Sunday, October 27, 2019

Mosaic Monday #51: Hamburg, Part I

Water is everywhere.  The canals.  The Elbe. The lakes.  And so you must have bridges.  Did you know Hamburg has more bridges than London, Amsterdam and Venice put together?  Indeed, it's true.  Perhaps, then, it's no surprise that one can easily fall into a romance with Hamburg.  I couldn't possibly cover our six days in one post, so you can expect several chapters as I share the many sights, sounds and tastes of the second largest city in Germany.

Upon our arrival at the airport, we were greeted by a former au pair, Dr. H., and whisked off to her comfortable, homey third-floor apartment overlooking a canal and conveniently located two blocks from the railway station.  Our welcome was complete with an introduction to Lola the dog, who quickly adopted us as family members.

We began to catch up on the six years since we last saw each other, but it was so easy and relaxed to hang with Dr. H. that you would think we might have had morning coffee just yesterday.  After a home-made snack of apple crumble and applesauce (with ice cream), Lola took us on a walk to the canal.
The apples come from orchards outside the city
Yours truly, Dr. H. and Lola
The next morning, our cultural education about Hamburg began.  In this metropolis of almost 2 million people, public transportation is the name of the game, and Lola thought nothing of waiting 4 minutes* for our train to downtown.  Destination? Breakfast.  Restaurants and small cafes abound, and it is a blessing to have a friend who can guide you to "where the locals go".

*Locals will grumble about waiting for a train, and it became a joke among us over the next few days - 4 minutes? 3 minutes?  2 minutes?  I don't think we ever stood on the platform for more than 10 minutes.

Our next stop, St. Michael's, is referred to as "the Michel" by residents.  It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael, and a large bronze statue, standing above the portal of the church, shows the archangel conquering the devil.  During our visit, we were charmed by the organist preparing for the mid-day service, and climbed the tower for a 360-degree-view of the city.

Given its height, the tower of the Michel becomes a landmark that is easily seen from throughout the city.  It is said that ship captains would use it to navigate into the harbor.  Later in the day, we would take a photo of the three of us with the Michel in the distant background.
Upper right: the mechanism that runs the clock on the tower
Lower left: Love locks appear many places in the city, and the tower was no exception
From left: Archangel Michael; Dancing Towers; Harbor with container ships; Elbe Philharmonic Hall in the distance
We re-joined Dr. H. and Lola, waiting patiently in the park below, and soon crossed this "Oriental Carpet of Stone", which paves the way to the warehouse district of the city and serves as a symbol of Europe's biggest commercial shipment point for oriental carpets.

The "carpet" has been in this location for quite some time, but was completely re-done earlier this year with granulated marble, jasper, synthetic resin and threads from mop heads.  From a short distance, it appears to be a real carpet!

As we strolled the Speicherstadt (literally "City of Warehouses"), we caught glimpses of many oriental carpets through open warehouse doors.  If we had a slightly bigger carry-on bag, we might have been going home with one of these stunning pieces of art!

Hamburg is Europe's third largest port, which belies its heritage in the shipping industry.  The warehouse district is the largest in the world where the buildings stand on timber-pile foundations, oak logs in this particular case.  Built from 1883 to 1927, the district was awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

The Elbe Philharmonic Hall, opened in January 2017, houses concerts in a wave-shaped building perched on top of an old warehouse.  Anchoring one end of the warehouse district, the Hall was criticized during its construction, mainly for its cost.  Now, it is a favorite landmark for tourists and locals alike, and is lovingly referred to as the "Elphi".

By now you have surmised that the city features innumerable architectural gems, and we passed many of them on our first full day.  The Chilehaus, a brick expressionist office building built in 1922, is shaped like an ocean liner.  St. Jacobi Church is located directly in the city center, has a 410-foot tall tower and showcases a famous organ from 1693.  The Rathaus (town hall) is a richly decorated Neo-Renaissance building completed in 1897.  
Top three photos - interior of St. Jacobi Church;  Bottom: 1932 aerial shot of Chilehaus
The Rathaus.  Top Center: the Fountain contains the goddess Hygieia, who stands for preventive
health care.  This is a remembrance of the victims of cholera in 1892.

In most cases, Lola was welcome in these buildings.  If not, we would take turns keeping her company.  But when we visited St. Jacobi Church, I was simply amazed.  It had a vestibule occupied by a watchman, and he requested that Lola remain there while we toured the interior.  Do you know?  She never moved from the spot once Dr. H. told her to stay!

Many of the historical displays we saw included pictures of destruction during the Second World War, a somber reminder of that era and its impact on the city and the world.  Even more striking, for me, were the "Stolpersteine", or "stumbling stones", which commemorate victims of Nazi extermination or persecution and are placed outside their last-known freely chosen residence.  The inscription on each stone begins "Here lived", followed by the victim's name, date of birth, and fate: internment, suicide, exile or, in the vast majority of cases, deportation and murder.  Since our visit to Hamburg, I read more about this form of remembrance, and it has affected me deeply.  I highly recommend a visit to this link, especially the section called "Origin of the Name".   Pictures of bombed-out buildings are graphic, but the simple Stolpersteine bring to life thousands of tragedies at a very individual level.
Left stone reads: Julia Schwarzwald.  Born 1872.  Humiliated/Disenfranchised.  Escaped into Death. 22/2/1942
Right stone reads: Eugen Gowa.  Born 1904.  Deported 1943.  Murdered in Auschwitz.

We ended our day as it began - near the water.  The Inner Alster Lake is one of two artificial lakes within the city limits that are formed by the River Alster.  Bordered by the city on three sides, and the historic Lombard Bridge on the fourth, the Lake virtually guarantees gorgeous pictures from any angle.

A perfect place for a romance, whether you're an "old" married couple like us, or Dr. H. and her trusty dog Lola. 

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.

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Click here to enter


  1. I have never been to Hamburg, but I have the impression that it is a grimy, industrial port. Obviously I should throw that idea out the window!

  2. Such a wonderful post! It makes me happy!!!!

  3. Amazing photos!! You are so lucky to be able to share this wonderful adventure with family and friend! I'll be off to Ireland this week. Will share when I return. I'm looking forward to my adventure! Have a wonderful week!!

  4. What an incredible trip! I can't wait for the next installments. Since you have Dr. H with you, you probably don't have to worry about the language, but if you were on your own, does Germany have many English translations?

  5. I often want to travel to Hamburg. Now its sure - there are many interesting places, I hope to see. Even the so called Reeperbahn! Do you find this special part,too? But about the number of bridges, I have doubts. Because Augsburg is here the first adress, named Klein Venedig...

    ...wish you a wonderful time!

    Happy MosaicMonday

    Cheers, Heidrun xxx

  6. ...what an amazing trip this is!

  7. WOW! So many beautiful places and things to see! Lola is a beauty too of course.

  8. What a wonderful city ... you are an excellent guide Angie! Beautiful buildings, a knowledgeable host .. what a perfect visit. The “stumbling stones” made me want to cry (as we also felt in the German cities we visited) but of course I believe in how important it is not to forget. These plaques are a beautiful way to remember the individual real human beings ... it makes history real.

  9. What a wonderful visit to Hamburg as seen through your eyes, Angie, with the marvelous help of Dr. H. and Lola! The stumbling stones were so poignant--what a touching tribute to those lost in such a terrible war.

  10. Looks like a fabulous city with much to see. I think if folks from Hamburg went to NYC and had to wait for the train they'd really be thrown into fits of despair. HA! A friend I met here in Kuwait moved to Hanover so I am hoping I might be able to visit her next summer for at least a few days. We went on a family trip to Koblenz many years ago and loved it very much. So green and everyone rode bikes everywhere. I do love walkable cities with stories and so much history.

  11. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos of your wanderings around the beautiful city of Hamburg. How fabulous you have your own personal guide. Love the photo of Lola waiting for you all to return. What a good pup she is.

  12. Hello Hamburg looks beautiful, there is so much to see. The Stumbling Stones are striking. Lola is beautiful, what a good dog. The buildings, statues and church are beautiful. The Carpet of Stone is lovely. Wonderful photos, thanks for hosting and for sharing your trip! Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  13. Great shots, Angie, looks like you had a wonderful time and it is good to have one of the locals showing you around her city.

  14. Wonderful memories of our trip there, quite a few years ago, now.
    Thanks for hosting!

  15. I got so caught up in reading your post and imagining I was there that I almost forgot to link up! Just an amazing city to visit! WOW! I had no idea! Hugs!

  16. It sounds like a great walking city. It's all water under the bridge...

  17. you and your husband are a good looking couple. Thanks for the beautiful pictures, travelogue, and the mention of stumbling stones. I have a strong visceral reaction to any mention of the holocaust so I figure I was killed there in another life.

  18. What a wonderful time you are having and your photos are excellent.
    I use Chantrelles in cooking as in anything I want to tuck in mushrooms.

  19. Just love the photo through the glass door of Lola waiting so perfectly.

  20. A great post! Very interesting.

  21. Looks like an interesting city. Thank you for taking us there. I didn't realise it had so many bridges!

  22. What fabulous shots of a beautiful city! Thanks so much for sharing your trip! I really enjoyed learning and seeing the place.

  23. I am so enjoying your photos! Glad you are having a great time. We had a mini blizzard here in Montana yesterday. Today it's very cold but clear. Looking forward to Halloween. Safe travels to you! Kit

  24. Great photos of Hamburg! You have seen & learned a lot. I did not know anything about those stumbling stones. Touching.

  25. How very wonderful to have a local that you know to guide your around this historical city. That carpet made of stones is amazing. Never realized Hamburg was a shipping point for Oriental carpets. Also sobering information about those stumbling stones. Lola is one obedient doggie!

  26. O my goodness! What a lovely place.
    Thank you for a wonderful tour. I am looking forward to Part II.

  27. Pretty streets of Germany, I love the way you show them. The fungi are great and yourself portraits. And what a beautiful carpets, colourful.

  28. Hamburg looks very pretty! Those golden stones tell moving stories.

  29. Hamburg looks like a delightful place to visit with your friends ~ especially, LoLa ~ what a cutie ~ Love mosaic of beautiful photos ~ ^_^

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  30. Hi Angie. I was struck by your description and narrative about the Stolpersteine. As a post war baby, as I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, stories of the war were very common from my aunts, uncles and grandparents. The suffering of the Jewish people became very real for me, as it is now.

    Hamburg looks a vary interesting and pretty city, so enjoy your time there and I look forward to your next post.

  31. You are having some wonderful experiences. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Well I learned a few things. I had no idea it had so much water and bridges. Nor did I know its importance as a port. The buildings both new and old, and in between are fabulous. I love the public transport. I loved the stumbling stones. We need reminders like that. We have similar plaques in the Greenwood area of Tulsa that mark the location of black owned businesses that were torched during her Tulsa Race Massacre back in the 20’s.

  33. What a great tour of Hamburg. The Elbe Philharmonic Hall is beautiful and quite unique looking. Lola, what a cute dog and well behaved. Beautiful photos, Angie!

  34. Gorgeous images shared and the organ at St. Michael' mother-in-law was an organist for over 75 years and she would assuredly love that. I miss hearing her play. How lovely to see a picture of you and your other half too. I don't remember if I have in the past, but then again as you know, I have missed so much in recent weeks and months.

    Thank you so very much for your kind words and sweet thoughts. The worst times are yet to come. We don't know how long she has, but we know for sure she will lose the battle.

    Take care~

  35. I've not been to Hamburg, and I found your photographs gave me such a great armchair tour. Hamburg looks a lovely place to visit.

    All the best Jan

  36. That stone carpet has me wanting to paint the cement path between our driveway and front door. (Imagine wicked smile.) I've never thought about visiting Hamburg, but now I do. That's what I love about visiting blogs like yours, Angie. I can live vicariously through someone else's adventures, both happy and sad. The photo of the stumbling steps gave me a pang.


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