Who will take me away from this wretched place?
20.05.2015 - 20.05.2015 18 °C
"We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!"
"Led Zeppelin - The Immigrants Song"
Well maybe they didn't come from the land of ice and snow, but there were a hell of a lot of Germans who drove their ships out of Hamburg Harbour seeking new lands, if not Valhalla.
And so it was today. All of Lee-ann's German relatives left their homeland through this harbour, some singing, some crying. Starting with George Forster in 1855, then Juliane Buchback in 1863 and finally Heinrich Hopp in 1870. Germany was not a unified country at that time and serfdom was still all the rage (making a comeback lately). Constant wars between principalities meant that life was cheap and likely to end too soon. At that time the Queensland Government was actively recruiting these young Germans as citizens for a fledging state. It worked, look around at the names in Queensland and there is German names aplenty.
Well originally I was going to write that Hamburg was and still is a place to get out off. It is a working port town with little to offer in the way of a tourism experience.
The purpose of this visit was see the port that all of Lee-ann’s relatives left Germany for Queensland. I think it is the 3rd or 4th biggest port in the world and it certainly looks and feels it. Import and export and everything that goes with that is all here for display.
After the obligatory photo of Lee-ann down at the (modern) port, we went out separate ways. Lee-ann did the bus tour and I headed off to the emigration museum. I was hoping for a bit more information on what drove all her relatives out of Germany back in 1850-1870, but it would have been one of the worst museums that I have ever experienced. Needless to say I didn’t get much out of the experience.
Afterwards I went down to the Reeperbarn, the famous red light district of Hamburg, It is also the place where the Beatles played prior to becoming famous. As a port town such places are big and gordy and never a pleasant experience. And so it proved to be. Lots of down and out people all spending their time drinking their way to sleep. I was here too early to get the full experience, but I could safely say that the ladies would be very special.
Headed back to the hotel especially early and had a little lay down. It is a classic “central” hotel opposite the main train station. Cheap, cheerless and you can’t swing a cat in the room. I expect it to be a night of cheap sex through thin walls and many banging doors throughout the night.
Still Hamburg did surprise. Because it doesn’t get dark to 21:30 we decided to go for a walk prior to dinner. Found a nearby lake with lots of boats, runners and people out strolling, which was very nice. The President of Estonia was also nearby and it was a big operation just to get him to where he was going. Princess Mary (our Mary) was also in town yesterday, so we missed out on saying “G’day”. So after a suitable pre-diner exercise we found a little Italian dinner in a quiet square next to a small church to have our dinner. €25 ($40) for 2 people with a huge glass of wine each. All very civilised.