Sunday, April 3, 2016

Angels, a Demon, and Some Heavenly Sights

Don’t worry, this is not a post about a near-death experience or newfound faith. It’s about my self-indulgent entry into April.

April seems to be the month when Hamburg wakes up. Closed attractions reopen, hours shift with daylight savings, and flowers have suddenly appeared in beds that were empty dirt just days ago. So on Friday I thought I’d take advantage of the (relatively) warm weather for a leisurely day of exploration.

Archangel Michael, the church's namesake.
First stop: St. Michaelis, an "emblem" of the city (it appears in the center of Hamburg's flag). It's one of Hamburg’s “big 5” Lutheran churches and a source of great civic pride. 

Before taking a peek inside the church, 
I went up to the tower to get 
a 132-meter-high view of the city.
I stepped out onto the tower's observation deck
just as the bells were striking 11 am.
A view of downtown, where you can see the towers of the Rathaus and 3 of the other 4 main churches.

I climbed the stairs down from the tower and came inside
just as the 12 pm organ concert was beginning.

Next stop: Kramer-Witwen Wohnung, an enclave of homes from the 1600s, just across the street from St. Michaelis. It's the world's oldest lane of terraced houses, and they were built for for the widows of shopkeepers. The residences were used as retirement homes till the late 1960s!

The Hamburg Museum has decorated one home to show life in the 1800s.

Saw this little guy on a building downtown as I was walking to the train.
Foretelling the evening's entertainment...

Then: A little shopping in search of post-Easter eggs for a friend led me to an overflowing art deco store. No suitable eggs, but plenty of beautiful crystal decorations (including cherubs to fit the day’s theme!) and definite possibilities for the future.

Finally: an evening at Hamburg’s beautiful Laiszhalle, where they held a screening of Nosferatu accompanied by live music (piano, viola, percussion, a soprano soloist, and a 10-person choir). It was an absolutely incredible experience!

When we left the concert we “took advantage” of the long bus wait and walked to the stop further up the road. That led us past the spring Dom (carnival) just as the Friday-night fireworks were beginning.
View of the fireworks over the "Uebel & Gefährlich" bunker.
Talk about timing! I can only hope for more opportune days like these in the future.

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