Page last updated
21 October 2006 -- (C) 2006 Tom Galvin