I’m not sure if hamburgers were invented in Hamburg, but I decided that my only hamburger on this trip would be in Hamburg.  The photo of the Hamburger hamburger is above. Don’t worry Betsy, I didn’t eat all the fries. It actually didn’t taste very good. American hamburgers are a zillion times better. The food here in Germany has otherwise been most extraordinarily good, and yet never so tempting as to over-eat. My main diet has been a piece of bread or pastry in the morning with coffee, and then either a Wurst mit Brötchen or a Döner in the afternoon. That’s it! The Döner in Düsseldorf is absolutely awesome. I have no idea why some Turk doesn’t take the idea to the US and open a Döner restaurant. He’d make a killing. I’ve also had sauerkraut here in Düsseldorf that was unbelievably good. It makes Steinfeld’s sauerkraut at home taste like Hundefutter (dog food). In Stuttgart, I don’t remember the names of the things I ate, but they also were remarkable. No wonder our grandparents were such good cooks. It has been said that the best cooks in the world come from France and China. I don’t believe that for a second. While I love Chinese food, Thai and Korean food, as well as Indian food, competes quite amply. It was the Italians that taught the French how to cook. The best bakery goods in the world are not found in France but in Austria and Germany. I’d take a meal in Deutschland any day over the best French restaurant. This is not meant as an offense to my French friends, as they have much to be commended for. Jamaican food also is in a class by itself, and nobody could compete with Jerk as one of the best foods of all time. But, back to Germany.

Classes have continued. I find it easier to speak and read. I’m continually hindered mostly by remembering the genders of things. It is very frustrating. Why should a wall be feminine and window neuter? Why is auto neuter but a wagen (car) masculine? It makes no sense to me and frustrates my learning. I find that only after unbelievable repetition, one finally gets it. It’s probably why I will never be perfectly fluent unless I live in a German-speaking country for a while, but then, I don’t think that Betsy would tolerate that, and she’s the most important thing to me, than just learning another language. Oh well.

I’m getting around town a bit more and finding my way downtown without problems. I’ve found some good bookstores, and even the bookstore where Heinrich Heine was born in the Altstadt, so I had to buy a book of Heinrich Heine poems in that store.

For my studies, I must say with Heinrich (Henry!)
Anfangs wollt ich fast verzagen,
Und ich glaubt ich trüg es nie,
Und ich hab es doch getragen,-
Aber fragt mich nur nicht, wie?
A rough translation (I hope is correct!) … At first, I thought that I would despair, and believed I could not bear it. Yet, I did it, but don’t ask me how!
And a poem for Betsy’s and my Wander-year…
Wo wird einst des Wandermüden
Letzte Ruhestätte sein?
Unter Palmen in dem Süden?
Under Linden an dem Rhein?
Werd ich wo in einer Wüste
Eingescharrt von fremder Hand?
Oder ruh ich an der Küste
Eines Meeres in dem Sand.
Immerhin mich wird umgeben
Gotteshimmel, dort wie hier,
Und als Totenlampen schweben
Nachts die Sterne über mir.
Just like Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Poe fails when translated into German, Heine or Goethe fails when translated into English. My apologies to my English-speaking friends. Try learning some Deutsch! Eat your heart out, Doug Bond! Shakespeare sucks!
As mentioned before, the most expensive shopping mile in Germany is in Düsseldorf, on the Kö, or, Königsberger Allee. I take walks at least several times a week to the Altstadt, and so have to cross the Kö.

There’s also a large open-air market nearby in the Altstadt…

There is this strange fixation in Germany on Amerikan politics, and many bakeries now offer Obama bagels and Hillary donuts…

Both are fitting. The Obama bagel has a large hole in the center, and the donut has a central hole, plus sugar and spice but nothing nice. I don’t think that they intended those interpretations, but they are most fitting.
Hamburg. Hamburg was a beautiful city, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  The Elbe river runs through the city, which you could see from the Jugend Herberge (Youth Hostel) where we stayed.

The Elbe is a bit larger than the Willamette where it runs through Portland, Oregon, but not as large as the Columbia in that same area. You don’t see bridges going across the Elbe, I presume in part because Hamburg has huge shipping traffic and a very large bridge would be required. A century ago, the first tunnel was dug under the Elbe, and we were able to walk it…

We went to the Speicherstadt, which was a part of town where duty-free goods were unloaded in the past, resulting in Hamburg becoming the 2nd largest container port in Europe. It looks like Amsterdam. It’s funny what the absence of taxation does to the overall economy.

We visited the St. Michaelis Kirche, and were able to go up to the top to see the city from an excellent view…

We visited the Rathaus, which does NOT mean “house of rats” but rather, is the City Hall. It was stupendous, with a large fountain in the center court…

By evening, we made it past the Music Hall, which had a Memorial (not seen) commemorating Johann Brahms, who came from Hamburg.

The next day, we went to the FischMarkt, took photos of Hamburg, and took a boat ride up and down the Elbe, looking at the massive harbor cranes and ships in the harbor…

They also do ship-building and repairs in Hamburg, and the last photo shows a massive ice-breaker in dry-dock for repair. Finally, one of the students, a Russian-born kid, now living in New Zealand, speaking both Russian and English perfectly, insisted on going to KFC for lunch. As per my comments above about Hamburger hamburgers, KFC in Germany is not as good as at home.

The last photo shows the group with Marcel and Hannes, who were our German Zivis. They were wonderful. We also visited a Modern Photography Museum, and all agreed that it was awful (sorry Diane, but modern art is just plain sick-it’s not that modern art doesn’t say anything, but that what is says is offensive).
So, now I’m back in Düsseldorf, and I’m wrapping up the last week at the Goethe Institute. My next post should be coming from Herbert’s Haus. Until then, hang in there.