Saturday, January 11, 2020

Mosaic Monday #62: Hamburg, Part III

The peace of the holidays is rapidly dissipating.  Wildfires in Australia.  Tension between the US and Iran.  And closer to home, the sale of 630,000 acres of Montana timber land by Weyerhaeuser to Southern Pine Plantations, a Georgia-based brokerage and investment firm.  Rumors abound that treasured public access to recreation areas will evaporate as smaller parcels are sold to developers. 

While I am not one to panic, it is enough to bring on a general sense of unease.  In response, I pray.  And then I look for escape.  Akin to the proverbial ostrich, I stick my head in the sand of happier, carefree days.  So let us return to October 2019, and our trip to Hamburg, Germany.  As I wrote in my previous two posts, a city of romance, and of hopes and dreams.

Our tour of inspiring churches resumed with the Russian Orthodox Gnadenkirche ('church of mercy').  The round church was built in 1907 and for almost a century served as an Evangelic Lutheran house of God. As the number of churchgoers petered out, in 2004 the church was acquired by the parish of Saint John of Kronstadt.  After extensive renovations to suit its new congregation, the church now possesses captivating frescoes and intricate iconostasis crafted by Moscow's premier icon painters.
Iconostasis - a screen bearing icons, separating the
sanctuary from the nave

Our admiration continued, albeit in a more natural setting. Planten un Blomen ('plants and flowers') is a 116-acre urban park, famous for its water-light concerts, public theater and music performances.  It is easy to imagine summer-time, with families strolling wide pathways, and couples relishing a picnic while lounging on a blanket near one of the numerous water features.  This day, light rain spattered the ponds and gravel paths, leaving the park to a handful of visitors braving the weather.  Readers, you know my adoration for any garden, so you will believe me when I write that my enthusiasm was not dampened by a pinch of precipitation.

By evening, the walking tour resulted in a voracious appetite.  Once again, Dr. H hit the mark with a reservation at La Creperie Bretonne de Hambourg.  As you might surmise from the name, this restaurant serves only crepes and galettes, but I challenge you to peruse the menu without finding at least three dishes you would like to sample.  And then you have a decision to make about a dessert crepe!  Ooh la la!  

Staff were dressed in traditional French garb (think white and blue striped seaman shirts) and speaking French!

Stuffed full of crepes, I was ready for fresh air and a promenade to our next destination, the Elphi.  On our first day in town, we viewed the Elphi from a distance, but Dr. H promised that a night-time visit has a magic all its own.  As we approached the Philharmonic Hall, its dazzling blue and white lights pulled us forward like bees to honey.  We were bewitched by the escalator, which curves over its 270-foot length as you ascend to the Plaza level.
A stroke of marketing genius,  the Plaza permits access without concert tickets - thousands of visitors cop an up-close view of the building's architecture, undoubtedly resolving on the spot to attend the next available performance.  And then, there is the panoramic vista of the harbor - everywhere you look, people lean on the railings, taking in the ships outlined by strings of lights, with Hamburg's skyline beyond.  Who can resist a romantic picture for two?

The night was still young when we crossed town to the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's legendary nightlife mile.  Its reputation as the red-light district jangled a few of my nerves, but I rested easy in the trustworthy hands of Dr. H.  Although the area offers "adult services" of every type, most are not obvious and many are on side streets.  In the end, the Reeperbahn reminded me of the music scene in Nashville, the neon of Las Vegas and a US-style Spring Break, rolled into one.  Dr. H took us to two of her favorite bars, and we danced our little feet off.  Before we boarded the train to head to her apartment, I was tickled to see a bar with my name.  Who knew?

The next day saw a late start (“old” people need their sleep), and it was mid-morning when the train swept us to Blankenese, on the western outskirts of Hamburg. Blankenese is a wealthy residential district known for its half-timbered fishermen’s houses and pre-war villas, many of which line the winding stairs of the Treppenviertel (German for “staircase quarter”) neighborhood.  I was fascinated by the contrast of traditional homes cheek to cheek with ultra-modern construction.  Just a guess – being fit is a requirement to live here; I read a statistic that the average mail carrier in this village covers 5,000 steps and 300 feet of elevation each day.

The rain had picked up again by the time we chose a lunch spot, but that did not deter us from outside dining.  As I reported in an earlier post, many restaurants provide heaters, blankets and even awnings to protect customers from the elements.  That said, my pumpkin soup was a warm welcome.
The restaurant offered a ring-side seat to the harbor action, as container ships were loaded by sky-high cranes.  Impossibly large cruise ships squeezed past the commercial operators, their captains somehow keeping them within the deepest parts of the channel.  Soon enough, we joined the fray on the ferry that transported us back to Hamburg. 

Although we were still satisfied from our lunch, Dr. H convinced us (it wasn’t too difficult) that we must try the fischbrochten at her favorite harbor-side shop.  We gazed into the glass case to select among these sandwiches, made with fish and complemented by one or more of the following: onions, pickles, remoulade, creamy horseradish sauce, ketchup or cocktail sauce.  Spousal Unit was in his element, recalling the salty, fresh fish of his youth.  (Of course, the souvenir emporiums beckoned and we documented our stay in Hamburg with his and hers t-shirts, and a shot glass for his bar.)

Too soon, it was our last day, and Dr. H laid a fine breakfast table before she returned to work.  We ran 6 miles (gotta do something to work off those calories) and finished our packing in time to head for the train to the airport.  We felt like locals when we grumbled about waiting FOUR MINUTES!

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
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The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
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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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  1. I lived in Germany for 3 years and LOVED it!! Oh how i would love to return and I am doing so through your post. Thank you!
    Spatulas On Parade

  2. Sorry to her about the sale of timber land. Once it is parceled off and building starts the beauty is irreplaceable! I did so enjoy your tour! You truly had a grand time! Happy week to you!

  3. ...what a gorgeous destination. I have a home in the Adirondack Mountains, it's difficult to live in a wilderness unless you own the wilderness!

  4. Thank you for this wonderful Post. Indeed we must have hope for the future.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  5. This is such a lovely post … very uplifting.
    Beautiful selection of photographs for us to enjoy.
    A wonderful Happy Mosaic Monday :)

    Hope the new week ahead is good for you.

    All the best Jan

  6. Dear Angie,

    You showed really charming autumn views from Planten u Blomen & Blankenese. Such idyllic places. Wishing happy MM.

  7. The new year began with such sad news, didn't it? I treasure the shrinking wilderness and especially our national parks--we all have to try to preserve them for future generations in any way we can.

    Your trip to Germany was so wonderful! I am enticed to visit one day by seeing all your adventures. Loved the photo of you both!

  8. Dear Angie - I understand how you feel about the sale of the timber land which will drastically change your surrounding environment. Chaotic disasters worldwide are heartbreaking, too. My directt concern for the moment. Is a brand new coronavirus. Hope it will be contained as soon as possible.

    Germany is one of the countries I have traveled and enjoyed immensely. This post reminded me of that time as I traveled in late October. As a person who is particular about reflection, I’m so attracted by the reflection photo. The fresh fallen leaves scattered on the reflected tree branches is one of my most-loved painting on the water canvas.


  9. Disappointing to hear that land has been sold and will likely be developed. There's already been too much of that over recent years. It's definitely time to take a step back. Mother Nature sure doesn't seem very happy at the moment. So many volcanoes currently erupting. What is is going to take to wake up the world? I enjoyed our trip to Germany some years ago. So very clean and organized. Lots of green space for walking and biking. And the cafe where we stayed didn't allow phone usage. :) Looks like you had an absolutely wonderful time in Hamburg. It's always nice when you have a friend to show you around.

  10. What is there to say but BEAUTIFUL! Beautiful town, beautiful homes, beautiful and colorful flowers, beautiful food. I could go on and on.---I too tend to bury my head in the sand and look past the horrible and ugly---So thank you for the 'beautiful' post.

  11. I need to escape to from the terrible times our world is going through. Even if we are not directly involved it is all around us on the news, in the newspapers, on social media. Thank you for taking us along today on your holiday. It looks like you had a lovely time.

  12. Hello, it is sad to hear abut the land being sold and possibly developed. Your Germany trip looks awesome, so many beautiful sights to see. The food looks delicious, I would love the crepes. YUM! Love the photos! Thanks for hosting MM! Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  13. Happy mosaic Monday to all


  14. Beautiful post, Angie, and I think the essence of it is very similar to mine. In order to keep sane in these insane times, we must build within us a safe, happy place that we can escape to...

  15. Hi Angie - Happy New Year to you, I hope the world starts to feel a little more stable soon! I have enjoyed our time with you in Hamburg in Germany.

  16. Yes, praying is the best remedy when things are out of our control. What a wonderful trip for you and we get to enjoy it through your photos...thanks for sharing!

  17. We're on vacation and haven't been watching the news. It's always nice to get a break from the bad news around the world and closer to home. I'm sad for Australia too. Your trip looked like a culinary delight!

  18. well move over, let me put my head in the hole too. So so sad but feeling powerless I have to divert my vision. Andy Cohen's rabbi (on his show) said despair steals our humanity so we must try to keep looking up. Your vacations are the stuff of fantasy in my eyes.

  19. I hope things work out with the land deal ...hope it is not developed. Of course living in FL we see so many of our beautiful horse farms sold and houses built on the land. More houses....shish! your travel photos. The time sure flies when you are doing so much and having a great time. We love a chance to see countries we have never traveled to! Happy MM!

  20. It's so much fun traveling with you two! That church is amazing. You filled your days with so many beautiful things. I'm craving a crepe now but in my world it would be a blintz or a Swedish pancake. I'm a great one to pull the ostrich move and stick my head in the sand. Happy Monday to you. We are under 14 inches of about you?

  21. Loved this post Angie from beginning to end. I Share your method of dealing with the tension that is simply and sadly part of everybody’s life these days. I’m glad you mentioned it. And even happier that you shared the revisit to this beautiful city. It’s all so stunning! Just amazing. What a wonderful visit you had. I was surprised to learn about the red-light district, did not realize any other city besides Amsterdam had “formalized” this. You did a good job of covering it... I absolutely did not at all know what to say about it. ... that performance hall is stunning!

  22. Hi! Nice trip to Hamburg, Germany. The escalator of the Philharmonic Hall looks very cool. I knew you are very famous in Hamburg, your name is used the bar. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Wonderful to share your visit to Hamburg. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

  24. Shame about them selling all that 600.000 acres of woodland, it is the Trump again.
    Beautiful Hamburg, pleasing the senses of the camera, thanks Angie.

  25. When big business starts eyeing up sites for development it spells Trouble. We have it here all the time until we are in danger of concreting over our tiny still partly green island. I’m afraid Angie that sticking our heads in the sand will not work. We must fight back while remembering that very often, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Sue and I just spent hours online objecting to a local proposal.

    I’m impressed that you both resisted the temptations of the flesh in Hamburg and I’m sure that the culinary delights were as exciting and satisfying. And considerably cheaper I imagine.

  26. Sad to hear about and being sold to developers ~ hope it doesn't get too bad ~ Lovely photos of your trip to Germany and it was so good to see crepes ~ not popular around here and I love them ~ thin ones ~ Although your trip looks divine, don't think I will venture to Germany for crepes ~

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

  27. Always sad to hear of land being sold. Folks are always building low income housing around here. Your photos are wonderful. Such great memories. We'll be making some new ones with an upcoming trip to Disneyland. Have a lovely January my friend. Kit

  28. The Hamburg trip looks full of history and interesting sights as well as delicious food! It’s good to get a break that’s for sure, although we should all be uneasy. Just when we need leadership to address the climate crisis, we get the worst of the worst … those who bury their heads in the sand and never pull them out.

  29. sad as some things are right now, it is good to focus on the positive...relive your beautiful trip to germany. Planten un Blomen a really special place, i enjoy visiting natural spots and gardens while on vacation. oooooh and lots of really yummy food!!!

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  31. What a great tour of Hamburg. Your photos captured the beauty of the place. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.

  32. Thanks for sharing this lovely trip with us, your photos are awesome to see!
    As for the things in the world, I have decided that, since we are in the 'last days' there are awful things that are going to happen. I just keep believing and praying :)

    My Corner of the World

  33. I can't think of any more depressing news than more virgin forests being developed. Do we never learn?

  34. The sand is looking very appealing these days, Angie. As does Hamburg.


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