seeking refuge wherever they’ll have me

A table for sacrificial offerings at Durham Catherdral

Here’s Durham Catherdral, which is one of the most beautiful examples of Norman (Romanesque) architecture in the world.

Pay attention to the directions and what not…

1093? Really? Goodness me, that’s old.

Knocking at the door for sanctuary…not easy being a fugitive

Durham Cathedral was famous across England for being an official place of sanctuary for fugitives, such as myself. What a relief to know I could show up, knock on the door with this gargantuan knocker, and be granted 37 days in order to decide whether I wanted to stand trial or get the hell out of Dodge.

If you decided not to stand trial, you had to leave the country immediately from the nearest port, in this case normally Newcastle.

Familar name, eh? Yes, that Washington…his family was from this region.

The Washington family came from near Durham. I like the way this plaque is worded.

‘…whose family has won an everlasting name in lands to him unknown.’

You know who they’re talking about, right? One of the American presidents (the first one) had the same name, which is convenient because it happened to be his family. This is where George Washington comes from.

The cloisters…

Took so many photos of this, and I’m not really happy with any shot I got. This is the least bad one of many quite dreadful ones. You’re welcome.

Looking through the break in the wall at one of the wings of the Cathedral.

If this reminds you at all of Notre Dame in Paris, it’s the same style of architecture. It’s quite an engineeering marvel, but let me let Wikipedia explain that part:

The building is notable for the ribbed vault of the nave roof, with pointed transverse arches supported on relatively slender composite piers alternated with massive drum columns, and flying buttresses or lateral abutments concealed within the triforiumover the aisles. These features appear to be precursors of the Gothic architecture of Northern France a few decades later, doubtless due to the Norman stonemasons responsible, although the building is considered Romanesque overall. The skilled use of the pointed arch and ribbed vault made it possible to cover far more elaborate and complicated ground plans than before. Buttressing made it possible to build taller buildings and open up the intervening wall spaces to create larger windows.

I’m fascinated with how light streams into a room. Perhaps I’m a bit feline in this way, but even as a young child I could sit for long stretches of time watching sunbeams. I’m reminded of Sunday mornings before everyone was herded into the car to go to church, when sometimes I was ready early and could just sit and daydream. Many people light a candle when they meditate. Although I’m not against that, a beam of sunlight does the trick for the likes of me.

lonely window in the tower

This is the sort of photo that I’m sure would be dramatically better had I a better camera and had spent some time actually learning how to use it.

Atop the Cathedral tower…

Here’s what it looks like from up there…or did the other day when I was there.

Looking down from the tower…

Lots of construction…good on them for biting the bullet in times of financial insecurity.

The River Wear gave me so many photo opportunities. I liked the way the water and the church looked together.

It’s taken me a few days to publish this post. Not because I did a tonne of research or anything. It’s just that each new day, Fafa (my mother) and I get back on the trail and see new things.

What do you have to look forward to in the coming days? Well, the neighbourhood we stayed in in Durham is called ‘Pity Me‘, which sounded curious to me. I did a bit of proper research, and I’m rather certain you’ll enjoy what I found.

Then we went to Lindisfarne, which quite honestly is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. There’s something to look forward to, isn’t it? I’ll get to that soon enough. This is enough for one day, don’t you think?

Because they won’t allow photos of the interior, this is all I can show you of the church.

Saint George and the dragon

This guy’s *all business*, you know?

Most of you know the story, but for those of you who don’t I’ll run through it briefly. St George and the Dragon. The English know it. Anyone who grew up in the Anglican Communion knows this one.

St George slays the Dragon. Exciting, eh?

You probably know a dragon or two from that trifling trilogy by Peter Jackson. Hopefully, you’ve also read the books. Tolkien was a brilliant writer. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Well, you know I don’t talk much about religion here, and I’m not about to start. I’m not opposed to religion, and as a matter of fact I truly believe we’d be better off if people stopped talking about what they believed and actually started believing those things they profess.

However, like I say, I’ve no truck with religion. Not my bag, as the kids today are saying.

But I do like some St George, me. Many people who’ve been to Hamburg know the Alster and the harbour, but drive right past the neighbourhood of Sankt Georg without ever realising what they’re missing.

Homosexualists don’t. They know a good part of town the way my boydog Louis knows where to scratch. It’s innate. This ability to find/create the coolest part of town. Those homosexualists should go into business. Open their own shops and whatnot.

Oh, they already have? Really? Where?

In Sankt Georg? Well, let’s go there.

Hansa Platz in St Georg…here’s the beginning of our little tour.

This blogpost isn’t going to be a very thorough tour. That’s not my point. Not at all.

Let’s go to church, ok?


Domkirche St Marien

I’ve never been a Catholic, but I’ve known one or two. This seems like a nice enough church. If you’re moving to Hamburg and happen to be of that flock, take a gander at St Marien. It’s in a great neighbourhood, after all.

Need you shoes quickly repaired? Or your shirts laundered?

Really enjoy the architecture in St Georg. Really.

The door between Vasco de Gama and St Georg Bar is kinda sweet, innit?

This is one of the oldest buildings in St Georg, which means it’s one of the oldest in Hamburg. Don’t remember where I read that, but it was years ago in some guide book. You want facts? Go get a guide book, why don’tchya?


Café Uhrlaub…for breakfast…

Great place for breakfast. Clocks everywhere. The name of the place is Café Uhrlaub, which is a play on the two German words ‘Uhr‘ (clock) and ‘Urlaub‘ (holiday/vacation). Clever, eh? I thought so.

Tell me, do you want to come to Hamburg after my recent posts about my favourite German city? If so, my work here is done. See you back home in Munich.

Oh, one last thing. When I was a child, there was a preacher pontificating on a Sunday. You know the scene, right? He was preaching about St George slaying the dragon. It was a weird situation, because the congregation had given him his marching orders. Said to him, ‘We don’t care where you preach, but it’s no longer going to be here.

He was clearly hurt and a tad bit offended. He preached fire and brimstone for what seemed like an eternity, and then he ended with the most curious sentence that still haunts me in my dreams sometimes.

He said, ‘Sometimes the dragon wins.’

Sometimes indeed.

arriving in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

Upon arrival…the Hauptbahnhof in Hamburg

So, Munich is so last week. Now we’re in Hamburg. I’ve brought you all with me. Aren’t you glad to be coming along?

The central station from outside

Here’s a photo of one of my favourite buildings in the city…really. I have so many good memories of arriving here. Want to know more about the building? Here’s the wikipedia page:

Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof

What’s the baby holding? A fish? A loaf of bread?

Now we’ve left the station, but we’re still nearby. I’m fascinated with masonry of any kind, so you’re going to get a lot of photos of the sides of buildings. If you’re not into that sort of thing, come back next week. More importantly, who’s not into that sort of thing? What’s wrong with you?

What’s this lady doing lounging around in public in her birthday suit?

I wish this weren’t a Starbucks now…sigh…

We’ll be discussing this church in a coming post…anyone know what it’s called?

Very beautiful churches here, even if they are sometimes a bit austere. More photos of churches are also in your near future.

Which Evangelist has the lion as his symbol?

More masonry…you sick of this yet? Hope not.

What’s this little guy doing?

This is a ‘lounge’ with several of these little infants on the wall. What’s the meta message here? I don’t like the looks of this Sodom and Gomorrah stuff.

We’re not ALL peace-loving hippies in Europe. Here’s where you can get your ammunition and arms-related accessories in the Hamburg

It’s been rainy most of the time since I arrived. Aside from a few fleeting moments of sunlight, one might think it only rains here. Not complaining…I love walking in the rain.

The Alster on a rainy morning…you can see the radio tower in the background.

Ok…how was that for a first chapter of the trip to Hamburg? On the itinerary for today? Fischmarkt, that church I showed you above, and some serious culinary adventuring. Who’s coming with?

Come on, don’t be shy.






from above the Oktoberfest

Bavaria and her lion

Isn’t she gaww-juss? My girl Bavaria. I like ’em big, you know. And her lion? I could let her stick around for the lion alone.

My band and I went to the Oktoberfest yesterday morning, but my hounds Ella and Louis insisted on accompanying us, so we knew we wouldn’t be actually going down to the Wies’n. Instead, our plan was to stay up above on the hill with the Bavaria statue whose photo you see above.

So, how does the world’s biggest folk festival look from up there? Let me show you.

Frauenkirche and Löwenbräu

That’s Munich’s Frauenkirche with her two Turms (towers) on the left, and then the Löwenbräu Festzelt on the right.

A huge Maß of Paulaner in the distance

A lot of Munich’s architecture is inspired by the Greeks. Take for example these columns on the hill above the Wies’n. I’ll talk more about that in a later post, but I just liked this photo because it’s got the two images juxtaposed.

all the owners of the tents listed in one place

These guys make a killing every year. The turnover in each tent would astound you. It’s a massive economic surge to the city of Munich. The locals complain about how the Volksfest seems more for tourists every year, but they cannot deny the financial benefit to not just the people who make beer, but to the entire local tourism industry and limitless other local businesses.

St Paul’s from the European Patent Office

If you read/look at more of my Oktoberfest posts, you’ll see that I’m obsessed with this church. I could take photos of it every single day. More soon…