Friday, July 15, 2016

Bremen, Germany

This is Bremen's market square.  I didn't include the magnificent medieval city hall as it's currently undergoing renovations and covered in scaffolding.  
Bremen, population 548,000, has been under the protection of warrior Roland for a long time. How long? Standing 17 feet tall this statue of Roland dates back to 1404. To the right you can see scaffolding on city hall.
 This fine fellow looks relaxed.
 Park in center of town.
 One of many beautiful buildings in the old town area.
This riverfront complex is home to Brauerei Beck & Co., maker of Beck's beer. Now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, they also brew St. Pauli Girl beer here, the #2 selling German beer in the USA.
Bremen is a major port on the Weser River about 35 miles from the North Sea. This is part of the locks.
 View of river flowing through Bremen.
 Market day in Bremen.
I have a love/hate relationship with market days. On the one hand I can you usually find a regional dish to try but, the downside being the people and tents block out buildings as the market place is usually the most picturesque square in town.
 So, this food stand looks inviting.
Bremer knipp is a local dish. What is knipp?  It's made from mixing grains (oats), pork head, pork belly, pork rind, liver, broth and various spices. I'm game to give it a try, after all I've been visiting quite a few port cities where fish is the local speciality.
It's 10:30 on a chilly overcast morning and this is my plate. Absolutely delicious! It gets the two thumbs-up from this meat and potatoes guy.
Oldenburg, population 159,000, lies 30 miles from Bremen. This is Schloss Oldenburg or Oldenburg palace.
 Built in 1607 and located in the city center, the palace now houses a museum.
Outside of Oldenburg I cycle past this farm where the farmer used bales of hay to build a hot rod. Don't know why or what the number 30 means or what kind of fuel powers the beast.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rostock, Germany

Rostock, a port city of 203,000, lies along the Warnow river--seven miles from the Baltic Sea. Before East Germany and West Germany unified in 1990, Rostock was part of the Soviet Union sphere. This city gate dates back to the 16th century.
 Market day is winding down in one of the main squares.
 Shopping street with another 16th century city gate in the rear.
Here's my buddy again, I seem to see this same guy all over Europe. The menu on the right is in English. Notice pork knuckles on the menu--one of my favorite dishes! Pork knuckle is the leg of a pig between the knee and the foot. The meat is roasted--crispy skin on the outside and tender meat in the middle, served along with potatoes and of course, a beer.
 City hall in all its pink brick Gothic/ Baroque splendor.
 Brick structures like this are standard fare here.
 Parts of medieval fortifications still surround the city center.
Another gorgeous brick building.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lubeck, Germany

I've seen hundreds of medieval city gates during my travels through Europe and Lubeck's Holsten gate ranks near the top on my list of favorites. It dates back to 1464.
 Lubeck's location near the Baltic Sea makes it one of Germany's major ports.
 This was taken from my hotel room which juts out over the water.
 Lubeck's city hall in all its brick glory.
 City hall courtyard.
 Lubeck, population 218,000, has many brick buildings.
 In medieval times Lubeck had four city gates. This is the other remaining gate.
This is a backside view of the gate.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Schwerin Castle & Gustrow Palace, Germany

Schwerin, population 90,000, is surrounded by five lakes. On an island in one of the lakes stands impressive Schwerin Castle.
 Built between 1845 and 1857 the castle is accessed via a bridge.
Extensive renovations have been going on for over 10 years--explaining the monster-size crane to the right.
 The castle is now seat of the regional government.
 Another bridge leads to extensive gardens.
Gustrow, with a population of only 28,000, sure has an impressive post office building (that's the building behind the fountain).
 Gustrow is an out-of-the-way town but, had to come here to see Gustrow Palace.
 The Renaissance-style palace was built in 1589.
 View inside the courtyard.
A moat runs around the palace.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, with 1.7 million inhabitants, is Germany's second largest city. It's 7AM and snapped a photo of Hamburg's city hall (built 1897) before the large square gets busy.
 This beautiful fountain graces the courtyard of city hall.
Hamburg has more bridges (over 2,500) crossing its streams, rivers and canals than London, Venice and Amsterdam COMBINED.
Several hundred years ago those sentenced to death were led across this bridge in Hamburg's old town to be executed---hence the religious figurine on the bridge.

The port of Hamburg lies on the Elbe river, 60 miles from the mouth of the North Sea. After Rotterdam, it's the second busiest seaport in Europe. What you see in this photo is the Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world. Built between 1883 and 1927 it sits on wood pilings. The structures run for about a half mile and encompass 6.8 million square feet. In 2015 it was awarded  the status of Unesco World Heritage Site. As you can see some of the structures have been converted to apartments

Hamburg is a port of call for cruise lines. Shipbuilding is big here including the construction of cruise ships like this one.
Built in 1960, this general cargo ship is now retired and a floating museum. I took the photo because of the ship's name; Cap San Diego.
 This beaut of a brick building (Chilehaus) was built in 1922. Yep, it's supposed to be shaped like an ocean liner.
Side view. The office building was recently designated a Unesco World Heritage structure.
Hamburg's central train station is a very busy place. How busy? Over 480,000 people pass through a day--making it the second busiest in Europe (after the Gare du Nord in Paris).
 I always like to cycle around the best parts of a city as well as the worst. Cycling about four miles from Hamburg's city center (near Eppendorf) I stop and go into a real estate office to learn where the wealthy live.  The man say's "you're in it". Canals are all around and he says the best way to see the area is via a kayak. So, besides Hamburg having more bridges than London, Venice and Amsterdam combined, did you know Hamburg has more canals than Venice and Amsterdam combined?
St. Pauli is a tourist area near the riverfront.  Why? It's where theaters, bars and clubs are everywhere. But, more importantly it's home to Hamburg's world famous red light district. Think of New Orleans with the smell of urine, booze and vomit in the air.  So, it was funny to see McDonald's, that purveyor of fast-food family fare, sharing a building with a sex club.