Hi boys and girls!
Herewith, my next dispatch from Hamburg – and another delightful tourist attraction.
If you’ve never been to this northern part of Germany, or never really planned on doing so, well, I’ll bet many of you, after reading this post, will want to get here asap and spend a whole day, as we did, at Miniatur Wunderland.
1500 square meters of model railway + towns and cities and homes and folks and domestic scenes (including intimate ones) and just about everything else, across different countries of different climates, and so on and so forth…
The attention to detail is just mind-blowing.
So, if you’re ever in Hamburg on a walkabout, make sure to drop by this attraction. You won’t be disappointed. Yeah, right! You can’t just walk into this place. You need to buy tickets well in advance as it’s so popular.
Btw, there’s a scale-model installation in St. Petersburg. I was there two years ago. It, too, is similarly sensational, but this one here in Hamburg is around twice the size. Both have the railroads as the central theme, with the tracks running through/past all the worldly goings-on around them. But the German one has penguins too. More on those later…
Even in the steps between floors here – railroads and trains! Gotta love this place. Clearly a work of the heart – to go to all the trouble to make it so brilliant on so many levels (and between them:).
Achtung! True to German efficiency, this map shows us the precise route we need to take so we see literally everything!
First up: the USA:
The train’s coming, tourists roam the hills, and some poor fellas have jumped from a plane with parachutes on their backs:
Clearly mining for something rare and expensive:
What goes on in…
…Vegas – stays in Vegas! Well I stayed in Vegas, and a lot went on: mostly giving speeches at conferences and strolling the strip – honest!
Let me guess…
All palm trees and yachts… probably
Woah: Area 51! Most of it – like the original, is underground. I wonder how accurate it is? After all it’s top secret what goes on in there…
Btw: Like the lesser version in St. Pete, some of the installations have buttons that can be pressed to call up exuberant activity on the scale models. But pressing the button for Area 51 – nothing happened. I guess that’s classified too ).
Night falls, turning the whole scale model installation into a nocturnal scene, lit up in fantastic colors. Day ☀ night ☾:
Every street, building, the windows of every home, even the windows of the long-distance trains – all have the lights on! Amazing!
Meanwhile, we move on to Scandinavia…
Wait! Go back to that last pic. What do we see? Well, I see a silly tourist (no local would be so silly, would they?) who thinks it’d be cool to be pulled along on a snowboard behind a motor vehicle. Such an endeavor normally ends in minor bodily injuries – sometimes worse – as YouTube confirms.
Oh my Greenland – are those penguins being pulled along by the silly snowboarder? Oh those Germans. All is well with humor in the country, after all :).
And talking of humor… – why does a dinosaur appear at night on the highway? )
Yes – that is a snowman behind the wheel of that car. Yes, that is a husky being pulled on a sledge by a penguin, and, yes, that is a kangaroo – and all in just one scene :).
And there you have snowy Scandinavia folks!
Here there’s a marked change in climate: to one side – Kai and Gerda; to the other – Abba and Ikea.
And no one suffered in the making of this masterpiece!
Respect to the creators! [Quick look-up]: Respect to the Braun brothers.
Wow – they even include working canal locks. What isn’t included?!
I mentioned exuberant activity if buttons are pressed… Here, this ocean liner sets sail across the seas, then comes back and docks!
On the seabed, natürlich – cows!
Next up (following the signs): Hamburg itself. All the things we’d seen earlier that day in the flesh – here in the miniature. The canals, bridges, port, Elbphilharmonie… Only the water wasn’t a good mini-recreation of the original. Unlike earlier depictions, this wasn’t water, just a plastic (or some such) depiction thereof.
There’s also the central train station, with crowded platforms and trains toing and froing, braking and parking and turning on their lights at night:
And we continue slowly toward central Germany, following the trusty signs…
Oktoberfest? But I don’t see much beer…
And what have we here? Think we can’t see you?!
…We can see you, but I’m not sure about that combine harvester!
Once again night falls:
… and out come… the flying saucers!
I guess a lot of the installations are well-known to locals. I know none of them; no less fabulous for it ).
Dinosaur fossil excavations!
Glamor girl and… monks!
A dammed ravine > submerged Austrian village, with its church’s spire peeping out of the water.
This airport scale model isn’t static – its planes take off and land, taxi, get refueled, and have buses approach them for ferrying passengers to the terminal! An amazing sight to behold.
There’s even an arrivals/departures board. And the planes follow it to the letter!
Lufthansa LH4438 to Madrid? And there it is, readying for takeoff!
Hmmm. The Millennium Falcon flies to the Death Star a bit later on!…
// Btw: mistake alert! A Condor Airlines flight to Saint Lucia? But they don’t fly there, as I found out on my recent trip there!
Meanwhile: a spot of technical trouble: a parked plane’s chassis has set on fire! Sirens, but no panic.
The fire service to the rescue:
Next up, at first, a mystery:
What’s this, the set of a Bond movie? ‘World Domination’? What the…..?
‘Philadelphia Project’? That dude in the space suit appears and disappears in there. Teleportation?
Ahhh, Stanley Kubrick and all that?
All a bit mysterious and conspirational.
But we continue south – toward Italy…
Extensive installations here. Well deserved: thousands of years of history mixed up with modernity need lots of attention.
And of course – no static models here. Movement everywhere:
If it ain’t moving, it’s sunbathing…
…Or in traffic jams (very true to life in Italy):
…Or collecting… escaped cheese:
Wait. Is that an…?
Night falls, and Vesuvius (I reckon) erupts (Etna looks a bit different). Oh my – that lava is moving!
By day the volcano show goes to sleep:
And life continues:
We head to the exit. Oh my goodness: we’ve been here four hours. It flew past! Near the exit: unexpectedly: post-war Berlin (1945- 1989):
Just look at all these spectators. Every one of tens of thousands: unique!
You can even have a copy of you/a loved one made as one of the faces in the crowd (for a small fee) – and it stays there forever!…
There’s miniature life even in… the bathrooms!
Even our very own Midori Kuma makes an appearance!
And that, folks, was that. What an experience! Not to be forgotten. And as if you need telling: highly recommended!
But we’re headed out onto the sunny streets of Hamburg…
Salkirk’s rifle. Who? you may ask. Alexander Salkirk’s – right here in Hamburg. But isn’t that a Scottish surname? It is. Anyway, Alexander Salkirk, it turns out, was a sort of Robinson Crusoe prototype. He survived living alone on uninhabited islands in the South Pacific not far from Chile in the early 18th century – for more than four years! When he finally returned to civilization he’d tell tales of his extraordinary experiences. Once he did so in a pub in Scotland, where, as luck would have it, a certain Daniel Defoe was listening intently! And the rest, as they say, is history. That’s the legend, anyway.
Next up for us, also unexpectedly, a map shop. Dr. Gotze Land-und-Karte sells nothing but maps! Ahh – perfect. Love maps…
…Of all sizes:
Ok, it was time to put the caliber of this shop to the test…
I asked for a map of Kimberley, Australia. Having been there three years ago, in May 2015, I wanted a map of the place, but neither in Kimberley’s capital, Broome, nor in Sydney, could I find such a thing! Here, on the other hand, 15,000 kilometers away in Hamburg…
And that folks, finally – really – is it. My globetrotting, at least for the time being, was over. To recap:
I flew out of Moscow on April 20 and returned May 7 = 18 days. So much was packed into those 18 days that I’ve only just now – mid-June already – finished my traveblogue notes thereon. It really begs an infographic, but I won’t indulge any more ) (I’ll just mention: 17 flights in planes, 8 flights in helicopters, 3 speedboat trips…).
Now for a bit of down time in Moscow. But not for long…