Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hamburg I

HAMBURG: the city I’ve heard Americans love. This made me wary and nearly avoidant of the city. But with the cheapest direct flights for our respective onward journeys, after the rescheduling of plans due to my job loss, we decided to come here for a couple days.

There’s no way to define the city, except that it is “non-sequitur”- or that was what Joon said. But he is right. The fishmarkt & docks, old town, St. Pauli & the hippies, Reeperbahn’s sex, drugs & rock’n’roll, modern areas intermixed with old, and nothing that flows. Add some tourists (no real English heard despite the aforementioned rumors) and you have a real circus. Plus more homeless people than I’ve seen in all of Germany and folks who generally look like their life is headed in the wrong direction.

We stayed in the Reeperbahn area of Hamburg, where the Beatles went from boyz2men in the 1960s with the help of poverty, music, drugs, and hookers. It seems the street is much the same as back then, complete with broken glass, naked sex shows, shit and vomit smeared on the sidewalk and a general sense of ill ease. With near dry-heaves, we traversed the chaos this morning at half past six to catch the S-bahn to the airport. The party was still going on the street and the subways filled with those just on their way home. I thought, I don’t think I ever wanted or want that life…

It is not without worthy stops. St. Pauli, for instance, invoked a feeling of the Portland Eastside scene (mildly gentrified hippie-ish-ness), where we had the best cappuccino of the whole trip, and I would daresay in Europe altogether. Simple small stores with second hand furniture and tasty soups, walking with beer down the street, in and out of the sunlight. It was a good feeling.

Hamburg is worth a shout if you are in the area (though I don’t think I would go out of your way…) and we only really covered a small section of the town, so don’t take my word for it.

(Note: there are 3 posts of pictures because picasa would only load 20 images at a time.)

(Japanese to German translation)

(right outside our doorstep)

(dinner the last night here was lovely.)
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