For the heck of it I’m giving this post a try on my WordPress app for my Lumia (so WP for WP) because after great initial promise I just cannot get the hang of the keyboard on my iPad mini. For iPHONE apps it’s brilliant because it gives you this exploded view of an iPhone screen and the keys are massive. Anybody with an iPad knows what I mean. For iPAD apps you get this comparatively tiny keyboard that’s really shaped for a full sized iPad and not the mini. Anyway relatively speaking even though the Lumia keyboard is smaller it’s also easier to type on and so here we are.
Where we are is also the free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg of course. My trip is now more than 2/3 over and it’s been outstanding. I say this in spite of the weather, which has been rainy the last three days–with hard, pelting rain for a good twelve hours straight starting late yesterday afternoon–and cold, and before that almost uncomfortably hot in Berlin. Right now though I can see blue sky as the day ends (8:36p on Wednesday, May 26 right this second) and it’s blustery and cold and I’m under a comforter having just turned the rads on and I’m very happy. In fact I absolutely love everything about right now.
Anyway some highlights since I returned from København: one would absolutely be my visits to two astonishingly interesting museums, the Ballin Stadt Emigration Museum and the Museum für Hamburgerische Geschichte, aka Hamburg History Museum or as it’s branded, Hamburg Museum. The first is a sort of a flip side of Ellis Island as Hamburg was the port of departure for millions of European immigrants including my mother’s ancestors (and mine from her side; my dad’s came through Naples) and the exhibits did an admirable job of describing their plights, with many sample biographies and such. It also, I was delighted to see, did not only focus on America as the immigrants’ destination but also had plenty of info on Canada and Latin America. Great, amazingly evocative space built exactly where these hopeful, desperate people were. I loved it.
The Hamburg Museum was today’s destination which I settled on in an ad hoc decision to do something not requiring me to get horribly wet. I hadn’t planned this as I had Ballin Stadt and didn’t even know this museum existed. But I wondered about it since Köln has such a great one and goodness knows that Hamburg has its history. And I found it, right in lovely Planten un Blomen Park which I knew from my 2010 visit. I was really mostly–okay, only–interested in the prewar/war/postwar years but there was plenty more that was really engaging. Even the exhibit about fashion through the centuries was fascinating. But the Nazi and war bits… Completely mesmerizing. I spent almost three hours at this relatively small museum and could have spent more if I hadn’t become really hungry as I was subsiding on a cup of coffee and a soft pretzel until almost 4 in the afternoon. Gotta remember to fuel up for these museums. Anyway, the experience was certainly depressing in a lot of ways; you can’t see a picture of a 12-year-old girl who was hanged by the SS without feeling sick. But it was also honest and comprehensive and despite the horrors in and out of Hamburg it managed to make me like the city even more.
Back on the iPad. Much easier to type in landscape mode and on a desk.
I’ve otherwise been walking a huge amount here. My weekly step totals have been staggering: around 140,000. I was anticipating and hoping this and it’s great to see how much healthier I can actually be on vacation. I’ve eaten lots and eaten well, perhaps moreso in Berlin than here in Hamburg, but this idea that one HAS to gain weight on vacation absolutely doesn’t hold water. Anyway, one area I’ve spent a lot of time traipsing around is the Altona and Ottensee area. It has its own very nice Fußgängerzone and I find it more pleasant than downtown Hamburg proper. I was also at the Hafensgeburtstag on the 12th and took some pics and posted some videos to YouTube. I’ll post my whole gallery to Google+ or maybe Flickr since I do have an unexploited account there and they’ve improved their site and storage options recently. Look for those after I’m home on June 1 if you aren’t a Facebook friend who’s already seen some of them. Even if you are…more to come.
Okay, Berlin: I’d been to Berlin three times, in 1981, and for something like nine days in each of October 2007 and February 2009 for a conference. I like the city, I might even love it, but with Brian there (I arrived on Monday the 13th and he flew in two days later) it just let me see the city in a new light and experience it on a new level. The weather was fantastic if too hot (workers in the courtyard right outside our windows forced us to not only be awake at 7 am whether we liked it or not but also to have to keep the windows closed in a vain attempt to reduce that noise) but few besides me would think to complain especially after what was, I’ve heard, a rough winter in parts of Germany. We walked all over the place in addition to getting to know the M4 Straßenbahn really well (I’d never ridden one ever before). Alexanderplatz became like a second home because we’d always have to get there to transfer to the S Bahn lines. We got to see the usual tourist places like the Brandenburger Tor and Holocaust Memorial but also cafes and side streets and wine bars in Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg and one highlight near Museum Insel was none of the usual suspects but rather the AMAZING Ramones Museum, maybe 1000 square feet of wonders, to the north of there near the old Synagogue. Brian took incredibly well to the whole time there, and if anything loved it more than I did. Having a new city for us to share and spending our first time together in Europe was really magical. We’ll both cherish those four days.