Thu 7 Nov - Hamburg, Germany

The dead centre of town followed by the "zombie" centre of town...

Another huge day, with plenty of pics...

Johannes, among other things, recommended a visit to Ohlsdorf Friedhof or cemetery and that's where we went today. The cemetery is some stops north of Hamburg and requires a trip on the S1 schnellbahn train.

So, after breakfast, we took a short stroll to our local train stop at Stadthausbrücke. The stations map look very similar to the color coded London tube map and we recalled that the Tube map created a de facto standard for these maps around the world.

The trains arrive very regularly and soon we were on the S1, traveling anti clockwise on the green line above. The carriages are comfy and clean.

The Ohlsdorf Friedhof's western end is across a street from Ohlsdorf train station and we were soon there. A cemetery staff member saw us trying to make sense of a small map that Johannes had given us and yelled "großer" and pointed to the visitors centre which she was unlocking.

A larger map was preferred with our older eyes, and one in English could be helpful, so we followed her there and were given one for free. Any attempt to get any suggestions for a route or what in particular to see failed miserably so we took the map and wandered inside the Ohlsdorf Friedhof with the intent of zigzagging as we saw something that we thought looked interesting.

This was how we explored Ohlsdorf Friedhof...which is the size of a suburb with 17kms of roads inside the cemetery itself.

The overcast, but not rainy weather gave just the right feeling to Ohlsdorf Friedhof.

To describe Ohlsdorf Friedhof overall would be to say it is a lovely regional park with scatterings of burials amongst the gardens. The cemetery is certainly not crowded, as they cremate here and bury families together, and also as most of the graves are spread out and not in neat rows. For much of the cemetery the paths meander through woodland and you round a corner and come to a new small group of graves like the one above.

A section of carefully selected gravestones are in the photos which follow.

First, one that had various recognizable Hamburg landmarks engraved into the stone. Looked very nice and definitely different.

This stone featured a map of "our" part of the world, with Australia particularly prominent. We had no idea why this guy had this memorial. Perhaps he was a sailor or perhaps he just liked Southeast Asia / Australasia.

The grim and fresh grave... A deep hole had been dug here and judging by the freshness of the flowers, this will be the final resting place for somebody very soon.

There were groupings of graves in some places and here the small stones with people's names on them were aligned somehow to "DRK Schwesternschaft" according to what is inscribed in the cross.

All the graves started with "Schwester" (meaning Sister) and appeared to have a medical cross.

OK, poor form to laugh about the dead, but this name did... Yep, you got it.

This larger than life statue for the Nordheim family looked very imposing and also moving. Di is included in the photo for reference to show how big the statue is.

A lighthouse inside Ohlsdorf Friedhof? No, this is, or was, a water tower. Looked really good.

At the foot of the water tower was a frog prince looking for a kiss from his princess.

Di tried to bend down and provide one for the photo, but the ground was wet and the prince too low, so here is the crowned frog all by himself.

Ohlsdorf Friedhof had 12 kapell or chapels. Not all of them looked this good, but they were all still historically interesting buildings and seemed to be still in use.

The map we received from the info lady had mentioned that 7000+ funerals being held here each year so we figure the chapels can be sometimes busy (but not today).

There is also a section of Ohlsdorf Friedhof that is designated for high achieving women, although quite a few men had snuck in there as well from what we could see.

The section is illustrated by another high achieving woman...

And it was really nice in that section, with benches and wind chimes and a great outlook, so we decided to have morning tea there, using provisions that we had brought with us (not forgetting tea bags this time!)

This photo is looking right up from where we were sitting above.

And this photo of the outlook is also taken from the same spot. Nice, hey?

There are around 300 staff employed in the Friedhof and we expect at least half of them are gardeners, who seemed all busy today keeping the graves, paths and gardens clear. The park land was really lovely and peaceful, except for the odd leaf blower, branch mulcher and whipper snipper...

Then we got into the war cemeteries and there were a few of them inside Ohlsdorf Friedhof. This section contained German soldiers from both of the world wars.

Many of the gravestones depicted the role that the soldier had within the German Army, Navy or Air Force.

The gravestones here were of grey stone instead of the more common white stone, and the late autumn light with all the leaves on the ground gave the area a sombre look.

Now, this was something new for us. Sections of this war cemetery had been set aside for Germany's enemy soldiers who presumably had lost their life within German territory. The graves were smaller and were flat on the ground, but still well cared for... A bit touching.

Quite a few Russian names featured and here there were 6 of them. Moss had entered some of the engravings giving the gravestones an interesting look.

Unb... Unb... There is no name on it... (With apologies to The Ugly / Tuco aka Eli Wallach in the movie "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly")

The government and people of Hamburg have set aside a portion of land here to be maintained in perpetuity, for WWI and WWII commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives here. It is as well cared for as the German soldier graves and we thought was a generous gift.

The entrance...

Unfortunately Aussies featured quite a bit...and a few kiwis too. Generally air men.

Di was quite torn...she was sad for the Aussies who died here but also sad that they were possibly bombing her family at the time (her dad was born in Hamburg in September 1939 and lived in the cellar of their family home during the bombings here).

It was after 1pm and we had reached at our cemetery limit for one single day so we used our map to head to another S Bahn station made our way back to Hauptbahnhof, which looked and felt very busy as per below.

There are two pedestrian cross passes on either side of the Hauptbahnhof and this is looking across one of them.

Looking down at one of the platforms at the Hauptbahnhof.

Our plan was to find somewhere to have a quick bite to eat for lunch within the Hauptbahnhof complex and we found a food court of sorts where we had wurst and potato salad, very nice indeed and much better wurst than Hans' Currywurst from yesterday. Sorry, no pics, as we got stuck into the tucker quickly.

After being refueled, we decided to head back to base. We didn't think our S Bahn train could take us to all these locations but it was fun to count off the ones we've visited and be inspired by the ones to come (like Berlin next week).

Home just before 3pm and time for some snoozing (we were both a bit sleepy after our walk and hot meal). Another outing tonight but in the meantime washing and blogging and chilling.

Around 7pm, we are ready for part 2 of the day, an evening with dinner in the Reeperbahn area.

It is not very far from where we stay, perhaps 10 minutes walk and soon we saw the twisted office building that Johannes called the "dancing couple". This building marks the eastern end of Reeperbahn.

You also know you're in the Reeperbahn due to lots of drugged looking beggars. Zombie like...they sit with their dogs on blankets and pop up to beg, with old paper cups, for coins - each time in some mumbled German despite tourists here being from everywhere.

Lots of neon signs and flashing lights made out for interesting photography. This is a theatre.

Johannes had recommended an Italian restaurant called Cuneo, apparently the very first Italian restaurant in Hamburg. It didn't look much from the outside, but it was positively buzzing inside. And very busy, so busy that we would have to wait an hour if we wanted a table. So, we moved on...

The side streets of Reeperbahn looked far more grotty than Reeperbahn itself so we thought that perhaps we would find somewhere with good karma by chance if we just ventured in a bit. Lots of empty cheap eateries and bars and rooms for hire for very little and more interesting photography.

Perhaps we were still too early as the time now was only around 8pm.

And then this... Hans' name seems to pop up a lot in this part of the world.

The back streets started to look like "mugging territory" so we returned to the main drag...and shops for every occasion. Here it seemed that you could get sex toys and tools for every imaginable fetish.

And this... A gun shop, selling knives, handcuffs, balaclavas and behind Di, sneakers should you need to run away from it all...

And why not buy your own little taser while you're at it...?

Reeperbahn at night...not yet busy in places this Thursday night.

Well, we finally found a restaurant with good karma and one that Di had read about with positive reviews. Freudenhaus restaurant serves typical German fare, but is apparently very good.

No tables were available immediately here either and the head waiter told us that there was a 30 minutes wait, but he added, we could spend that time in the next door bar and he would come and get us when the table would become available. So we did...
The bar was grungy and had probably been there for a very long time. Every liquor bottle imaginable including Bundaberg Rum. We liked it a lot...

The bar had these sideways tables coming off the actual bar where you could sit opposite each other, and that's what we did. The bartender comes up to you to take your order without you having to move and he without having to leave the bar. That was a new one...


Our table at Freudenhaus eventually became available and we moved from the bar to the diner. Interesting decor...

After the consumption of some beer, Hans had to visit the Men's gallery. This cracked him up. After you have washed your hands, you turn around and there is a door there which you are trying to exit through (the door to the right in the picture below).
The door is locked and for a moment you wonder whether you are stuck inside the loo. Then, read the text in the doors. The first one said "hier nicht", not here, and the other door, the one that you can in through says "hier ja", here it is. Very amusing...

Hans had ordered suckling pig, to make the inevitable comparison with the same dish served at Pilu on Freshwater Beach in Sydney. It was served differently here, the presumably German way, with potato gratain and cabbage, but it was delicious. The plate was empty once Hans had finished.

Di had ordered half a roasted duck, today's special, and it was also very good, but far too much food for her. She also really enjoyed her meal.

Tuck in... Location shot.

Did we earlier mention about the Freudenhaus restaurant's interesting decor...?

Full with food and wine and very pleased with our meals, we slowly meandered back to Reeperbahn and towards home. Hey what's that? An outdoor bar, as part of the upcoming and adjacent Christmas markets. We had to try it...

Suspended Christmas trees from the ceiling...

This is how the punters survived the cold, as it would have been perhaps 5 degrees by now. Heaters, blankets, pillows and... a projected open fire.

What else could we drink but hot Glühwein... They were served in small and very cute mugs that you had to pay €2 each for as a deposit. So we did.

Di is enjoying her Apfel Glühwein...

We forfeited our €2 for the mugs and brought them home with us. They were sooooo cute.

Back home around 11pm, tired and full of food and alcohol, so we slumped into bed. A most enjoyable day and night... yet again. Good night.

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