July 1, 2017
Our second and last day in Hamburg, and to me, today is by far my favorite day in Germany. It was still raining in the morning, but gladly it was Seattle rain instead of what we experienced at Orianburg. The beds in the hostel were comfortable and everyone seemed refreshed after good sleep. Julie and Manuela brought us pastries and after breakfast we headed towards the symphony hall.
Taking escalator up to the Elbphilharmonie Plaza we enjoyed the 360° view of the city and the harbor. The plaza serves as the junction between the old harbor warehouse and the modern glass structure above it. A look from outside was enough to amaze us, and the view looking out from the platform was more eye opening.
The tour afterwards was wonderful. We met our tour guide Fouad at Gaensemarkt where we saw two big murals on the gentrified building. The one on the left with a sphere shape indicates the unity of nature and mankind, and the right one with a big saw represents the gratitude to the labor force. Then we walked in the neighborhoods of Schanzenviertel, Gaengeviertel, Rote Flora. We saw many bright, bold and creative murals and graffiti, such as works from the famous Oz, the resistant from the pirate, the girlfriend series. This side of Hamburg that displays its resistance and activism really impresses us. It would be a great honor for an artist in that people mourn his death by re-painting his work of smiley face with crying eyes. And paying respect to the pirate also indicates this city's rebellion spirit. As I learnt from Dr. Viola's lecture, Germany is a country that remembers. I can feel Hamburg carries along with it the history, the memories, but also a sense of recreation and freedom. The bunker being rebuilt as a creational place was very interesting. When we went to the underground tour back in Berlin, we were told that there are only three places that have the bunker remains: Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna. I was excited to see a bunker of such a great scale. The guide explained that its existence is because that it is so hard to tear down the bunker. It would take too much effort to blow it down, so instead people of Hamburg recreate it to be a bar. It was weird to see a palm tree on top of a bunker, but this is the style of Hamburg, that no division and border exists to separate the city. Like in Berlin, gentrification is common in Hamburg. We passed an alley where on the right side is a clean, modern, tall residential building with big windows, and on the left is a deteriorating, rusty old living area with walls covered with graffiti. It reminds me of the topics of “Borders” in Dr. Markus Heide's lecture. Borders exist not just in terms of nations or regions; sometimes they are just a distinction between two kinds of living patterns, of social classes, of beliefs and religions. We were also inspired by the recycle place in the community garden where things are put aside instead of being thrown away.
Afternoon was free for us to explore so I went to check out the McDonald with bulletproof glass after a nice lunch at a Mexican place recommended by Fouad. Clayton and Justin went back to the currywurst restaurant we discovered yesterday because that place has the “world’s best French fires”.
People came back gradually to the hostel to grab their bags and we headed for dinner at five. The place, Frau Möller, was close to the hostel and it was about fifteen minutes’ walk. Dinner was fantastic and many of us had the Schnitzel, which I believed was fried pork, and others had salad or sandwich, or a bread-pizza as Zosia and Katie had. The best part was the last round of dessert, and both the apple pie and homemade Tiramisu were super good.
Everyone was satisfied with the dinner and we walked leisurely towards the central station. The sun was coming out as I reexamined the beautiful and peaceful architecture of the station.
Back to Berlin it was ten at night, and everything had a surprising feeling of familiarity as we went back to the hostel. Good night, Berlin.
Lunch at Hamburg
Work of Oz
In memorial of the death of Oz
The girlfriend series
Schnitzel for Dinner
Central Station of Hamburg