In late August I took the train from my parents' home to Hansestadt Hamburg, the second biggest city of Germany and home to the second biggest port in Europe (after Rotterdam).
Given Hamburg's identity as a port city I find entirely fitting to begin my post with a picture from the harbour. Identically coloured boats, some of them working as chartered boats, lie side by side.
A small part of Hamburg's gigantic waterfront here with a train from the city's metro system taking the scenic route with a view to the harbour.
A ship in dock at on of Hamburg Harbour's many quays.
Decorative maritime details.
Hamburg has many canals and lakes as well, giving the whole city - not just the harbour area - a nice fresh feel.
Today Hamburg's harbour is a hyper modern affair dominated by huge cranes and containers. But not so long, back in the days when it was a tax-exempt free port, all the activity was housed here in huge red warehouse with canals in between the buildings in the area known as Speicherstadt. This particular one was dried up, but back in the day the many small wooden prams would be collecting the crates and sacks (it was before the days of containers) of exotic goods from the large ships anchored further out and taking them via the canals to the warehouses. You can still see the many pulley systems used to hoist up the goods to the right floor.
Some pulleys are still in use. Here, the gentlemen of an oriental carpet store hoist down some goods to street level.
As the sun was temporarily hidden behind rainy clouds I took the opportunity to visit the small but nice Speicherstadtmuseum. The exhibits are nice enough, but for me the attraction was more to see the inside of an old warehouse. Even though it has been renovated, it still gives a good impression of what it looked like back then. The wooden floors and supporting beams are still there, adding greatly to the atmosphere.
My favourite item of the exhibit. An old tin case, which based on decorations must be from my adopted homeland, India. I don't know what it contained, but it could be coffee or spices, two popular items from India. It was funny to stand there and think how exotic that can must have been to those people of Hamburg who would purchase it, while I was on vacation from India and finding Hamburg a bit exotic. Strange, how perspectives can change.
Moving back in time I here show Deichstrasse, which is host to some of the oldest buildings of Hamburg which also face a canal and formed part of the harbour. As I understand most of them are reconstructions, but the originals were built in the 17th and 18th century. The great fire of 1842 which destroyed a big part of the city started here.
In my next post I will leave behind the harbour areas and explore the rest of the city.