Drawing in Hamburg

Two figures step out of the fog in the port of Hamburg. It is a grey afternoon in the German port and the couple seems to be in a mission: Dangerous, yet exciting, like a John LeCarr’s novel: The couple advance fascinated with the lights crossing the city on their way to the reputable neighborhood in St Pauli.  Tourists, stag parties, drag queens and casual pedestrians cloak around them, and they begin their adventures in one of the most vibrant cities of Europe.  But fear not…. This post today is not necessarily a spy tale, neither it is a traditional recount of our journeys, but an illustrated diary of walking and some traveler recommendations. Let’s start with the skyline… a composition of ancient buildings and modern infrastructure shared the horizon of the River Elba, one of the busiest harbors of Europe, a gate to the North Sea, the Baltic and ultimately the big Atlantic.  On one side, the old city, the tower of St Michael Church, the Rathuis and the Opera House. On the side of the river, the maritime logistics appear like a modern ballet, the long legs of cranes dancing gracefully with the long limbs of wind farms cohabiting with stretches of winter land, naked trees and patchy woods adorning the old commercial towers, welcoming, classifying and delivering goods and manufactures from all over the globe.

Beatriz Acevedo Art, all rights reserved. Sketchbook Hamburg

 

Hamburg is indeed a city for boys and their toys.  We came following the allure of the Miniatur Wunderland, theworld’s largest model railway exhibition. Luckily we booked scheduled tickets in advance, because after 10:30 it can be very busy. It is well worth it! The detail and the scale of many cities and their trains across the world is just amazing. For children from 3 to 90, it is an absolute treat. We also adventured in the Fishmarket auction, an early start on the sunday sunrise… the Repperbahn area is vacuuming from the excesses of the night before, the sexual workers finishing their turns, bottles and garbage being dutifully gathered by the efficient collectors, the drunken groups of people rushing the old kebab… and when you think you are completely crazy, then you get into this beautiful brick building, where it is warm and nice, and you get a yummy fish sandwich and a cup of coffee and then all make sense. The chubby fishmongers singing their trade, the sea bounty: octopus, and rays, and mackerels, and oysters, herrings and cod, tuna and breams… while outside the most amazing sunrise rewards you in pink and golden clouds.  There you can take the ferries criss-crossing the river, and admire at your own pace the spectacle of seagulls fighting for their right to auction, the beautiful architecture, the city that connects Europe with the world.  And when you thought it cannot get better, an old Russian submarine the U-434 is open to the public in its original glory. Without so much precautions, you can wander around the amazing structure of  90 meters long, where a crew of almost 84 people could be under the sea in military missions or simple espionage.

Apart of the toys for boys, there is a huge variety of nice restaurants and city walks. We adventured in the Fun Fair in St Paulii and tried to understand the city from the high tower of St Michael’s Church, a beautiful protestant building, so exquisitely decorated. The myth of a spartan Protestantism is challenged by the elegant aesthetic of Germans and Scandinavian churches… in England we have empty buildings, robbed of their luxury and splendor by the machinations of the horny King Henry VIII…. but that’s another matter.

Beatriz Acevedo Art, all rights reserved. Sketchbook Hamburg

Let’s eat and be merry:  We found a nice restaurant next to St Michael Church called Fishmarket, an absolute delight (an exquisite sashimi of cod, tuna and salmon; a grilled tuna with rice and tomatos, and even the fish and chips was glorious… all nicely accompanied by white wine… yum).  We also stumbled across (two friends…) Dos Amigos, a Mexican restaurant in the Grossneumarket, a trendy square in the city, while we waited for the Cotton Jazz Club to open their doors at 8:30. The band Hot Shots really hit the nail with their traditional take on classical jazz and big band orchestras, while we sipped on gigantic mojitos. Finally, we ate several times at the Cafe May, around the corner of our hotel in St Pauli, a nice and friendly place of economic prices, big portions and exquisite bakery.

Beatriz Acevedo Art, all rights reserved. Sketchbook Hamburg

In the meanwhile, I draw and draw and draw… i touch the city with my lines, scratches and dots; I understand, caress and record our walks through the city, I recall memories through the lines and in all, I had a great time of discovery, join walking and lots of love.

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