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Published: August 30th 2007
The Hamburg Skyline
Taken from a tour bus, this shows how the main churches dominate the skyline of Hamburg
Hi again, firstly apologies for taking so long to put these up, I sailed from Hamburg to Copenhagen and back and didn't have access to the net long enough to get these posts done (I only had access once with only enough time to reply to all my email). This and the site crash before I left put me out of reach of the blogsphere but I'm back and the posts should flow more regularly. Now... back to business.
For my first trip into Hamburg proper was by sea (well by river actually but by sea sounds a lot better). On Saturday afternoon we departed Jork and das Altes Land to take Ralf’s yacht up the Elbe to go to Church on Sunday morning in St. Michaeliskirche, the most famous of Hamburg’s five main churches. This was pretty cool since we docked in a yacht harbour directly on the harbour promenade right in the middle of the city and had a great view of the city on the way in. This gave us an opportunity to walk down the promenade and have a good look at the harbour before going to a portugese resteraunt for dinner. Based on my experience
The Yacht: Klein Erna
The noble yacht that carried us in.
to date with Portuguese food so far (consisting of only dinner at that restaurant), the idea Portuguese food sounds better than Portuguese food tastes. I hope this will change in the future. Anyway, after this we walked back to the yacht harbour to sleep on board the yacht and go to church the next morning, which is also a very convenient 5 minute walk away from the marina.
This church is a bit different to the other main churches of Hamburg since it is the only one that was built as a protestant church after the reformation back in the 16th century. The rest used to be catholic churches but switched after the city became Lutheran in 1529 after Martin Luther did his thing. Note that when I say built I mean built the first time, since most of the churches in Hamburg were burnt, bombed or somehow destroyed a couple of times. Come to think of it, most of the city has been destroyed a few times over. Hamburg has been rather unlucky during it’s past being the recipient of some pretty unfortunate events including:
* Being carpet bombed during world war 2
* Annexed by Napoleon from
Inside the St. Michaeliskirche
A photo of the inside of St. Michaeliskirche taken at a later date. Taken spy-style since taking of photographs is "Verboten!" I managed 4 shots before someone came and sternly pointed to the no photography sign.
1810-14 (the last year was spent under siege by the Russians)
* Experienced city wide fires in 1284 and 1842
* Burnt by a polish king in 1030
* Destroyed by King Mstivoj of the Obodrites (your guess is as good as mine) in 983
* And way back in 845, destroyed by a viking fleet.
On the topic of the viking fleet, I should mention that it consisted of around 600 ships. Just how many viking can you fit on a viking ship I have no idea, but let’s for the sake of this tangent say you can fit 10 vikings on a viking ship. So a potential six thousand vikings came to Hamburg. “So what?” you might ask... well, at the time of this invasion Hamburg’s population was 500. The whole proposition seems a lot more scary when you take into account that if you were a Hamburger back then you would have 12 vikings dedicated to the looting and pillaging of you and you alone.
Now, back on topic... The church service was in my opinion quite traditional involving a set program which included things like someone at the front saying something and then everyone else giving the appropriate reply, ye olde hymns in German sung to organ music and scripture readings. The bishop of Hamburg preached a sermon on something, the subject of which my limited German didn’t quite grasp. In any case I was Happy to look around the inside of the church which is very grand. It’s all the intricate details inside such a grand setting that makes it special.
Afterwards, we hopped onto a tourist bus that runs around the city with a running commentary in German. Some of the highlights that I was whisked past included:
* the main churches
* the old warehouse district
* the Rathaus (Town Hall)
A twisty chimney!
I saw this on one of the old buildings around the church. A very different chimney indeed
* the two Alster lakes (the Binnenalster ("Inner Alster") and the Außenalster ("Outer Alster")) around which all the rich people live
* The Atlantic hotel (featured in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and Michael Jackson’s baby hanging antics)
Finally, after a full day of seeing the sights, we boarded our yacht again and sailed back home (how very posh sounding!). More of Hamburg to come...
Also, FYI a Google maps link to Hamburg: Click me!
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