Hamburg, Germany – Events in summer 2004

The canals weaving in, out and around Hamburg remind travelers of Venice, but Hamburg is an experience unto itself. The reserved dignity of the citizens, their sophisticated style and tastes, their love for their city and their fierce independence set them apart from others and are what make Hamburg, Hamburg. Proud of their maritime legacy, Hamburgers also honor their port’s international importance as the center of European emigration to the New World, and the city’s atmosphere and ambiance is imbued with a definite maritime flavor.    

The roots of this northern Hanseatic city and federal state extend back to the 12th century when Count Adolf III of Schauenburg conceived of Hamburg as a place for barge masters, merchants, small traders and fisherman. Hamburg grew quickly as a port city. It’s only 60 miles from the North Sea via the Elbe River, and today, Hamburg’s harbor is the second largest in Europe after Rotterdam. 

After the great fire in 1842, Alexis de Châteauneuf and Gottfried Semper designed the classical Town Hall square and the Venetian-style Alster Arcade on the Inner Alster Lake – and these have become the focal point of Hamburg’s city life. Hamburg is a city of restaurants, museums, Broadway musicals, design hotels and shopping. It’s a media metropolis where companies and top lifestyle and fashion publications, including Gruner & Jahr, Spiegel, Jahreszeiten, Heinrich Bauer and Milchstrassen and various radio stations, have their headquarters.  And, back in the early 1960’s, it’s where four young English musicians got their start in show business, and called themselves “The Beatles.”

Paddle, sail, row or canoe the two Alster lakes in summer, and skate them in the winter. Explore the romantic canals on a 1920’s canal boat. Roam the Harbor that covers 12% of the city and where over 14,000 sea-going ships call every year. See the Oevelgonne Museumshafen Museum with its wide range of vintage ships, including the Rickmer Rickmers, a restored windjammer, and the Cap San Diego, an old freighter restored as a museum ship. Visit the Fish Market in Altona, is renowned more for the funny wisecracks of the sellers, such as Banana Harry and Eel Dieter, than for its fish. Dance the night away at Jungle Nights at the Hagenbeck Zoo. Stylish bars and restaurants are open all night – and St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn are where the fun starts—but never stops.

Hamburg is home to over 70 museums including the Kunsthalle with seven centuries of art to the world’s largest art nouveau collection housed at the Museum for Art and Industry. Shopping arcades abound, including the Hanse Viertel passage, and the Gaensemarkt passage. While the weekend flea markets and the weekly open-air markets, such as the Isemarkt under the elevated rail tracks of the Hochbahn, are relished by those with more eclectic tastes.  

Cutting-edge and trendy design hotels serve those with healthy appetites for style. The 25Hours Hotel is the answer to the lifestyles of creative, metropolitan nomads while the Gastwerk Hotel is an industrial classic built in a former municipal power company  building. The five-star SIDE Hotel is a 12-story tower of glass and natural stone with minimalist design.

 

HAMBURG: 2004 Annual Events

Hamburg’s 815th Harbor Anniversary, May 7-9, 2004. Hamburg’s most celebrated events got their start in 1189 when Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa granted Hamburg special trade exemptions on the River Elbe. Tugboat ballets, fireworks, and parachute jumps, dragon boat racing and more!

 

Europride, June 11-13, 2004. This international gay festival will light up Hamburg’s streets, restaurants, bars and cultural scene.

Alstervergnuegen, the annual open air festival, in August, with the normally sober-minded Town Hall becomes a focal point of merriment. Theater, music, dance, pantomime and top quality artistic groups participate. Slapstick comedy, old clowning traditions and the Hamburg Police’s “bike circus” add to the fun.

Dom Festival in Spring, Summer and Fall where citizens pour out to play games, enjoy food stalls and attractions abound. Wednesday is Family Day with special prices.

Cherry Blossom Festival with Japanese Fireworks at the end of May is a special treat for all Hanseats.

The Art and Wine Festival in June each year combines culture and taste. Various wineries from around the world offer champagne, sparkling wine and wine. Galleries, designers and artisans display their wares while tastings take place from noon to 11:00 pm every night.

For further information on events and the city, go to www.hamburg-tourism.de

Northern Lights!

Both Lübeck, the home of Thomas Mann and Günther Grass, and Bremen, are within an hour by train from Hamburg and are easy day trips into the medieval world of the Hanseatic League which, from the 13th to the 16th centuries, was a loose affiliation of cities and nations to protect their ships from pirates, brigands and especially Danish fleets. Lübeck’s old town – designated a UNESCO World Heritage site – is a charming mixture of belfries, towers, ancient old buildings and lanes  perfect for strolling.

Bremen is bigger than Lübeck and known for its old market square, gothic town hall with its impressive Weser Renaissance façade, and the Town Hall Cellars with a selection of 650 wines from all German regions. Traditional redbrick buildings on Boettcherstrasse make an attractive contrast to Schnoorquarter’s winding alleyways and medieval houses and warehouses.

For those looking for a real getaway vacation, the Frisian Islands to the east are a very popular weekend or holiday destination. The sunny beach resorts between Lübeck and Travemünde on the Baltic Sea are only one hour from Hamburg. The Baltic Sea coast offers traditional resorts and the former Hanseatic towns of Wismar, Rostock and Stralsund. The province of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern holds great appeal as its countryside is so untouched. Then there is the castle in Schwerin, the cathedrals of Guestrow and Bad Doberan. The Holsteinische Schweiz (“The Holstein Switzerland”) is a beautiful lake district around the towns of Malente, Ploen and Eutin. The old Salt Road goes through picturesque Moelln, Ratzeburg, Lauenburg and Lueneberg. Northern coastal events are many and varied, and here are but a few:

3rd Müritz Sail

May 21, 2004 – May 23, 2004

Sailing regattas, dragon boat races, water-skiing demonstrations, paragliding, naval parade, stages for musical events, diverse regional cuisine and a hot air balloon show. The Müritz National Park is a German jewel of flowers and vegetation.

www.mueritzsail.net

122nd Kiel Week

June 19, 2004 – June 27, 2004

The starting pistol fires up this exciting regatta where 3.5 million guests from all over the world meet 6,000 sailors, including many Olympic and world champions, to race each other in Schleswig-Holstein’s icy waters. www.kieler-woche.de

40th International Sund Swim

July 3, 2004

This 2.3 kilometer swim from the Island of Ruegen to the Hanseatic City of Stralsund attracts visitors from around the world is a feat that many attempt. Come cheer the swimmers on and celebrate with a plunge! www.sundschwimmen.de

Sand World

July 9, 2004 – August 22, 2004

Build the biggest sand castle! 70 sand sculptors will use over 70,000 tons of sand to create their masterpieces. This beach festival takes place in the coastal city of Travemünde, north of Lübeck. www.sandworld.de

HanseSail

August 5, 2004 – August 8, 2004

The HanseSail Rostock is the biggest maritime event in the coastal state Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. More than 200 windjammers and sailing ships of yore set sail from Warnemünde, one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Germany. This colorful festival is rich in culture and entertainment for the entire family. www.hanse-sail.de
 
TASTY TIPS:

In the North, one can eat crab fresh from the fishing boat, as well as North Sea cod, Baltic eel soup, piquant herring salad from Bremen, herring served with potatoes with bacon dip from the island of Rügen.

Hamburg Sour Soup

(From “The German Cookbook” by Mimi Sheraton)

Yield: 9 Servings

Ingredients: 9 prunes; 9 dried apricots; 1 meaty smoked ham bone and the ham rind or 2 smoked ham hocks; 3 qt water; 2 carrots ; 1 small knob of celery root; 1 leek; 7 tbsps butter; 1 large onion; 4 tbsps flour; 1/2 tsp basil; 1/2 tsp thyme; 1/2 tsp marjoram; 1 tsp leaf savory; salt to taste; 1 pintt white wine; 1 large bay leaf; 6 peppercorns; 1 lb eel, skinned and cut into 3; 4 tbsps white vinegar; 2 tbsps raspberry jam; 1 cup peas; additional eel slices, if preferred.

With the optional eel this is known as Aalsuppe. Although the jam sounds weird the author swears it is both necessary and makes the recipe delicious. The recipe is from the chef of the Weinhaus Dolles, an old Hamburg restaurant, long since gone. Soak prunes and apricots in warm water to cover for 2 hrs. Put ham bone and rind in 3 qts cold water, bring to a boil and simmer 1 1/2 hrs. Remove rind and discard; cut meat from the bone in small cubes. Cool stock and skim fat. Clean and dice the pot vegetables. Heat 3 tbs butter in a skillet and saute vegetables until they soften. Add vegetables to the ham stock. Heat 4 tbsps butter and fry onion until it is deep brown. Sprinkle flour over this and blend stirring over a low heat until browned. Do not let the roux scorch. Add this plus the herbs to the stock and simmer 15 min. While stock is simmering, bring the white wine to the boiling point

with the bay leaf and peppercorns. Add eel, simmer 10 minutes and set aside. Add the reserved diced ham, the soaked fruits, vinegar, jam and wine that the eel was cooked in to the stock. Simmer 5 minutes; adjust the seasoning. The soup should have a winey sweet and sour balance. add the peas in the last 5 minutes. To serve, place some eel in each bowl and ladle the soup over it making sure each dish gets a prune and an apricot. 

“Let’s cook in Kiel!”

An exclusive cookery course with top chef Ingo Taubert. Learn how to prepare an exquisite 3-course menu with the internationally renowned cruise liner chef. Price includes a stroll through the market with Ingo Taubert, shared preparation and eating of an exquisite 3-course dinner with wine, a chef’s apron, certificate and recipes. €99.00 p.p. (from 4 persons) available on request throughout the year. For further information, go to www.kiel-tourist.de

Monthly Theme: Islands Ho!

It’s not just in the north that Germany has its islands. In fact, for a country with only two relatively short coastlines, Germany has a surprising number of islands on lakes and rivers throughout the country. There’s the little island of Schuett in Nuremberg and the isles of Reichenau, Mettnau, Wasserbirg, and the entire City of Lindau in southern Germany’s Lake Constance.

Botanical Beauty

The isle of Mainau, “the Botanical Island,” has a Mediterranean atmosphere, brilliant colors, and thousands of exotic species of blossoming plants and trees that define it as a heavenly oasis. In the spring, tulips bloom as far as the eye can see and rhododendrons and azaleas are in full color. In summer, the perfume of thousands of roses fills the air; the dahlias burst in the Fall so that the parks glows from March to September in exotic colors. Don’t miss the exhibitions of famous painters in the castle of Mainau, or musical events including the Mainau Open Air Concerts in June and July, the Count’s Island Festival at the end of May or the Midsummer Night Celebration in June. Go to www.mainau.de for further information, a calendar of events, opening hours and admission. The Green School on the isle of Mainau offers courses in practical gardening, horticulture, butterflies and nature and environmental issues. For more information, e-mail: gruene-schule@mainau.de or call 011-49-7531-303-253.

Nature Reigns Supreme

Off of the northeastern coast of Germany in the Baltic Sea, Rügen is the countryt’s largest island and boasts the most hours of sunshine! Shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age, the Baltic Sea and strong sea winds, Rügen is famous for its natural beauty, its brilliant white chalk cliffs and the charming fishing village of Vitt. The chalk stone is known to have healing effects on the human body. Ringing Rüegen are 18 other islands and peninsulas that form a kind of archipelago. Two national parks and a biosphere reserve protect the unique landscape and the diverse organisms. Ancient monuments scattered around the island are witnesses to the island’s 8000 year history. Not far awayt is the isle of Hiddensee, known for its artist colony. Special events on Rügen highlight theater, and include the Putbus Theatre, the Variete Boddenbarsch, the Stoertebeker Festspiele, the Rügen Cabaret Regatta, and the Theatersommer am Kap. Save money with the RügenCard, that gives discounts on entrance fees, restaurants prices and transportation. For information see www.ruegen.de, click on the “English” flag.
Sandy Luxury

With 25 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, Sylt is a bather’s paradise, and one of Germany’s jet-set paradises. About 8000 years ago, this piece of land was separated from Schleswig-Holstein, but since 1927, the island has been connected with the mainlandf by the Hindenburg Dam. There is fine dining and wining, high-end shopping on Friedrichstrasse, golf, windsurfing, tennis, inline skating and cycling. There are shifting sand dunes in List, the smallest lighthouse school in the world, and the new Westerland Aquarium, that will open this month. An International Jazz Festival and the Catamaran-Regatta “Super Sail Sylt“ at the end of May bring in hundreds of visitors. Every kind of guest accommodation from low to high budget is available as are wellness packages. The Dorint Strandhotel Sylt (www.dorint.com/sylt, the “Sylter Welle” und “Syltness Center” are just a few.  For further information click www.sylt-az.de, then the link “English Sylt Impressions.”

Hidden Treasure

The island of Schuett on the River Pegnitz in Nuremberg embodies a little piece of the eastern Old Town. Until 1918, the famous Christmas market of Nuremberg took place on the little island. Today you can admire the old houses, charming restaurants and bars and even part of the famous University of Nuremberg. Don’t miss the Nuremberg Fish Days on the isle of Schuett, October 08 – 17, 2004; Info: www.events-nuernberg.de
Special Deals

The coastal state of Mecklenburg Western Pommerania is offering special cycling deals in the northern part of Germany. Travel and booking information is available on the web at www.aufnachmv.de (click on the British flag for information in English). Phone: 011-49-180-5 00 0 23.

1. “Baltic Coast Cycle Route in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Lübeck – Stralsund”
8 nights with breakfast in a double room
Category I: € 635.00 per person; Category II: € 780.00 per person

2. “Baltic Romanticism around Fischland, Darß & Zingst”
6 nights with breakfast in a double room
Category I: € 455,00 per person; Category II: € 645,00 per person
All packages include cycle hire, luggage transfers and information pack.

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