Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I've been in Hamburg over a day now, and I keep getting excited walking around because there are so many signs with the word Hamburger in them.  Then I get the instant, "yeah, man, a hamburger sounds awesome" feeling, then a split second later I think, "oh yeah, they're just talking about themselves again."

Not that I blame them...this is a cool city even when it's cold and rainy, sort of like Boston in January.  It's got one very impressive harbor, and a famous street called the Reeperbahn.

This is the street where the sailors would come when on shore leave, so as you might imagine, it's kind of like the Red Light District in Amsterdam.  Mixed with a tinge of Times Square.  It's fascinating to walk through, not my cup of tea to actually stop anywhere on.

The Kaiserkellar
Well, one point just to the north, on the side street called Grosse Freiheit (Great Freedom).  This is where the Beatles played when they came to Hamburg, where they honed their talents before hitting it big.  John Lennon supposedly said, "I was born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg."  They played the majority of their time at the Kaiserkellar, which is still there, and I stopped by today.  Down the street where Freiheit meets Reeperbahn, metal outlines of the Four stand in a small circle meant to look like an LP.  A separate outline of Stu Sutcliffe, who died in 1962 but was with the band in Hamburg, hangs off to the right.

The Beatles at the corner of Reeperbahn & Grosse Freiheit

I took a couple walks down by the harbor, which has been hopping busy for hundreds of years despite being on the Elbe River rather than up at the ocean.  A trip to the city history museum was this afternoon, followed by a trip to Spicy's Gewürzmuseum (Spicy's Spice Museum), a small but cool set of exhibits showing you where spices come from, and letting you smell them along the way.

Big Frankie, 3rd from left, tells other birds what's what, see?
Oh, I had lunch outside the city museum, and about 4 ducks made right for my bench hoping to get some food.  I threw out two bread crumbs, and instantly had more than 20 birds hanging on my every move.  The ducks didn't have a chance, as these white birds (maybe gulls) would catch anything I threw before it landed.  One of the white ones, who I decided to call Big Frankie, made it clear by aggressive posturing and cahs that the other white birds had best get out of there, because he owned me.  Big Frankie shooed most of them off, but as near as I could tell, was never quick enough to get a piece.

Off to Berlin tomorrow.

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