Friday, 1 July 2011

a free and Hanseatic city

Hamburg of course, where last week I spent several very good days.  It is a port city 100 km from the North Sea, Germany's largest and up there with the most important in Europe and the world.  If it had not been bombed so much it would be a city of Jugendstil architecture, as Riga, another Hanseatic port and one in which I have lived, still is.  Riga is a much less important port because it is frozen for about three months of the year.  Much of the emigration from Europe to the then-called New World went out from Hamburg, and much of Europe's trade happens through there too.  This, not surprisingly, is the country much concerned.

We had the good fortune to be there at midsummer, the time to go north in Europe, and the skyline at dusk looks something like this:
I went some years ago to Liverpool, another European port city from which there was much emigration, but which did not do so well in terms of trade.  It is best known now outside the UK for the Beatles, but the city did not seem to wish to remember them.  Hamburg however does:
at the Beatlemania museum in St Pauli, which has a fantastic collection of authentic artefacts, like this:

we ate herrings with apples and sour cream, and we saw Bob Dylan play at the Stadtpark. 

the Fischmarkt is open only on Sunday mornings, from very early, and all the stalls have been taken out of the market hall.  The above is what goes on inside, namely breakfast, beer and rockabilly.  Excellent.  You can buy not only fish on the quayside but fruit, vegetables, flowers, pasta, chocolate and, surprisingly, live animals (rabbits and chickens) which I do not think are intended as pets. 

Go there, you really won't be sorry. 


Anonymous said...

Yes - I have been intending to visit for some time - but I will NOT eat herrings because I hate them.

Anonymous said...

sounds like a fine place, unlike Liverpool (which does remember The Beatles far too much and sometimes forgets about dealing with the present).

Anonymous said...

Many of those who left Hamburg for the New World ended up in the East End of London, Hull, Newcastle, Glasgow or Dublin, either because that was all they could afford, or because they were conned into thinking they were in America.