I wrote in my last post that I was headed home after Sheffield. But I’d forgotten about our scheduled stay en route in Hamburg – possibly the most beautiful city in Germany. I think that’s a sign the trip had been a bit too hectic: forgetting completely about an upcoming port-of-call is most unlike me.
So here we are – in Hamburg!
The possibilities for the tourist in Hamburg are vast. It was tricky deciding but, after the day’s business, my travel companion and I plumped for an Elbe river and seaport (one of the largest in Europe, and Germany’s main port) boat excursion.
Off we go! And the first thing we see: Tolkien!
But it’s not just grand old sailing ships like those around here. There are also tiny motored ‘Bad Boy’ dinghies too:
First up: the Speicherstadt district:
I cite Wikipedia: “The Speicherstadt (German pronunciation: [ˈʃpaɪ̯çɐˌʃtat], literally: ‘City of Warehouses’, meaning warehouse district) in Hamburg, Germany is the largest warehouse district in the world where the buildings stand on timber-pile foundations, oak logs, in this particular case. It is located in the port of Hamburg—within the HafenCity quarter—and was built from 1883 to 1927.
The district was built as a free zone to transfer goods without paying customs. As of 2009, both the district and the surrounding area are under redevelopment. As the first site in Hamburg, it was awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site on 5 July 2015.”
Some of the bridges are double-decked, since sometimes the high tide comes up higher than the lower decks.
You can see how high the water level gets by the coloring of the walls:
Btw: “The many streams, rivers and canals are crossed by some 2,500 bridges, more than London, Amsterdam and Venice put together. Hamburg has more bridges inside its city limits than any other city in the world.” – Wikipedia
Onward we sail. All very pleasing to look at…
The Elbphilharmonie: an masterful masterpiece of architecture. It wasn’t cheap to build either:
“The project was criticized because of its cost and schedule overruns; construction was originally estimated to cost about 200 million Euros, while the final cost was 870 million Euros. However, upon completion, Der Spiegel in a comparative analysis suggested that the overrun was relatively “modest” compared to some other international mega-projects.” – Wikipedia.
Well, well. Who’d have thought it? Such massive overspends can occur here in Germany as well as other countries :).
Next port of call – er, a the port! Oh my grandiose! These whoppers are even more impressive in the flesh and up close.
To my surprise – there are human beings operating those there colossal cranes! And there was me thinking the odd human simply sat nearby, next to the big red emergency shutdown button, drinking coffee and reading the news and fake news on the net, like in Singapore or Hong Kong. No, clearly the long electronic tentacles of the digital revolution haven’t reached everywhere just yet )…
…While these are completely automated: A database containing details of all the containers, which are automatically unloaded, sorted and dispatched further.
So there you have it folks: Hamburg’s post-industrial vastness on a sunny day. Yes, we were lucky: ain’t no sunshine here every day, that’s for sure.
A scale model of both the old city and new development:
We continue – on foot…
But I’ll tell you about that in the next post…