Hello! Finally getting around to finish off the blog posts from our spring Europe trip. We have been back in Canada since the end of June and we are enjoying our new life in Chilliwack. We will make a separate post on life at home, after being nomads for eight months.
Germany June 20 – 23
Well, in hindsight, it was probably not the best of plans to travel from Poland to Germany, especially since we just went to Auschwitz, but that’s how it worked. But the feeling was short lived, and Germany was enjoyable. (We felt the same way when we went from Albania to Serbia).
I became curious as to how the younger people of Germany first learned and about WWII and the Holocaust and found some interesting articles. Because the older German generations simply didn’t talk about those times, children and grandchildren learned primarily outside the home. Whether it was school, books or documentaries, they probably learned no differently than we did. Of course, they had to deal with additional shock and horror that what happened, was in their country, and by their people. Another shock for these children would have come when they realized their own families were possibly involved or supported the atrocities.
It seems that over time, the young German’s have begun to accept the horrific past as a way to ensure it will never be forgotten, forcing them to come to terms with their own history. I also read that patriotism is still pretty much frowned upon in Germany and their flag is rarely flown, with the exception of sporting events. Although that seems sad, it is understandable and may take several generations for that to change.
We flew into Amsterdam from Krakow, then hopped a few trains until we could overnight in Germany somewhere with easy access into Hamburg, which was turned out to be Osnabrück. It’s a small city with a population of 168,000. Osnabrück’s Old Town was also destroyed in World War II but was reconstructed to the original medieval architecture.
We didn’t have much time here, but explored in the morning and did enjoy their (New) Old Town.
We had a couple of nights in Hamburg and enjoyed Germany’s second largest city. Hamburg has a population of 1.8 million with the metro region adding another five million. We loved the neighbourhood we stayed in; it was filled with cafes and restaurants and busy, bubbling streets.
The Beatles practically grew up in Hamburg in the early ‘60’s. They lived and played here for more than 2 years, where the locals nurtured them. We mapped out some of their venues to visit, but took some wrong turns and had to bail as we were on foot. A major metal music scene developed in the 80’s and several of Hamburg’s local bands did well; even establishing the sub genre of ‘power metal’. But Hamberg’s musical heritage started centuries ago with the likes of Brahms and Mendelssohn being born here.
The term ‘hamburger’ is said to have developed from Hamburg’s ‘Frikadeller’; a patty mixture of ground beef, served with potatoes and veggies but sans the bun.
We enjoyed some classic German dishes at a little restaurant not far from our hotel. We were seated by the door and were pleasantly surprised when a large group arriving, all said hello to us as they filed by. Pretty sure that’s not going to happen again! Joe had a local fish dish and I had a great schnitzel. Delicious!
We visited The Gothic Revival Church of St. Nicholas and took an elevator to a 75 metre high platform, inside the tower for a panoramic view of Hamburg.
The tower is all that is left of the Church as it was bombed in World War II but restored. There was a ‘Bell Concert’ there that sounded beautiful!
Hamburg has some interesting new architecture including ‘The Elbphilharmonie’. People were lining up to pay to walk around the perimeter of this interesting structure.
The surrounding buildings were also incredible.
Our stay in Germany was too short but we were glad we got to experience and explore some of this country. Next up – Denmark!