June 7, 2019 Hamburg GE

When we moved from Schwerin to Lubeck we crossed from the former DDR (East Germany) to the GDR (West Germany).  We knew because the pedestrian lights changed.

The wait and go lights in West Germany, much like the rest of the world.
Ampelmanchen from East Germany.
The portly man lights used in the old East Germany. I can relate.

The wait and go lights in East Germany are referred to as Ampelmanchen, and are one of the few things that have been retained.  Much cuter than in W. Germany, Ton loves the hat and the portlier body.

Hamburg is the second biggest city in Germany with a population of nearly 1.8 million.  It is a bigger city than we normally take François into so we were a little nervous.  The drive in turned out to be pretty easy with only one detour caused by construction.  I had accidentally loaded in the coordinates for a different RV parking than we planned, but by the time we figured it out we were settled in.

We only budgeted one day for Hamburg so we decided to take a “Free Tour” of the city center to try to take in as much as we could in a short time.  The tour as always was informative and gave us a quick view of the city and it’s history.  

The Speicherstadt is multiple blocks of warehouses with canals built in the late 1800’s when this area was duty free.  They lost their duty free status in the 1990’s and have now been converted to hip studios, restaurants, and galleries.

At the end of the tour we were by the new Elbphilharmonie Hall.  This concert hall was recently completed in 2017 for over €800 million, and besides the concert hall there are apartments and a hotel in the building.  

The exterior of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburgs newest landmark.

The concert hall reportedly has the best acoustics in the world, and is designed so that no one watching a concert is more than 100 feet from the stage.  Today they were celebrating their 10 millionth visitor to the Hall so they had free concerts and apple strudels.  

The interior has the stage in the middle.  They were setting up for a symphony concert.

The interior is beautiful, the exterior attempts to be modern and striking and we think misses on the striking part.  The observation deck has a panoramic view of the very busy Hamburg harbor.

The view of the harbor from the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg is still a very busy port.

Our last stop was a brewery in St. Pauli which is the former (current?) red light district for Hamburg.  It turns out the brewery was across the street from the RV parking I had meant to use, so it was a missed opportunity to save on some walking.  We stood out from the crowd, not because we were American, but because we were not young, hip, and tattooed.  The beer was good, and the people watching fun so we indulged in two rounds instead of our normal one.

The exterior of the very hip brewery in the St. Pauli district.

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