Sunday, November 10, 2019

Mosaic Monday #53: Hamburg, Part II

I am cuddled up in our log home, the barren aspen branches waving to me just beyond the windows.  We returned on Tuesday after a three-week getaway, and were greeted by the dramatic transformation from Autumn to Winter.  To quote Dorothy - "There's no place like home", but part of me is already missing the temperate environment in Europe.  So join me for part II of our Hamburg experience.

Give me a choice between sweet and salty foods, and I will lean salty every time.  Hence my pure enjoyment of a typical German breakfast - breads, cheeses, meats and fruit.  Eleven years ago, Dr. H. introduced us to Tete de Moine cheese when we visited her in Switzerland, and since then we look for it everywhere we go.  What a lovely surprise to see it on her breakfast table the second day!
The Tete de Moine is the frilly cheese in the center of the wooden platter.
You need a special device, called a girolle, to thinly shave the cheese
into these shapes.
A first-class tour guide considers her audience and their interests, and Dr. H. exceeded my expectations when she suggested the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum as our next destination.  She knows my family emigrated from Germany to the US, and correctly presumed that I would be intrigued to visit the former emigration station in Hamburg that served as the final European home for five million emigrants from the 1850s - 1930s.

The museum takes its name from Albert Ballin, who ran the HAPAG shipping company and prospered from advancing the idea of using the 'tween decks for efficient transportation of emigrants.

"Ballinstadt" translates to "Ballin City", and this resulted from Ballin's vision to satisfy the emigrants' leisure and entertainment needs.  The picture to the left shows Ballinstadt in "the day", with emigration halls, treed walkways, a church, a dining hall, playgrounds and a music hall.  Only three of the buildings remain today - if you look closely, you can see that three of the "C"-shaped buildings are colored a light green - these are the remaining buildings.  In 2007, the Museum was opened utilizing those three structures.

The emigration halls were extended several times from 1898 to 1907, and collectively were known as "The World's Biggest Inn".  Three thousand people could be fed in one hour; 8,000 to 10,000 bread rolls were consumed every day.  The steady influx of emigrants from Eastern Europe led to constant overcrowding from 1904 on.  Some days the halls were home to as many as 3,500 people - as opposed to the maximum permitted 1,200.  As recent world events continue to demonstrate, people will endure unspeakable conditions in the search for a better life.

As we moved from the first building, we found that the subject shifts from a Hamburg-centric view of emigration to focus on the phenomenon of emigration on a world-wide scale, studying the causes of emigration and its implications.  According to a 2014 report, 59.8 million people were fleeing throughout the world - flight being one of many forms of migration.  Of those 59.8 million people, 38.5 million were displaced within their own countries, 19.5 million were border-crossing refugees, and 1.8 million were asylum seekers.
In a series of well-appointed rooms, the museum presents the "pull-factors" (Gold Rush, popular literature, the American Dream, letters from other emigrants, giving away land through legislation such as the Homestead Act in the US) and "push-factors" (lack of job opportunities, racial discrimination, wars and political intolerance) associated with emigration.  I was fascinated to find that Canada has utilized the catch-phrase "Last Best West" to attract people.  Montana today is commonly referred to as the "Last Best Place".  Go figure!
Top: Desk (cool how it was attached to the wall) with letters from emigrants
Lower Left: Boys can dream of being President!
Lower Right: Letter from Emigrant in Cleveland, February 16, 1911
The final building of the museum highlights the experience of emigrants once they reached the US, as well as the evolving state of migration around the world.  For example, the "green card" was introduced in Germany in August 2000 to attract foreign experts in information technology.  Here I learned that the US celebrates more Oktoberfest than Germany! (By the way, we did not attend Oktoberfest while in Hamburg, due to a scarcity of tickets.  In the end, I am glad - I learned more about Hamburg through Dr. H. and her choice of destinations than I ever would have learned from Oktoberfest!)
And last but not least, the museum offers free access to via a bank of three computers conveniently located next to the café.  I was delighted to find the records of my father's family, who emigrated from Bremen, Germany in 1834.  I was already familiar with their emigration story, but it was still exciting to see it here after four fascinating hours in the museum.  My heartfelt gratitude to Dr. H. for a unique educational, mind-expanding experience!

There was a down-side to the museum - Lola was not welcome, so when we returned to the apartment we retrieved the faithful sidekick and strolled to the market for some foodstuffs.
Along the way, we passed the TRUDE, the head of the boring machine that was used to create a tunnel under the Elbe.  As you can see in the picture below, it is almost four stories tall.  The TRUDE is displayed here because the Museum of Work is across the courtyard - although we did not go in the Museum, I think it would be worth a visit in the future as it explores the social, cultural and economic impacts of changes in work over the last 150 years.
Dr. H. prepared a delicious dinner for us, and we rounded out the evening playing cards, drinking wine and doting on Lola.  Soon enough it was time for bed to ensure we would have the energy for the next day's plans.
In my experience, cities are always undergoing transformations.  Some neighborhoods decline; others become trendy.  On our third day in Hamburg, we ambled through Sternschanze.  From the 1930s to the 1970s, the quarter was home for a large number of working-class people.  
Currywurst is a fast food dish that can be found on many street corners throughout Hamburg.  Hubby and I shared
 one from a shop front near Sternschanze.  Each vendor has its own spin on the dish.  Some blend the curry flavor into
the sauce (as shown above) and others sprinkle curry powder on top.  Push the boat out and get it with French fries!!!
In the 1980s, families and students started to move into the area.  Since the beginning of the new millennium, Sternschanze is in vogue and runs the risk of pushing out lower-income residents as more affluent people drive up prices.  Nevertheless, political demonstrations, mostly by leftist groups, take place here and sometimes lead to clashes with police.  

The center of this activity is often the building Rote Flora (shown below) which was squatted by leftist groups in 1989.

As you can see above, graffiti is common in this quarter to the point of being one of its hallmarks.  What are your thoughts on graffiti?  For some people, the very word evokes a negative reaction.  Generally, I don't like the look of graffiti on buildings, but in Sternschanze, it goes beyond "normal" graffiti to works of art and murals four stories tall. I admire the talent and creativity (and the willingness to work at great heights).  
From a distance, this mural gives you the impression of a leafy jungle with bright flowers.  A closer look 
reveals faces within the mural, and bottles/drinks in place of the flower stamens.  Clever!
Restaurants and cafes abound in this quarter, and as a light rain began to fall, we opted for coffee and cake at one of Dr. H's favorites.  Our table was tucked under the awning on the front sidewalk, and I was pleasantly surprised to find blankets on each of the chairs.  Dr. H. pointed out that Hamburg residents love to be outside in all manner of weather, and restaurants have adapted by making blankets and warmers standard equipment.  Right up my alley!

As I relished the total civility of coffee and cake while snuggling under a warm blanket, I reflected on the contrast between the emigration museum and this avant garde section of the city.  Some people emigrate to find a better life, and others work to make a better life from the inside.  We may struggle with their methods, or how they choose to express their opinions, but it is clear that the intention springs from the same hopes and dreams.
Morning Glory in a Sternschanze garden

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. ...the street art is unexpected! Thanks Angie for hosting.

  2. Such cool places and pretty things and those murals are amazing. I'm glad Lola finally got to join in the fun.

  3. Hi! I learned many things from this blog. It'S nice to visit your home country. Currywurst looks very delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I enjoy visiting museums and learning new things--Ballinstadt Emigration Museum looks very interesting. My maternal grandmother immigrated on a ship that left Bremen, Germany, in the early 1900's but she was originally from the Ukraine. I found information on Ellis Island in NY about her ship and saw her name on the ship's roster.
    The building artwork looked more like murals than graffiti, and I like colorful and imaginative murals.

  5. The Immigration Museum and story is so interesting , particularly (as you point out) in light of what’s going on today.. .... You had a wonderful host for your visit to this fascinating City.... ...By coincidence, I almost included a graffiti collage in my post today. . We walked Graffitistrasse in Ghent and I made a mosaic, but ultimately decided to delete it... . I just don’t know enough about graffiti or love it enough to know what to say!

  6. Many interesting sights, many to read... I enjoyed your Post. Must smile about the Tête de Moin, we love the Cheese too - and we have this girondelle at home to cut thin pieces.

    Happy MosaicMonday . Thank you for sharing, habe a good week.

  7. Thank you for the tour. I love the look of that cheese etc breakfast! I love street art - and we find in our city that it isn't graffitied over, which is a bonus. Perhaps graffiti artists should be directed to more acceptable street art. Enjoy being home and thank you again for the link up.

  8. The museum sounds very interesting. I have always loved history and continue to learn so much about the past; things that were never on my radar before. People have always migrated for so many reasons throughout history but now it's considered almost criminal to be considered a migrant or a refugee or an immigrant. All because of politics and control. Unfortunately it is those in power who are often the true criminals.

    There's obviously a big difference between art and vandalism. I love street art when it's used to enhance a space or make a statement. When I visit a new town, I always look for the downtown building murals. Most cities have them, especially small towns.

    Definitely looks like you had a great visit with Dr. H and exploring Hamburg.

  9. Hamburg muss eine interessante Stadt sein.
    Das sind wirklich tolle Fotos davon
    und eine schöne Beschreibung dazu !
    Ich lebe in Deutschland, aber in Hamburg war ich noch nie.
    Ich wohne in einem anderen Eck von Deutschland ;-)
    Liebe Grüße

  10. So you are back home ensconced, in that lovely log cabin of yours.....and the chills of winter. Gosh that time went quickly. How fabulous you had the opportunity to wander around the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum and gain such meaningful information. Love all the street art. I am not a fan of those who tag buildings indiscriminately but murals on buildings are fabulous. I consider them to be works of art.

  11. The kind of breakfast you had is part of what I relish too when visiting Europe. It would be easy to recreate it at home, but we never do. A day after we arrive back home it's back to a bowl of cereal. We have snow here too, Angie. Hunker down time has arrived!

  12. What a wonderful travelogue again this week, Angie. We have visited Germany five times and we enjoyed all those trips immensely. Your photos and descriptions bring back many happy memories.

  13. Hello, what a wonderful trip report. Hamburg looks like an interesting city to visit. I believe I am part German from my father's side of the family. I would like the museum and market, the food looks yummy. I do not care for graffiti but the murals are beautiful. Lola looks like a sweetie. Thanks for hosting MM! Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  14. Virtual travel through your blog is the next best thing to actually being there - sigh...

  15. I've been seeing lots of morning glories in Florida this November. But no currywurst!

  16. Hopes and dreams....I meet a lot of different people in my volunteer work but we all have hopes and dreams. It's important that we respect that in the way we live our lives. I'm glad you are home safe and sound with so many wonderful memories to hold fast! Happy MM!

  17. Yum, the cafes and coffee shops. It all looks so good!

  18. Oh, what a fabulous trip, I'm so glad you shared with us!

    My Corner of the World

  19. Wayne's family emigrated from Germany when his grandfather arrived in the States. I'm not sure when. I believe there is a difference between graffiti wall art and gang tagging. One to me is an eyesore (and a bit scary) and the other many towns are commissioning for high prices. - Margy

  20. What a wonderful trip, I wou;d have love the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum too. I'm not a massive lover of German food, however I do think the frilly cheese would be great, I will look out for it and think of you!
    We celebrated Oktoberfest and I certainly know the Germans know how to party... Isn't it interesting that it is bigger in the US than actually in Germany? Lola is a poppet.
    Thanks for hosting
    Wren x

  21. What a great experience! My father's family came from Germany too and I have been so curious about many things they experienced. Lola must be a well-trained dog. Every photo you've posted shows her sitting so calmly and patiently. And about the graffiti, some of that looks like art but some of it looks like the stuff painted on the sides of trains. Why were the buildings painted?

  22. You have seen so much Angie! I am sure that the emigration museum was one of the highlights of your day. When doing genealogy research I have studied the documents on So interesting, thousands of Finns emigrated too to Canada and the US.

  23. Sounds like a great museum. People seem to think their own ancestors were noble in immigrating but they dislike other people immigrating. Human nature is not always fair.

    I like planned graffiti that is art, but words scrawled on buildings just look chaotic.

  24. Beautiful images, I do love the murals.

  25. Thank you for a wonderful interesting post. Immigration to another and hopefully better life has and still is a continuing process. I love the murals, we have lots in Melbourne and they have become a tourist attraction. The graffiti is not so attractive. I have been told there is a pecking order within the street art people and if anyone does graffiti on a mural, they are dealt with swiftly. We have some here in Geelong, on sides of buildings.

  26. What a fascinating post and wonderful photos of the excellent visit you and Trude are having with your dear friends ~ Yummy foods too!

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

  27. What a lovely (and delicious) trip!

  28. I really enjoyed that read Angie. I didn’t know about your family background so found it fascinating, especially about the emigration station in Hamburg - amazed at the figure of five million emigrants and their transportation too.

    Poor Lola not getting an invite but I guess you were forgiven when the treats arrived.

    I think you got away just in time. It was four degrees this morning up in the hills above Garstang.

  29. Very interesting, just this past summer I learned more about my Danish ancestors and why they came over and the relationship to the emigration and the Danish political and religious situation. Bottom line is they came over for a better life and found it.
    I love ancestry dot come. Talk about bursting bubbles about misconceptions about ancestry and we found a "lost" cousin.

  30. So glad you made it safely back home! We are having such a pretty sunset right at this moment. I hope you are too! Loved your photos! 😊 Kit

  31. This comment is from Ann of Ann's Garden Spot: It's very interesting to see how neighborhoods often tell the story of human migrations. And it seems, too, that earlier generations had a better sense of how to manage those migrations. You trip looks absolutely fascinating.

  32. Amazing photos, Angie. I love the murals and the museum. Lots to see and do in Hamburg. Thanks so much for sharing.

  33. You were blessed with a great local to show you so much you might have missed on your own. In general I'm not a fan of graffiti. Some that you showed seems more congruent on those structures. I do like the murals. Welcome back to winter in your neighborhood. Nice to have a cozy home with views to the outside to enjoy whatever weather and season...

  34. At first reading, I wondered how that machine is boring when it does so much. By the end of the paragraph, I got it: A machine that bores holes. Duh. lol

    Yup, the same hope and dreams. Universal.

  35. So good to read about your trip and see your photographs.
    Those murals are colourful aren't they …

    All the best Jan

  36. delicious foods and great murals...

    Thank you for sharing wonderful photos


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