“Heute, Ich bin ein Hamburger”

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Yes, today we come to you from Hamburg. The title means “Today I am from from Hamburg”. Citizens of Hamburg would be ein Hamburger. Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city, behind Berlin.

We believe that this is the port city from which my 2nd great grandfather on my father’s side emigrated from Germany to Canada about 1880.The 1820’s to 1890 showed over 1.2m Germans immigrating to the US from Germany. They were pulled by the attractions of land and religious freedom, and pushed out of Europe by shortages of land and religious or political oppression. It must have been traumatic to leave everything you’ve ever known (where the family had lived since at least 1630), pick up your entire family (my ancestor brought his wife and 9 children with him) and very few possessions, to someplace you’ve never been.

We heard the sounds of a parade(?) from inside the hotel, but it wasn’t until we made our way a few blocks away that we found ourselves closer to the source of the music. The Gay Pride parade, which occupied more than one street; we eventually had to dash across the street during a gap in the parade to continue our journey.

We were trying to get to an area of the city near the port, where there are also canals, specifically the Nikolaifleet. Along the way we walked past the St. Nicholas church, the remains of the last structure date from 1874. The building is in ruins and is covered in scaffolding as the lower section is being massively renovated; the tower is still visible. When built, it was the tallest building in the world in 1874. It is still the second tallest building in Hamburg.

Hamburg has an enormous port. Over 130 bridges connect Hamburg’s Port with the Elbe islands. The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It originates in the mountains of the northern Czech Republic, then flows down thru Germany before flowing into the North Sea, northwest of Hamburg. The course of the Elbe cuts through Hamburg and has created many small islands in an area called Hafencity (Port city).

Along the canals are many warehouses and enormous office building complexes ( Speicherstadt) housing many of the world’s shipping and rail companies. The area has undergone tremendous redevelopment with some large office complexes, two of which are named after famous navigators: Vespucci and Columbus. The older buildings date from the 1880’s. These giant warehouses are built on a foundation of timber logs (piles).

There’s an elevated walkway across a good part of it as you walk towards the harbour itself.

At the end of the walkway, you descend to ground level just before a drawbridge. We had just started over the bridge when they announced that the bridge was going to be raised for a vessel and to clear the bridge. The drawbridge arms went down on both sides and we waited to see what would appear. First, a dinghy. No, that didn’t need the bridge to be raised. Then the bridge started to rise up and we could see a sailing vessel coming into view.

Directly behind us is the Elbphilharmonie Hall, a stunning bit of architecture.

The harbor is just down the end of of the walkway from the Elbphilharmonie Hall and there are several ferries operating from here. We hope to take one tomorrow.

Some very nice office and apartment buildings, restaurants, populate the harbour view.

By this point we were 1 1/2 miles from the hotel, so my feet and knees were more than happy to take the U-BAHN back closer to our hotel. By comparison, the U-BAHN tickets were €1.60 each ($1.88), which makes Copenhagen’s system 2x more expensive.

No more Gay Pride parade. Quiet once again.

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