not a Berliner

There in the distance? That's the JFK bridge in Hamburg.
There in the distance? That’s the JFK Bridge in Hamburg.

Lately, there’s been plenty for me write about, and I just haven’t been doing it. The last several posts were photos that I certainly liked, but there wasn’t much text. The whole point of this blog is to show off my writing, so these filler posts without much content go against what I originally set out to do. There might be times when a curious photo and a few lines of texts is all I’ve got time or energy for, but I’d prefer that to be the exception rather than the rule.

My favourite week in Munich tends to be when we have our Filmfest, which starts this weekend, so I already had something up my sleeve in which I’d planned to ramp up this blog again. Then I was out and about with Ella and Louis, the sister and brother Hungarian Vizslas that have featured prominently in this blog, and found myself walking across the John F. Kennedy Bridge.

Why not at least  a mention of what happened today, 26 June, exactly 50 years ago? If you’re like I am, you check out ‘this day in history’-type entries in the paper or online, so you already know that this is the day in 1963 that Kennedy gave his famous ‘Ich bin ein Berliner‘ speech in front of the Rathaus Schöneberg in West Berlin

Whatever you think of his politics, and I’m most certainly not going to get into that here, it was the height of the Cold War, and a significant gesture of solidarity to the citizens living in the divided once and future capital of Postwar Germany.

The Berlin Wall went up, and the Americans response was to send planes in filled with supplies, so that the city could continue to survive while surrounded by  Soviet-supported East Germany. Not an easy time here in my adopted home country, and at that moment in history it was incredibly unclear what was going to happen next.

The gratitude that West Germany felt for Kennedy’s show of support – both symbolic, as well as practical – was what led to major German cities naming things like bridges after him. The one here in Munich is the northern part of the Middle Ring Road that goes over the River Isar. It’s not particularly beautiful, and I doubt many locals under a certain age even realise that the bridge even has a name. 

The Kennedy Bridge in Hamburg (pictured above) is what divides the Binnenalster and Außenalster, which are the beautiful lakes right in the heart of the Hansestadt that is Hamburg. Whether you’re on the S-Bahn or ICE Train between the Main Train Station and the Dammtor, in which case you’re riding along the JFK Bridge, or walking along the Alster, there’s a memorial to Kennedy staring back at you. 

Fifty years. Not such a terribly long time, I suppose. Wonder if they’d still name any of this stuff after him today. 

Left Hamburg nearly two weeks ago, but I cannot stop daydreaming about it

starting out at the Eppendorfer Baum

The first few days in Hamburg were so rainy that when the sun finally came out I purposely went on a walk through one of the nicest parts of the city. Purportedly, there are more bridges in the Hanseatic city on the Elbe than there are in Venice, but I still don’t know if that’s true. I did read it on the internet, so I suppose it must be undeniable.

The Hochbahn glides above on a gorgeous autumn day

I wrote about this somewhere else recently, and maybe here as well, but Hamburg has an element of its public transport system that reminds me a bit of Chicago, which is one of my favourite American cities. Similar to that, Hamburg’s is an above ground train (Bahn) that sometimes goes underground. Other German cities have a U-Bahn or underground train (Untergrund Bahn) system, but this one is above the street, so it’s called a Hochbahn. ‘Hoch‘ is German for high or above.

Beautiful old Realschule

Especially in such glowing sunlight, I love buildings like this. I could try explaining the German education system and the difference between a Gymnasium (college preparatory ) and a Realschule (intermediate school), but just the thought makes my brain hurt. I do like the thought that the latter is a ‘real’ school. I spent enough time in Montessori and Steiner type schools that I know what an unreal school looks like. I prefer those to the real ones.

hair stylin’ at the Friseur

This poster made me smile, and I like the way you can see the building in the reflection of the mirror. Cool, eh?

masonry under the balcony

Look, I know there’s beautiful masonry and there’s not so beautiful masonry. According to a historian, these are probably of no consequence, but I simply love the lion and the faces of the men. Maybe it’s that the style of facial hair is similar to a blogger we all know.

your not always so humble blogger and the nearly always humble musician Jarrod

So, there you have it. My fascination with the era of the Fin de siècle (turn of the 19th to 20th century) is based on art and music and architecture, but I have to admit that beard styles are not a small part of all of that.

the leaves changing colours as we speak

I could’ve easily just included only shots of bridges and water. The light on the water is something that I’d likely never tire of were I to live in Hamburg.

under the Hochbahn

Reminds me of my trips to Chicago when I was studying music in Cincinnati. The above-ground trains in both places were probably built in the same era…can’t be too dissimilar. A better blogger would go do a bit of research. I’ve got better things to do.

church on the way

This is Sankt Johannis. Beautiful, isn’t it? I really like the architecture in northern Germany. More on that in a future blogpost.

a lamp in Pöseldorf next to the Alster

So, that’s it. There’s your latest tour of Hamburg with the inexhaustible Lahikmajoe. More soon. Might even start in on London. One can dream, eh?

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.

up in the Hochbahn in Hamburg

Sternschanze U-Bahn and S-Bahn station in Hamburg

This is a blogpost I’ve been waiting to do until I had enough photos to make it make a bit of sense. Not that this blog always makes much sense. What’d be the point of that?

No point, I tell you.

In the S-Bahn in Hamburg.

Just like other major German cities, Hamburg has both an U-Bahn and S-Bahn system. Most of the time, the U-Bahn system is underground, but like Boston’s T or Chicago’s Elevated, Hamburg has what’s called a ‘Hochbahn‘. All over the city in the U-Bahn stations, there are auld photos of the 100-year old Hochbahn. I’ll include those in a future post.

Here’s my favourite train station in Hamburg:

Hamburg’s Dammtor in the late afternoon.

This art deco train station is on the S-Bahn line, which as Wikipedia describes, is a, ‘…city centre and suburban metro like railway system in AustriaGermanySwitzerland and Denmark.’

Retro photo of a Hamburg shopping scene.

This photo has nothing to do with the Hochbahn, but I liked it and I decided it was going in this blogpost. It’s my blog. If you don’t like it, get your own damned blog.






early morning on the Reeperbahn

Early morning at the Michel on the way to Fischmarkt.

We’re going to the Fischmarkt in Hamburg, baby. What’s that? Well, it’s actually a blogpost for another day. This is the Reeperbahn on the way to the Fischmarkt.

A Bavarian-style ad on the Reeperbahn.

This is completely out of place in Hamburg. Bavaria might be in Germany, but it and Hamburg are polar opposites in so many ways. I’ll write more about this at some point. It’s really remarkable how different the cool, detached Northeners are in contrast to the very boisterous, hearty Southerners. I could have a whole blog about those differences. Not just a blogpost. A whole blog.

Looks a bit like Vegas, doesn’t it?

This is the world-famous Reeperbahn, which is the high street that goes through the St Pauli neighbourhood on Hamburg. It’s where the sailors came for their leave and where both German and international tourists come for probably Europe’s second most famous red-light district. Yes, there are whores. Of course there are. St Pauli wouldn’t be the same without them. Get over it. It’s only your puritanical leanings that mayke you think prostitution shouldn’t be legal. Well, that and that they’re notoriously poorly treated the world over. There is that, I suppose.

This guy only looks like he’s having a good time.

Rarely, do I trust one of these characters. Clowns are ok, but jongleurs? Nothing good ever comes from a jongleur. Nothing.

A moment in the mountains.

This one’s really personal. I’m not sure if any of my readers can tell you what this is, but if you know, leave it in the comments. The winner gets a prize. Really. Who says Lahikmajoe never gave you anything?

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.