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Saturday, 21 May 2016

A Day Out in Hamburg

Today was our only full day in Hamburg.  We met Christine and Renate and bussed it into the city.  After a quick coffee, when it became evident that my having weak coffee in Germany was going to be a problem, as it usually is, we had a guided tour of the Rathaus in which the guide told us that the Lord Mayor in 1965 embarrassed the State of Hamburg because everyone found out he had a girlfriend as well as a wife, and all this happened while he was meeting Queen Elizabeth.  The guide also told us the Parliament and Government of Hamburg meet in the Rathaus which doesn't happen in other German states.  During the Second World War, a bomb landed outside the Rathaus, but it failed to detonate.

After touring the Rathaus, we walked the short distance to the Katharinenkirche.
My cousins, Renate and Christine, and us having a quick break.
This is the Katharinenkirche, near the banks of the Elbe, and near the Rathaus.
About eight generations ago in my family, there was an ancestor called Joachim Johann Daniel Zimmerman.  He was a long-serving Lutheran priest here in the Katharinenkirche.
Zimmerman may have addressed his congregations from this spot on the right.
The last time we visited Hamburg, in 2012, the church was closed for refurbishment, so it was great to come here for the first time.  The church was destroyed in 1943, rebuilt in 1951-56, and is today lacking in the religious appointments you would expect to see in typical churches.
We took a short boat ride down the Elbe, visited the only spice museum in the world and later took coffee on an anchored boat cafe.  Hamburg was and is a major trading centre and ship port, and spices were imported from all over the world, especially from Asia.  The only spice coming from Australia was ginger.  The spice museum is housed in the Speicherstadt, a large warehouse complex that is, in fact, the largest on earth.  In the past, spices were stored here, but they are today stored in the modern part of the harbour.  Nowadays, the Speicherstadt stores mainly carpets.
This former car park in Niendorf is now a small refugee camp for perhaps 150 refugees.  Germany absorbed nearly a million refugees in the recent Syria crisis, which is now dividing public opinion in Germany.  A major problem is where to accommodate the refugees, and court cases have arisen regarding the use of facilities for refugees in certain places.

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