Going west... That is, western parts of Hamburg along the Elbe.
The weather forecast for our week in Hamburg has been pretty grim, with rain predicted for almost every day. However, it seemed like the weather couldn't quite make up its mind as today we had a mix of showers and sunshine, although it was consistently cold.
After breakfast, we wandered out with a vague idea of exploring more of the river Elbe. We let Runkeeper record our movements throughout the day and those can be divided into 2 parts; us walking and us being on a ferry.
The overall route was as a follows, with the ferry trip clocking up most of it as you can see below.
An expanded subset of the above shows how we walked before and after that ferry trip.
We did also cross the Elbe (underneath) on foot through the Saint Pauli / Sternwerder Elbtunnel, but as GPS coordinates would be impossible to record down there, we paused Runkeeper for that duration.
Now onto the day...
First stop was a gigantic and graffiti covered statue of Otto Van Bismarck, the chief orchestrator and then the first Chancellor of the unified German empire. No respect?
Interestingly enough, a large Russian tour group were at the Bismarck Monument when we were there. We were not sure why they would take such an interest in him, but it may have been just another stop as part of a broader tour.
Very close by the monument is the eastern end of the Reeperbahn so we decided to have a look there.
It seemed to us that the Reeperbahn had been significantly cleaned up from its gory past - as what we saw looked pretty clean with many newish looking buildings, just like Times Square in New York City and even Kings Cross in Sydney.
However, there were stretches of old and rundown buildings like the one below.
Signs told the punters what was not allowed in the Reeperbahn area. Note the glass and bottle ban over weekend nights.
Of course, the sex industry is still very much present in the Reeperbahn area, including these gimp dummies...
Clearly there is a threat in the area of further redevelopment, but hopefully they don't go too far and cause the Reeperbahn to lose its edge...
...although some of the buildings would probably benefit Hamburg better by being demolished. Note how all the balconies are propped up below...
We left the Reeperbahn area, with the intention of coming back one evening later in the week, and turned south to walk down to the Elbe. A commuter ferry trip on the number 62 ferry was on the cards. Up on the outer deck traveling westwards, the ferry headed right into the wind and it was chilly.
BTW, the ferry is fully maneuvered by only one person, the captain, upstairs in this cabin, and that includes getting the ferry to the quay and lowering / bringing up the gangway. Something for the severely overstaffed Manly ferry guys to see how it is done elsewhere...
The inside of the ferry was quite warm, but after 15 minutes or so outside (and with rain starting) we went back inside and opted for a cup of tea each. We had brought our own thermos with hot water and cups but... we forgot to bring tea bags, so off to the kiosk to buy some tea instead.
Enjoying the warmth and to sit down for a little while...
Yep, Di too...
A few more photos from the upper outside deck... Another short stop...
A "selfie" down the Elbe...
Somebody with a sense of humour had put up this "man" on top of a buoy. No, you couldn't really miss him and from a distance he looked very real.
Yes, Hamburg does have small stretches of beaches... Not used today and probably not for most of the year, but they looked good anyway.
This area north of the Elbe and west of town, called Neumühllen, looked very exclusive. With that little hill and a southerly outlook, property here is certain to cost a bit.
On the southern side of the Elbe, the port facilities never seem to end. A lot of Hamburg's past and present wealth can certainly be attributed to the shipping.
You see what we mean...
The ferry number 62 went as far as to a place called Finkelwerder on the southern side of the Elbe, which is were this photo is taken with a blue polizei vessel in the background.
And then the sun came out and things warmed up just for a little while and we decided to stop at the Altona Fischmarkt on the way back and explore.
You would think that the building behind Di is where the Fischmarkt is housed and so did we.
However, it turned out that this building used to house fish auctions but today it was being set up for a technology exhibition. No sign of any fish other than as decorations of the buildings exterior.
So, where is that famous Fischmarkt? It took us a while to realize that the markets these days are set up on a cobblestoned square a little bit behind from where the photo above was taken. No activity today, and checking signs it appeared that the markets are only on from 4am - 11am. Well, we need to come back early another day.
The area between the Fischmarkt, the Reeperbahn and town is called St. Pauli and along the water it was positively grungy in places. This "book exhibition" and "home" was set up under a pedestrian overpass.
Graffiti and art was ever present along the water here.
Some of the building facades were quite impressive, like this one which was "out of control".
And then the dark clouds rolled in again...but that just made the decorated grungy buildings look good!
Hamburg, like Paris and Montreal and other main cities, also has an artificial beach and even a "beach club" and this is the main entrance. For some reason, it was not open for business today...
We had to take this photo - Di's father travels with a campervan in Europe and based on his stories we are pretty sure he would have used this parking lot as an overnight camping site, right on the Elbe for about €18 per 24 hours. Not a bad accomodation cost for such a prime location.
With the rain chasing us we headed underground...well, actually underwater. This is the entrance to the old Elbe tunnel which was built as a vehicle tunnel crossing 100 years ago.
There are 4 entrances on the surface but only 1 lane underneath crossing the Elbe. And these 4 entrances are all car elevators..that go down, down down...
The tunnel was replaced many years ago and refurbished for light traffic, mainly bikes and people walking, but we did see 2 small cars cross through at walking pace. We took the stairs down down down...
Hans was delighted to head down and hang over the edge for a good view.
Di took her time and held tightly onto the handrails...not that the stairs were going anywhere. Talk about over-engineered, with serious amounts of steel used.
The tunnel looks fantastic and is in great condition. Not one single drip or leak and we are 20 metres under water. The tunnel has one way traffic and the direction depends on the time of day.
The small raised pavements on each side are for pedestrians but during our time there were plenty of people walking on the road too as we saw perhaps 2 cars during our back and forth walk.
Di tried out her German on the elevator operator. Why no cars? She understood from the operator that at at the moment there were hardly any cars because people were all at work.
The old Elbe tunnel is really more of a tourist attraction than a genuine Elbe crossing option for traffic. The elevators are fast but with a maximum of 2 tiny cars in 1 elevator, and then just 1 lane, it could be quite a queue to cross here. So, if you are in a hurry, you probably try to cross the Elbe elsewhere...
The tunnel midpoint, 21 metres under high tide mark.
There are decorative tiles along the walls of sea creatures. Di was having visions of a seafood dinner.
We made it...and did ride in the car elevator up to the south side surface. You get a good view back to the city of Hamburg from here, and of course the northern tunnel entrance where we started (the domed building on the left of this photo).
Looking eastwards along the Elbe, you also get a good view of the financially disastrous ElbPhilarmonie building that we discussed a bit yesterday and the passenger ship terminal where we haven't yet been.
Hans was admiring the view of our local church. Hold on, it is the other way, Hans...
Then we looked southwards and were pleased to see a dirty old working barge area. We really like that Hamburg is still a busy port and it's not all beautiful or beautified.
The quickest way back is of course back through the tunnel - and it took little time to return to the north shore.
As it was lunch time we considered our best value lunch options and for this we headed back to the Reeperbahn. Hans selected a busy corner cafe that looked pretty casual, busy and advertised Currywurst, which he had been keen to try. This is how it arrived. Hmm... Tried it now, will move on to something else next time...
Di had a Chicken Doner Kebab, a popular choice and fresh and tasty. Certainly a better choice than the Currywurst.
The weather was still cold and rain continued to chase us so we decided to end our touring for the day (as we will be out again tonight).
Before we headed back home, we stopped at our local grocery store, Edeka, for simple dinner supplies.
We had heard from Johannes that early this morning (around 3am) apparently there had been a break-in attempt at Edeka, which woke quite a few people as the store is surrounded by residential buildings (not us though) but we could now see the evidence.
It can only have been an absolutely nuked person doing something like that in an area like this...
Home around 2pm for a lazy few hours - cuppas, blogging and a nice very long bath for Di (she was on tippy-toes keeping her head out of water). We should maybe mention at this stage that most of the apartment is perfect for Hans' height - our host, Johannes, is 193cm tall. A very long bath makes sense.
We had an earlish dinner just after 6pm and then we got ready for a 8.15pm concert in the crypt of St Michaels church. We were told to come 30 minutes early for seating, which we did.
After doing the German thing of finding seats early and put something on them as a means of reservation, we purchased ourselves a glass of wine each and also a program for tonight's concert, see below.
Down in the crypt, the ceiling was very low, but in the end we managed to avoid getting our heads bruised and battered.
The set up before the concert, for only a pianist and a singer.
Here we are with our glasses of wine... :-)
At 8.15pm or so, the concert started and had a very religious theme (obviously, being done in the crypt of a church). It was perhaps a bit too much of "tot" for Hans, who enjoyed it, but Di probably liked it better.
There was really no good opportunity or felt right to take photos during the concert, but Hans did several attempts after the concert as the two performers bowed, left, came back again and bowed a bit more.
This was the least bad photo, with the pianist to the left and the singer to the right.
It was absolutely perfect to stay so close to a performance venue and we were back home after five minutes from leaving the St Mikael's Church some time after 10pm.
Johannes was home and on the phone and as Hans realized that we didn't have a photo of him, he shot off a quick one. Perhaps this photo may not show him in the best light, but here it is anyway.
We finished off the night with a cup of tea each, joining Johannes around the kitchen table while he was having a late dinner after playing table tennis earlier during the night.
All good, but now it is good night from Hamburg.