I’ve got to say I am having a hard time really enjoying a German city. Berlin was so plain and steeped in Hitlery stuff that it was hard to focus on anything but. Hamburg is filled with ugly prostitutes, bums, and filthy youth that would make the Sex Pistols seem wholesome by comparison. To make matters worse they have a thing called Hamburg Harley Days once a year which turns the place into one big grimy biker fest. You can see the police presence is increased, and they are none too pleased with it I can tell you. I go to Stockholm, Sweden and I get a Royal Wedding. I come to Hamburg, and I get an armada of Harley Riders. Oh, the humanity!
I spoke with a pretty female policewoman about the thing, and we both had a good laugh about the South Park episode where Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are successful at having the definition of the f-word changed to this:
Fag (făg) n.
1. An extremely annoying, inconsiderate person most commonly associated with Harley riders.
2. A loud and obnoxious person who owns or frequently rides a Harley.
The cacophony is unbelievable, and it is most upsetting seeing all of these people misrepresenting the color black which is what I mostly wear on my travels.
Sunset from my hostel window.
Walking to the Reeperbahn to see the Beatles – Platz. I’m walking because, like Berlin, the metro is almost impossible to figure out, what with the confusing routes and microscopic fonts on the maps.
Reeperbahn – Red Light District – Beatles Early Performance Venue
A surprisingly upscale sex shop.
Not a bad bar band.
I thought the metro had closed, but I saw the one I needed and it was open so I jumped at the chance since it was a long walk home. Indeed it was running, and I got my train home. Unfortunately, I had yet to find the elusive Beatles – Platz. Tomorrow’s another day, and I figured I’d get a good start with the walking tour in the morning.
Wrong!!! I got this gap-toothed, Ukrainian, nebbisher nerd with a lisp swanning about unintelligibly whilst continuously bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet. I felt like the animal who gets his leg caught in a trap, and resorts to chewing off his own foot to get away. The bad jokes and self-indulgent commentary were excruciating.
City Hall – This is the first building that I heard very little to report on.
Chilehaus – It is an exceptional example of the 1920s Brick Expressionism style of architecture. That bit I got from the internet. Very cool building.
This is the Tesch & Stabenow building that specialized in the production of chemicals for use as pesticides between 1924-1945. It also happens to be the company that was involved in the manufacture of Zyklon B that was used to murder people in the death camps as part of Hitler’s Final Solution. Bruno Tesch was said to have recommended the chemical to Hitler. He was executed in 1946 as was the director Karl Weinbacher.
The building is being used today as a chocolate factory. I thought to myself that is certainly a way to candy coat the matter, but then the tour guide tried to add more saccharine by launching into an apologetic tirade for having presented such challenging material for his delicate tour. That was it for me. He had supplied me with the necessary means for disengagement at the next corner. I wasn’t the only one it seemed. By the time I left he had lost 30% of his group to attrition.
Plaque Acknowledging The Buildings Infamous Past
Beatles-Platz: After shaking that annoying tour guide, and taking an extensive nap, I managed to figure out the metro and find the Beatles-Platz in the Reeperbahn.
The Beatles – John, George, Ringo, and Paul
Wouldn’t you know it, right after I took this shot, I turned around and saw that annoying tour guide from earlier in the day showing a group this sculpture. I quickly took refuge down an alley.
Stu Sutcliffe – The Lost Beatle – He played bass for them in the early days, but left to pursue an art career. His girlfriend and photographer, Astrid Kirchherr, is said to have created their famous Beatle haircut. Stu died in 1962 of a brain aneurysm.
A Real Stereotype – Hello Sailor
The Magic Moment – I doubt there are many magic moments that are squeezed out of this place on any given night.
Tourist checking out the local wares.
Hamburg Harley Days – Mass quantities of two-wheeled vehicles commandeered by middle-aged wannabe rebels making copious quantities of noise throughout the city of Hamburg.
Nazi Style Helmet in questionable taste with others streaking past in the background making excessive sounds. Actually, I laughed out loud for about five minutes at the absurdity of it all. Then it was just annoying. These grown men are riding these 25k death traps, dressing like ex-cons, looking for attention, and risking ending up like Gary Busey. It’s just sad.
Harleyphenalia Galore – How is it that you are a rebel by subscribing to a corporate logo, wearing clothing and paraphernalia that has its roots in mass production and licensed merchandise. Harley Davidson’s rebel days are a long ways in the rear view mirror.
Typical Harley Aficionados – Come on Grandpa have a little dignity, go fishing or something. The grandkids must recoil in horror at these geriatric reprobates.
Encampments of grungy youth found throughout the city bumming for change, and essentially making a nuisance of themselves. The dogs smell better even when wet. So that’s it for me and Hamburg. I didn’t feel like going to their parks or museums or spending a lot of money in their restaurants. I just wandered around and ate mostly cheap kebaps or currywurst.
After getting a computer virus last night on a Mac no less, I had pretty much had my fill of Germany. I spent my last day at the Apple store getting rid of the digital clap I picked up in Hamburg. It’s a good thing I have no affinity for prostitutes or I might have picked up something much more difficult to resolve. They were much prettier in Berlin.
The Apple store actually had a beautiful view of the Alster Lakes from its second floor all glass vista, and it was insulated from the relentless Harley Gatling gun, exhaust pipe barrage. I sat there, took in the beautiful lake view, and chuckled to myself as I reviewed the last few days, and got caught up with the blog. It was my happiest time in Germany thus far other than my brief encounters with the strudel in Berlin of course. Hopefully, Munich will prove to be more pleasant. At any rate, I seemed to have turned the corner, and as the Beatles would say taken a sad song and made it better. Albeit with my acerbic wit.
I mean really what do I have to complain about? I get up when I want, go where I please, eat what I like, and hang out with people from all over the world.