Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hamburg

I have to admit: when I first got to Hamburg, I was scared. I was travelling alone for the first time on this trip, and I had nobody to rely on -- or talk to -- but myself. I spent the first afternoon and evening ambling around, finding an internet cafe and buying a city guide out of which I lived for the next 2 days.

The first morning, I was at a loss. I headed for the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum for Arts and Crafts) because I had seen it on my way out of the main train station the previous night, and it looked big, and I didn't know where else to go. Over a cup of coffee and some delicious apple strudel, I planned out my next two days. I enjoyed the museum for a few more hours, especially an exhibit on photo portraits called Divas, before I headed on to the Deutsches Zollmuseum (German Customs Museum), which had an exhibit on smuggling attempts throughout the ages. Then, I headed over to the city park, found a combination Döner *and* pommes cone (eureka!) and munched happily until around 5:45, when I made my way to the Landungsbrücke -- the main port area of Hamburg. From there, a large yellow ferry with a lion's face on it took me across the ocean to ... Der König der Löwen (The Lion King)! It was the Broadway-style musical, but with lyrics and dialogue all in German. I understood about 30% of it, but it was such a spectacle I didn't care.

The next morning, I tried to take a tour around the Gruner + Jahr publishing house, but wasn't allowed in. So I took pictures of the supposedly ground-breaking architecture for a while before heading on, past St. Michaeliskirche, back to the Landungsbrücke, walking along it to take in the ships and the scenery. I moved along to the Reeperbahn (Hamburg's infamous red light district and home of various clubs in which the Beatles played early on). Nearby was the Museum für Hamburgischer Geschichte (Museum for Hamburg History), which had an exhibit on Biedermeyer clothing that was especially fun. That's the great part about being an actor -- you get to transport yourself to those times, and wear those clothes for a while, and no one thinks you're crazy!

I wandered around the town for a while after, visiting the Chilehaus, apparently an icon of 20s German architecture, and the Hamburgischer Staatsoper, which was locked but which screamed out early 60s architecture. And I ended with a night on the town, seeing Neil LaBute's Fat Pig. This show, however, was translated into german -- as Fettes Schwein. I understood even less this time -- about 15%.

My favorite part about Hamburg had to be all the well-fitted and good-looking suits that both men and women commonly wore. It made for a very attractive city!

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