Aix'd from Provence to a Nice beach, by a not so Arles-y trains.
|Aix at Night|
|Nice from Above|
|View of/from Baux|
|Aix at Night|
|Nice from Above|
|View of/from Baux|
|Entrance door, as seen from first floor landing.|
|Huiskamer on the 1st floor. Centre window is actually a door!|
|Keuken, on the 1st floor also.|
|Stairs, as seen from the second floor landing.|
|Hallway to bathroom, laundry and another bedroom.|
|2nd floor badkamer.|
|Balcony of our slapkamer!|
Hamburg was quick. We were only there for two nights, which really translates into one full day. And that full day happened to be a Sunday - not the most notorious of days for travel/sightseeing. However, we tried to use the best of our day, and started out from the hotel at around 0930h. Thehotel was situated in a more residential area, but right near a LIDL food shop and a 15 seat bakery and cafe. That morning, we opted for the 4€ hotel breakfast - bad call in retrospect. Anyway, after eating and organizing ourself, off we trotted.
We decided to walk into the main centre of town from the Hotel, without really knowing where we were going. We followed a road in the westerly direction, and walked through a series of residential, commercial, construction, and industrial sections. Went by a skate park and saw a "cool" dad go in with two boy-children (his sons probably). Passed by an office building that was somehow associated with Hamburg Water Power - it had 3 large water mains under a glass walkway. We kept on, still not knowing where we really were, and ended up arriving right at a hot air balloon ride. It wasn't really a hot air balloon, and it wasn't really a ride. It was more rigid than a helium balloon, and was connected to the ground by a giant hydraulic winch. It *could* carry 30 people, but we got lucky with only 2 others and a conductor. We got to see an air view of Hamburg, and it's quite neat from above. There are older church's and public building's roofs of copper; interestingly shaped buildings that conform to preexisting structures, canals and street curves; the harbour area and the lake that Hamburg conforms around. The we came down.
We left the suspended stage, and wandered through the surrounds streets, looking for coffee. We spend a lot of out time looking for coffee. For some reason, I'm compelled to walk past the first 7 places we see. Anyway, we discovered the main shopping strip and wandered up an down that for a bit. We finally translated a sign that was in every window to mean the street would Open on this Very Special Sunday for a Variety of Tax Free Shopping from 1300h to 1600h. But at the moment it was deserted. Before the mania started, we headed towards the lake. Itwas quite nice. It's a small lake (larger than Central Park Reservoir (Onassis?), with sailing, rowing a fountain and at least 4 kinds of aquatic bird (duck, goose, swan, and some little sharp beaked black diving guy) and a fountain. There are canal boats that are moored where one can get a cup of tea for 4.50€ (Ha! no!). The view of Hamburg is quite nice from the lakeside. One sees the old 5 storey residential buildings, with a mix of new glass and steel and construction cranes. We passed by one business, advertised as a "Maitre Chauffeurier". There was a SMART car parked outside.
At the end of the lake was another shopping strip - this time boutique - that followed a canal. It intersected the Rathaus square - the Town Hall of Hamburg. Hamburg's seemingly official name sounds like a duke's title. We went into the Rathaus, and saw an editorial exhibition of "offensive" cartoons (most pertained to the peeve talks between Israel and Palestine). The building's architecture is quite ornate. There are gilded doors, wrought iron decorative doors, lions (always need a good lion and a fountain in the Rathaus courtyard of some lady with a bunch of anthropomorphized ideas. My favourite decorative touch was a fearsome foursome of fantastic beasts - unicorn, sphinx, capricorn and griffon.
After the Rathaus, we wandered some more and ended back up on the shopping strip. Instead of being two of ten, we were in a herd. Basically, it was a regional tourism free-for-all. The LEGO store was open, and had to be visited. I saw the Architecture series, completed and in person, for the first time. Disappointed. We sussed out snowboard packages for Matt (reasonable cost), looked at some electronics (image the biggest Future Shop, and then multiply it by five) and sat in front of the Steiff Teddybär gallery (whoah). We left the crazy shopping area, and decided we would start walking home. There was this small area of the city that was on 5 canal islands. Walking through, we saw a pre-production Mercedes station wagon, and commercial complexes that had canal access and in beautiful restored buildings. Matt compared it to Gotham City. I say it probably has less crime and less Batman. Out of the islands, we headed closer to the river side to walk along the industrial harbour. Then Matt saw the Prototyp Museum. Of Cars. Of German Racing History and Cars. Not one to pass up an opportunity of education, I allowed him to run gleefully in. We even paid to take pictures! It actually was very interesting. Matt was taking a bunch of pictures of the cars, so I took pictures of him.
It was three floors of F1, production cars, art and history. Dorked out, we then grabbed a late lunch/early dinner of unmemorable panini and headed home on the underground.
Then we did the usual. Paid for wifi, checked our email. And then we figured out the scam.
It's been a hectic few days, our time in Copenhagen was really too short, it's definitely on our short list of places to return. The bicycles, buildings, people, food, shopping and the museums, need much more time than 4 days to really appreciate.
Upon arrival in Copenhagen I did some quick research (i.e. typed, "what to do when bored in Copenhagen" in google) and the result of that research was a short list of 3 must experience things while here. #1 was The Little Mermaid statue that resides in the harbour by the citadel to the north of downtown. #2 was a hippy commune called Freetown and #3 was visit the Carlsberg brewery. Fearing that I'd be branded even more of a drunk by my family members (thanks Haiden) I decided to skip the brewery and opted to wander aimlessly.
On our second day (first morning) we were out for a walk looking for coffee and some baked goods when we stumbled upon a very interesting church with a spiralled steeple. You can go inside and tour and climb the steeple, but it's expensive, so we opted to take a few pictures and move on. Turning the corner from here we passed a highschool when some graffiti caught my eye. We turned down to take a look and found ourself staring at no camera signs and some very bohemian looking types. Not wanting to cause any fuss, we stuffed the cameras in our sacks and wondered through there midst. Now from what my research taught me, was that Freetown is essentially a hippie commune, it's run by a committee, has it's own economy of trade and goods (some of this includes the sale of soft narcotics) and is a squatter's paradise. The land occupied was once an abandoned military base that has since been "renovated": old buildings have been modernized, new buildings have been built. Some are lovingly built and maintained and others resemble the Weasley's home in Harry Potter (Liz: There is NOTHING wrong with the Weasley homestead!) To get your mind in the right area, think of Kensington market in Toronto; now take that atmosphere of the colour and people and the madness of it all and move it out to Toronto Island to all those small funky homes. That sort of is what Freetown was like.
After Freetown, we walked down past the harbour and back into the core of downtown. There is a shopping mall like the Eaton Centre, but outdoors. We wondered for a while and stumbled on the Round Tower. I'm not sure of the exact date it was built, but I recall the 17th century. The building is composed of a church and a hollow tower. You are able to climb the tower, but there are no stairs, just a ramp that spirals up and up and up. We had the pleasure of sitting and listing to what sounded like an avalanche falling, but turned out to be a gaggle of young school children having a great time running in circles...Liz and I tried that too. Once at the top of the tower you can climb out onto a platform and gaze at the city around you. Beautiful, the first thing that strikes you from up in the air is that the city doesn't have many high rises, nothing is much taller than 5 stories, so you can see all the way to the horizon on all sides. The only thing that interrupts the view is the occasional church steeple. The building also contains an observatory that is open to the public every night at this time of year, and a library that is now a gallery.
We finished off the day with a sit in a cafe and some people watching in the square by the amusement park that sits dead centre of the city. Tivoli Gardens it's called, and unfortunately it is closed until mid November as they are preparing for the Christmas season.
Day 3 brought a another lovely walk, we ended up at the citadel with plans to see the Little Mermaid statue. upon arrival we found a note stating that the statue had been loaned to the worlds fair in Shanghai and wouldn't be back until month's end. We did see the rock it sits on and took pictures of that.
After the statue we wandered around a bit more, and came upon the King's Palace where the crown jewels are kept. It was under construction so we walked on past and walked through the gardens for a bit. Even in fall (autumn) you can tell the care that goes into the garden, everything is cropped and trimmed perfectly square, even the tops of the trees. Definitely a place to see in late spring or early summer.
We finished of the day with a stop in one of the local museums, and we were given quite the treat, I have never seen so many statues, art, and historical artifacts in my life, the building was immense, after 3 hours we gave up. Too much to see, it was already close to 6 and my head hurt from trying to take it all in.
Needlessly to say, this was just one of the many museums in Copenhagen and another one of the reasons why we will definitely have to come back.
I suppose that brings us to today, we packed up, grabbed coffee and baked goods at the bakery next door to the hostel and headed for the train station, another amazing building, apparently the 3rd one that was built. It was built from what I recall in the early 1900's and upon entering it you are struck with the open airiness of a steel beam structure...you'd be wrong, it's all wood, every last bit of it, wood. Amazing, it deserves a post of its own.
We boarded a train headed for Hamburg at 11 am and the journey began. This is how traveling should be. 2 hours into the trip and we arrived at the edge of the land, the train slowed, and boarded a ferry for Germany. Onboard the ferry was a bar, laundromat, cafe as well as a dutyfree shop. We took a quick look through and Liz had to shoo me out of the candy section. 3kg box of Quality St candy for $15 CAD. I had to settle with a 1/2kg box of winegums...my stomach hurts now.
That brings us to know, we found our hotel, settled in and are just turning in for the night. Off to see the sights of Hamburg tomorrow.