Wednesday, July 18, 2012


So my original travel plans for the summer were "I'm going to Paris while in Germany." But after some research of the trains in Europe and with the fact that I never on know what my rehearsal schedule will be, except for one day in advance, those plans have kind of gone out the window. So while Calvin is here we decided to make the best of it and go to Hamburg for the day. We asked some of the locals, Jana (pronounced Y-ana), and she said it was possible to do day trips and a good idea. Ideally if we had had three days or so to travel we would have liked to go to Berlin. But we took what we could get and went to Hamburg for the day. And it was awesome! We took the hour and a half train ride from Eutin to Hamburg at about 8:30 am on Sunday and landed in the Hamburg hauptbahnhof a little after 11 am (small train delay in Luebeck). After speaking with the tourist information center we hiked across the city to make the ONLY English language boat tour of the day! We left the train station at approximately 11:15 and were running by the end to make sure we got on the boat that departed at noon. It was a nice hour long tour of the ports of Hamburg - I didn't realize that Hamburg is the second largest port in Europe, second to Rotterdam. The ships we saw were massive! Some of them can carry up to 14,000 semi trucks worth of cargo.

The tour guide told us details about some of the different shipping companies, which companies are located in certain countries or if they have a specialized was all very interesting. Calvin and I had the best seats in the house, on the top deck at the "bow" of the ship! By the time the tour was over our hair was particularly wind blown and I was rocking a pretty sweet "do" :)

We also so the new performing arts building that has been "in process" for almost ten years and it not done yet. The performing arts center is built on top of an existing building.....other than that I'm not sure on the details....I think it looks like hole-y cheese :)

After that we walked back in the direction we had come because we had found a very cute side street with cafes and restaurants on it that we thought would be a nice place to eat lunch. After observing all the choices we settled on a nice place with a small terrace that overlooked a small run-off of the large river. We decided to be adventurous and order some classic Hamburg cuisine. And being that we couldn't read most of the words on the menu, it's no surprise we got what we did. The waitress, doesn't speak any English, asks us for our order and we go with the fass pilsner and the herring filet. We played charades with her in broken German and asked to split the meal between the two of us and she goes away to place the order. The chef was very nice and split the meal for us and on the plate was half of a raw pickled fish filet. My half had the tail. Needless to say we did our best to eat as much as we could, and Calvin did better than I did, but that is an experience I shall never forget. And now I can say that I've eaten a "Hamburger special."

There is a tail on my plate.....

View from our table at lunch on the terrace

During lunch we looked over our map and decided on what we would like to do the rest of the day, and settled on going to the Brahms museum followed by St. Michael's Lutheran Church CHECK , because they were very close to each other. On the way to the Brahms museum, we got caught in a massive thunderstorm, mind you we are on foot with one umbrella. The rain came out of no where, it was nice and sunny........and then it wasn't. One funny thing, which wasn't funny at the time I imagine, was like a scene straight out of a movie, two girls were walking on the other side of the street in the rain and one of their umbrellas became turned inside out and then blew away into the street from the force of a bus. Probably and image that won't quickly be erased. Soaking wet, we made it to the museum and had a nice time looking around while the rain continued outside. The museum was very interesting and had many artifacts and original pieces of sheet music by Brahms that were breath taking to see first hand. The most mesmerizing artifact there was Brahms' piano that he used to compose and teach lessons on. I REALLY wanted to touch it, but figured that wasn't allowed.

After having our fill of the museum (and after the rain had subsided quite a bit) we started out towards St. Michael's. I believe it is the tallest steeple in Hamburg and we had been using it as a compass all day, so it was nice to pay a visit. I was a little bummed that it was a cloudy day, because I imagine we would have even able to see a lot more than we did up in that tower. Now, there are two ways to get to the top.....the lift.....or the stairs. We took the stairs. (wir spinnen) I didn't actually count the flights but I don't think saying 30 would be too large of an estimate...everytime we thought we we getting close we would walk into yet another level with 6 or so flights.

Yes. We climbed to the top of that tower.

It took a while, but I think I survived because of all the bike riding :) it was pretty cool thought we got to walk through the bell chamber and see the giant bells. They started ringing right as we got to the top! I was glad that they didn't go off with us inside the room with them....that would have been loud and probably terrifying!

Not a great pic of me.....but oh well :)

At St. Michael's the crypt is also available for viewing so we decided to check it out. And talk about spooky....not in a horror movie kind of way, because the renovations on it were very nice, but just feeling the age of the building and history of what was beneath. There weren't actually any remains left in the church, they were moved quite a while ago, but gravestones are there (they are the floor) and some of them have very nice messages written on them. The messages were all practically the same, but still nice. The most famous grave was that of C.P.E. Bach (son of J.S. Bach).

C.P.E Bach's tombstone

Me outside of the church

As we were leaving the church there was a service starting, and there was a lovely piece being sung by a soprano as the prelude and it sounded quite lovely. We then decided to walk back to the Rathaus center because we had seen some tents set up, that looked like an outdoor restaurant, while walking to the boat tour when we first arrived. We were so happy to have decided to do that because it just so happened to be the "Stuttgarter Weindorf" outdoor wine and southern German food festival!!!!!! We stayed there the rest of the evening exploring the cuisine and culture of a different area of Germany, complete with Lederhosen wearing servers and bartenders :) for two euro we bought our cute wine tasting glasses and were able to enjoy......wein vom fass. Translation: wine on tap.

There were barrels of wine with a spickett plugged in to them, it was the most amazing thing. We also were given other glasses to drink wines that weren't the fass wein to more "properly" enjoy them, but those weren't for keeps. Conclusion: we love Trocken (dry) Rieslings. Among the enormous wine lists there was also some glorious food. Pretzels, waffles with applesauce, kaese spaetzle, bratwurst, stuttgartwurst, kraut......I could go on and on and on......and we ate everything we could! The weather at this point was amazing and we stayed at the weindorf until about 10 pm when we headed for the train station, to go back to Eutin.

This was a magical day that I will never forget.


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