Tuesday, June 13, 2017

MENU's Scandinavian Odyssey 2. Germany

To Hamburg and Flensburg
We left Holland at 9 am and drove across the huge Ijsselmeerdijk to Friesland and then crossed the border into Germany. Our first stop would be Hamburg. The German autobahns are legendary – well they were; it seems that all over the north they are rebuilding them and widening them. What we imagined would be a lovely day’s drive was hell. Two lanes squeezed onto the oncoming side, so tight that we really feared for the car’s sides.
We arrived in Hamburg at 3.30 and headed to the centre. It was rainy and the traffic was busy. We thought of home and how much the rain was needed there
 The first landmark we saw was the tower of St Nicolai’s Church. It is being heavily restored. It was the tallest religious edifice in the world when it was built in the 1850s and it is still in the top 10. This is the region of Hamburg that was almost flattened in the firestorm in 1943
We parked and walked towards the church, crossing the river Elbe with a view down to the harbour
Some of these buildings are old, some were reconstructed after the war in the old style
We parked and walked towards the church, over a bridge crossing the river Elbe. Some of these buildings are old, some were reconstructed after the war in the old style. Parking is a nightmare, and it costs about €3 for an hour when you do find it. The Church was closing, so we decided to come back the next day
These old buildings are called the Speicherstadt, a busy warehouse area which is now also a waterfront tourist attraction, containing among others Miniatur Wunderland - a large model railway, the Hamburg Dungeon and Deutsches Zollmuseum (no, they don’t sell cannabis ciggys – they are known as zolls in South Africa - it’s a Customs House Museum) other attractions and, for us, unaffordable
We then headed north to our AirBnB in Schnelsen. We were very grateful for our SatNav
We had a room in Bärbel’s flat for the night. It was a large and very comfortable room. She was very welcoming
The front of the apartment building which has four flats. Our room had the upstairs window in the front of the gable
The next morning, we packed the car and headed for the city centre again. We managed to find parking and walked about for ages. This is the impressive Rathaus (City Hall). Hamburg is a modern city that has kept its historic buildings in great condition. There is lots of open space to walk about and admire the city. It is the second largest city in Germany
A colonnaded vaulted ceiling inside the Rathaus
Swans in the Elbe river
being fed by this resident
Nesting coots – this probably means the river is quite clean
Lots of elegant colonnades along the river
With restaurants that have lovely views
and tempting pastries
Oh, the Godiva chocolate shop. Lynne’s favourite chocolates in the whole world, but the prices were so scary we did not indulge. Too early in our trip north to spend unwisely, maybe on the way back
There is shop selling Baltic Amber jewellery
The Meissen shop was there too with a 15cm reminder of what we left at home, our ginger cat. A snip at €765 or about R11100
One of the tourist attractions was this man and his huge bubble making apparatus These students were having a lot of fun. Sadly, in the background is graffiti; the city is covered in it. Very disappointing, but we see lots of it in other places on our trip north
River boats on the water’s edge
And a lovely water jet in front of an older bridge
Working in the city, on his laptop outside his office or the coffee shop!
St. Peter's Church is a typical tall-towered German church
We then headed back to St Nicolai church and the museum. These are two old stained glass windows that have been preserved. The museum is all about the firestorm which followed the bombing by the British and Americans in 1943. It is very balanced, it also features the bombing of Coventry, London and Warsaw and carries a message about the evil destruction caused by war
The church is undergoing a huge restoration. The museum tickets also include a trip up to the top of the tower by lift
We were 75.3 metres high and the tower is open, the wind was howling. The views were spectacular
Out over the harbour
Or looking north to this church and the crazy leaning building
Lynne took this photo of the gargoyle. You have no idea what fortitude it took to get this; she suffers from physical vertigo if she sees a drop and her body freezes, while her brain goes into flight mode and she gets dizzy and nauseous. The weird thing is that she is not frightened of heights, it’s physical. The buffeting gale did not help but she was determined to get the shot
The spring green of the city trees was intoxicating. We then left Hamburg and headed north to Flensburg, which is on the Baltic coast
A traditional style, that echoes London mansion blocks. Our next AirBnB apartment was in this building, in the Neustadt. The less said about our room and the apartment the better. It was not good. It’s actually an older area, but we were delighted to find both an Aldi and Lidl supermarket either side of us. They are very good value and we bought supper and some food for the journey
Flensburg is actually on a fjord. And in the bay we saw lots of jellyfish which had come in from the sea
We drove to one side of the Fjord and saw these beautiful dune roses used as hedges in the parking area
Lots of boats on the moorings, and another high tower church
Fishing boats at the dock
And people enjoying time on their two master
What’s for late lunch or tea? We had been recommend to come to this Fish bar on the dock and we splurged and had two rolls with smoked salmon
John had a beer and Lynne’s pretty blue bottle turned out to be a shandy
An evening walk along the wharf. It’s a popular area for walking up and down and taking the sea air
Flensburg waterfront with the impressive buildings behind it. We tried so hard to get to them, but the one way system completely defeated us. We kept ending up in parking garages. We realised that you have to park and walk up to get there. But it was time to leave for Copenhagen
A bold raven (Corvus corax) saw us on our way

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