Hail, Hamburg

Chiquito, me, Ninja and Liebling on the observation deck of Elphi

We’re not the kind of sightseers that go to a new place with a guidebook and make sure to tick off the most popular sights. We are, however, perfectly willing to wander around a new city when the opportunity presents itself.

Monday Liebling had an interview to conduct at the school where she teaches on the outskirts of Hamburg, about an hour’s drive from their home in Kiel. Planning an excursion around that errand, we put together a wandering route that would allow us to see some interesting places,┬ábut when we arrived downtown, we found that the weather had changed plans. Instead of the forecasted “cold and bright, with a breeze,” it was very cold, with wind and intermittent spitting rain.

We had planned to spend a lot of time in a city park, but instead headed over to see the new concert hall called the Elbphilharmonie (nicknamed Elphi). It opened in January of this year, so curiosity about it is high, and tickets to go up to the observation deck are required. The observation deck isn’t at the top–a picture explains why not.

Chiquito tells me that the structure was built on top of an old warehouse (the warehouses in the district have protected status, but I guess nobody thought to forbid building on top of them).

Here’s a view from directly below so you can see the curving edges of the windows.

Another view (thanks to Wikipedia) taken on a sunnier day:

On the observation deck there were some curvy glass walls:

This sort of thing invites unusual behavior:

 

From there we headed to a much more traditional building, the Rathaus.* We took some pictures from the back where it shares a courtyard with the Polizei:

 

The figures around the fountain included a faun with a big conch shell and this young two-toned lad with a toy boat:

 

The Rathaus had some interesting details inside, including a very shiny banister, which we didn’t slide down. There were a lot of police in evidence.

 

In addition to the Rathaus and the Elphi, we found an art gallery displaying some extremely unusual eggs. Germans hang eggs from trees to celebrate Easter, but even when decorated, they’re generally not anything like these:

 

 

We tend to be climbers (not social climbers, but stuff climbers), even on sculptures.

 

It was not the sort of day to sit around outside at a cafe table, even when the cafe provided lap blankets (they’re not kidding themselves about their typical weather).

 

Even so, we bought some pastries and found a spot to sit and munch out in front of the Rathaus, whose front view is imposing:

 

I hope we’ll have a warmer, sunnier chance to spend time in Hamburg at some point in the future. Even without a checklist, I’m certain that there’s a great deal more we’ll want to see.

 

 

*Rathaus means city hall, literally council house. The council that meets there is the state council, the Stadtrat.

[Images: El Guapo and yours truly, except for the Wikipedia images, the bright Elphi by Avda, and the aerial Rathaus by Ajepbah]

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