My madcap adventures in Germany during my year as a Fulbright Scholar.

12 February 2007


Did I tell you I went to Hamburg?

I guess I got busy with school and approaching deadlines (ack!) and neglected to blog about it. Well, I braved the really crappy weather (post-hurricane) to spend two cold, windy and wet days in Germany's beautiful Hanseatic city-by-the-bay. (Photos here.)

Because of the inclement weather, I saw most of the city through the windows of one of those hop-on, hop-off tour buses: the diplomatic quarter (only New York has more consulates than Hamburg), the fish market, and the mind-boggling HafenCity.

I also went to a service at the St. Michaelis church

Yes, you read that correctly. I wanted to see its beautiful interiors

and since I arrived right before the start of the noon service, I decided to stay. It actually wasn't much so much a religious observation as a chance to show off the church's three organs. The service's format: greeting, song from organ #1, scripture reading, song from organ #2, prayer, song from organ #3; it only lasted fifteen minutes. Still, it's the first time I've been to a church service in almost five years.

Some pictures from my trip:

The Rathaus

Speicherstadt warehouses

The harbor (The sun shone for the first and only time as I was on my way to the train station to head home; go figure.)

St. Petri

Germany's oldest stock exchange

The Elbe Tunnel

Old Jewish Cemetery

Safari outfitters

Umbrella detritus

I took advantage of a break in the weather to visit the Nikolai Kirche.

You should take with a grain of salt your guide book's claim that this church was destroyed by the allies. Yes, it was damaged during the massive civilian bombings carried out by British and American forces during WWII, but it was not destroyed. It could have been restored after the war, but instead the nave was demolished and the spire left standing as a war memorial. Now, it's an observation deck. It offers beautiful views of the city from 75 meters up:

As wonderful as the view is, getting there is really frickin' scary. You travel the 75 meters in a glass elevator that goes really fast, but that's not the scariest part. What's really frightening is that you travel through nothing to get there: the church is gone and the spire is a ruin, so there aren't any real walls, ceilings or floors in sight. It also boasted what must be the world's scariest emergency exit:

I'm not sure if the photo does it justice (the wind was blowing so hard I couldn't hold the camera steady; seriously), but it's terrifying: a rickety staircase that just plunges straight down into the abyss.

But I didn't go to Hamburg to ride around in a bus, look at buildings, and scare my mother by climbing unsafe structures.

This was the main event, and it was amazing. I won't even try to describe it, I'll let the images speak for themselves:

I couldn't resist bringing the paintings home with me, in the form of a bag,

a photo line (called, of all things the Steely Dan),

and some postcards.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go stare longingly into the distance for a while.

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