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Published: March 19th 2010
Hello from Germany! The two Days in Hamburg have been fun. While I didn’t find the city itself to be as entertaining as Copenhagen, there was definitely plenty of stuff for us to do. We spent most of the first day on Sunday, March 14th traveling by bus and ferry boat. When we got to Hamburg we all just kind of relaxed after a long day. The highlight of the day was dinner at the Rathaus (Hamburg’s town hall.) Constructed between 1886 - 1897, it still houses its original governmental functions with the office of the First Mayor of Hamburg and the meeting rooms for Hamburg's parliament and senate (the city's executive). The meal was fantastic. This building is by far the most impressive government building I have ever seen (see photos).
The second day was a long, event packed day. In the AM on Monday, March 15th we toured Neuengamme Concentration Camp. Neuengamme was one of the largest concentration camps in Western Germany. It was not used as an extermination camp but inmates were forced to make bricks and armaments for the German army. The SS would use the workers until they became too sick or weak to perform
labor then they would kill them and burn their bodies. The camp’s population wasn’t comprised of Jews,but rather communists, homosexuals, prostitutes, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, prisoners of war, Freemasons and so on. Over 50,000 would die there, fulfilling the promise made by the SS that “the only way out is through the chimney.” The tour lasted several hours and I would still be there today if I had the time. Being a WWII history buff this was an amazing experience for me and I will never forget it.
While in Hamburg we also went to The Beatles museum! The Beatles were huge in Hamburg before they ever hit the US. We had a great time! Sorry I only have a few pics, but you were only allowed to take pics of certain things. They have loads of signed and personally used memorabilia. Check out the website Beatlemaniacs!: http://www.beatlemania-hamburg.com/english/index.html
On Tuesday, March 16th we were on the road to Koln, Germany. The German countryside is absolutely beautiful and made the long commute tolerable. We then stopped in Koln to view the famous Koln Cathedral. Now I am going to be honest in admitting that prior to this stop I had
no real interest in visiting any church. Well, that has all changed. This place was unbelievable! Construction of the cathedral began in 1248 and took, with interruptions, until 1880 to complete. It is 144.5 metres long, 86.5 m wide and its towers are approximately 157 m tall. The cathedral is one of the world's largest churches and the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. For four years, 1880-84, it was the tallest structure in the world (thanks, Wiki). As with the Rathaus, the pictures I have posted can in no way convey the size and beauty. On a particularly interesting note, this church houses the mortal remains of the Three Wise Men.
After touring the cathedral and stopping by a souvenir shop or two we were back on the road. See you all next entry!
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