This morning we set off to see Hamburg. We stopped in a bakery to get franzbrötchen for breakfast, a cinnamon baked good that Rachy had recommended. It was great. We took the s-bahn downtown and then did some exploring. We walked through the financial district where there was a political rally and where there was also some sort of protest against the unequal distribution of wealth brought about by capitalism. (We weren’t exactly sure what they were protesting, as we couldn’t read the German signs…) We walked by some historic buildings and some cathedrals/chapels with significantly different architecture than we had seen elsewhere on our treks. We made our way to Saint Nikolai, which is really nothing other than a spire. The actual church had been destroyed during the firebombing of Hamburg at the end of the second World War. It has been turned into a memorial to remember those who died in the firebombings (as well as those persecuted and killed by the Nazi regime). We went up to the top of the spire where we had an okay view of the city – it would have been better if the spire weren’t surrounded by scaffolding. There is a lot of scaffolding in Europe in September, as they hold off doing construction and repairs until the end of tourist season.
Next, we walked down to the harbor where we took a ferry (included in our day pass for the s-bahn) which traveled up and down the Elbe river along Hamburg. We got a nice view of the beaches and of the ports where cargo ships were being loaded and unloaded. On our return trip we could see approaching rain, which hit us pretty hard (all the passengers took cover on the lower deck). Luckily, by the time we got to our stop the rain had reduced to a dribble. Our entire day actually consisted of a constant cycle of rain, then sun, then more rain, etc. This is very common in Hamburg, as well as everywhere else we’ve been in the last two weeks.
We walked past the Fischmarkt (Fish market) and down Reeperbahn street (the famous Red Light district in Hamburg) to a fantastic park- Planten un Blomen. It was another highly sculpted European park and it was extraordinarily beautiful. We met up with our host Rachy at a nearby s-bahn station and then went to dinner at a nice bistro. We chatted a little with Rachy over a beer in a chic German bar (only 3 beers on tap; are we really in Germany?) and then headed home.