Hans Hummel

While I was waiting for my train out of Hamburg, I noticed an interesting statue-  a man in an oversized top-hat carrying two buckets.  A moment later, I noticed another one- identical in shape, but with different colors.  Within a few minutes, I had found four of them in that part of the station.

After I returned, I learned what was going on with these statues.  They depict Hans Hummel, the last water-carrier in 19th century Hamburg.  In 2003, one hundred identically sculpted statues were painted in different ways and then spread out throughout the city.  Some of them are still on public display, including the four I saw in the train station.

They’re numbered.  If I had known that sooner, I would have gone hunting for the others.

hummel-men-1 hummel-men-2 hummel-men-3 hummel-men-4

Have you ever seen a statue of Hans Hummel?


Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg

A number of my Blog-Friends have posted about Miniatur Wunderland, but I didn’t know it existed the first time I visited Hamburg. I wish I had known, because it’s awesome and I want to go back sometime.  The place is so incredibly detailed, there’s no way I saw absolutely everything.  I’ll give you some examples…






The exhibit is broken into sections.  There’s a Hamburg section, an America section, a Scandinavia section, Bavaria, Switzerland, and a large portion for the fictional town of Knuffingen.  One of the most amazing parts is the Knuffingen airport, a large and completely automatic airport with planes landing and taxiing to the gate every few minutes.   Oh, and every fifteen minutes, “night” falls and the lights change.


I took some video of one of the landings, because it was amazing.

There are also lots of smaller things happening.  While I was there, this plane caught fire and tiny fire trucks raced over two it for about ten minutes…


The imaginative people who put the exhibit together aren’t shy about nudity either.


Speaking of the people behind the exhibit, they have a fairly sophisticated control system.  Their monitoring area is in the exhibition area, which has got to be incredibly distracting:


…and they’re building new sections.  I’ll have to come back in a few years when England is built.  This section is going to be Italy!


There were fires in other parts of Knuffingen, but the firemen were ready to roll!


The core of Miniatur Wunderland is that it’s got automated model trains.  Miniatur Wunderland is the world’s largest model train, in fact, with more than 12,000 meters of track.


There are lots of tiny jokes embedded throughout the Wunderland.  For example, this kid has tossed his shirt in the bushes and he’s running, naked and free!


…while across the meadow, a pedophile watches him with binoculars.  Kind of creepy, but also a little bit funny.


Meanwhile, in a giant field of flowers, another couple gets it on.


The fair was also incredibly detailed, with a half dozen moving rides.  The ferris wheel, the spinny thing next to it, the bungee jump, and more, were all in motion.


The sports stadium in the Hamburg section had a game on.


One of the buildings in the Hamburg section opened up, and a tiny orchestra was playing-  the various pieces of the orchestra were moving.


Meanwhile, in Scandinavia, weird shit is happening.  I don’t know if there’s a real place that looks like this.  It wouldn’t surprise me, though.


Some of my favorite things were just little tiny gags that you might miss if you go through the Wunderland too fast.  Here, we see a mole who has been busted by the Polizei for digging a hole in the park.


…and cows wearing scuba gear.  Seriously.


Master criminals at work!


…and in the America section, Area 51 has a Stargate!  (And little green dudes playing basketball!)


When the Wunderland chooses to duplicate a real building, they do an amazing job of it.  Here’s tiny Miami Beach.


… and here’s tiny Las Vegas.


The Grand Canyon.


They’re amazing at buildings, but I don’t think they really understand America’s relationship with sports.   The baseball player ready to hit the pigskin thrown by the football player while an elderly couple and a flamenco dancer look on is pretty confusing.


The Wunderland makes up for that weirdness with lots of incredibly detailed tableaus.  Here’s a very intricately detailed concert.


They’ve really thought of everything… the tiny concertgoing people even get a row of tiny porta-potties!


…and in the crowd of that concert, I found more adventurous cows!  These two seem to be wearing shower caps.  Maybe it’s the scuba diving cows from earlier…


There are also some exhibits near the cafe and restrooms of certain time periods in Germany.  Here’s the day that the Berlin Wall came down in 1989:


…and here’s the bombed out city at the end of World War II.


Have you ever been to Miniatur Wunderland?  What was your favorite part?

A Hamburg Weekend.

I went to Hamburg last weekend.  Most of the pictures I took from Hamburg were in Miniatur Wunderland, which will be Monday’s post because it’s amazing and because I took a bazillion pictures that I haven’t sorted through yet.   There were a few other reasons to go to Hamburg besides the wonderment that is Miniatur Wunderland, though

1) I wanted a chance to visit with Sarah Stäbler and her husband Tobias before their baby is born.  I probably won’t get another chance to hang out with them before I leave Germany.

2) I wanted to find Beatles-Platz.  It’s a tiny section of the Reeperbahn adjacent to where the Beatles played.  I couldn’t find it last time I was in Hamburg, but I went this time armed with more information and more time to look for it.  More importantly, I had looked at pictures of it this time, so I knew what the heck I was looking for.

3) Another Category One station, the Hamburg-Altona station.  Then there were five…

I’d like to begin the show and tell portion of this post by commenting that I had forgotten just how strange the Hamburg main train station is.   It’s set up a little bit like an Oreo cookie-  the restaurants and shops are on the upper levels at either end, and the creamy center of train platforms is down a flight of stairs.  The two ends are connected on the inside of the building only by way of the train platforms.


Beatles-Platz is right at the intersection of Große Freiheit and the Reeperbahn.  The “statues” aren’t really anything of the sort, they’re actually just metal outlines of the Beatles.  The three in front are John, Paul, and George, and the drummer is supposed to look a little like Ringo and a little like Pete Best.


Standing a little way off to the right is one more guitarist.  The Internet says the fifth Beatle is supposed to represent Stuart Sutcliffe, the original Bass player for the band.   You can’t see it clearly in these photos, but the Beatles-Platz is circular, and is paved black to look like a vinyl record.    It’s fairly striking.


On Saturday morning, I had brunch with Sarah and Tobias.  As is my custom, I completely misjudged my travel time and arrived ridiculously early.  This gave me some time to look at the artwork on the buildings nearby.


This was a giant door leading into a tattoo and piercing shop.


An apartment building.  The bird was striking.  The graffiti over top of the artwork was really unfortunate.


I’m not sure what to make of this one.  It reminds me of someone I know, though…


People in this town make art with biiiiig ladders.


This one was totally my favorite.  The girl on the purple scooter is awesome.  It also reminds me of someone I know.


Brunch with Sarah and Tobi was pretty great- good food, and good company.  It’s not completely visible in this picture, but Sarah is wearing a How I Met Your Mother maternity shirt.  It says “I’m going to be Legen…wait for it…”

After brunch, we walked around the neighborhood a tiny bit until we reached the U-Bahn station I needed to move on to the next part of the day.  Next up, Miniatur Wunderland!


It took me two visits to find Beatles-Platz.  Are there any sights that you haven’t been able to find on the first try?


Back in June, I went to Hamburg for a concert.  I decided to be adventurous, and get a hotel on the Reeperbahn.  The Reeperbahn, sometimes referred to as “The Sinful Mile,” is Hamburg’s red light district.  It’s also jam packed with bars, clubs, restaurants, and touristy things.  It’s sort of like a distillation of Las Vegas, but with legal prostitution.  All of my Reeperbahn pics are from the daytime, because I didn’t want to be that guy taking pictures there at night.  And there’s a good chance I would have gotten my camera smashed if I had.

I chose my hotel based on ratings and reviews on TripAdvisor, and I wound up with the Pyjama Park Hotel und Hostel. It was affordable, and it was pretty decent considering the location.  My only caveat:  Don’t choose this hotel if you can’t sleep with a little bit of street noise.  People who live in New York City will be fine here.

This picture is not the hotel, it’s just a place on the Reeperban that drew my attention enough to snap a picture.  I think it’s a bar.  They must really like their pigs.


After I dropped my bags off at the hotel, fellow blogger Scott met me there and we set out for lunch.  On the walk between the hotel and the closest U-Bahn station, we passed this building.  I immediately made the “Go home, building, you’re drunk!” joke because it’s all tilty.


For lunch, we went down to the Port of Hamburg.  The harbor is the largest port in Germany, and the third busiest port in Europe, after Rotterdam and Antwerp. (Note to self:  I need to get to Rotterdam next year. I really want to see it.)  In addition to being a massively busy shipping port, it’s also a nice place to go for lunch.  The Landungsbrücken area is kind of touristy, but full of restaurants.  The boat on the left in this picture is in front of a nice restaurant.  Naturally, I had the fish.


Many of the boats that stop here, like the two level blue boat above, and the two level red and blue one below, are ferries that you can ride between established docks in much the same way that you would use a bus inside the heart of a city.  Based on the recommendation of the Internets, I took the number 62 Ferry from there to Finkenwerder and back.  The journey takes about an hour and a half to get there and back, but it’s a very affordable way to get a nice mini-tour of the Elbe river in this area.


These crane things were busily moving containers around.  It was neat to watch.


I was a little taken aback to find the Louisiana Star paddle-boat in Hamburg, Germany.


Directly across the harbor from Landungsbrücken is the auditorium where they show Der König Der Löwen (The Lion King.)  Some of the ferry boats advertised this.  Note to self:  I’ve gotta see this musical!  I’ve managed so far to miss it every time I’m anywhere near it.


Before the concert that evening, I went to another nice area in Hamburg to meet Sarah after she got out of work.  We walked over to a Balzac Coffee and caught up for a bit.  I’d just like to say for the record that Balzac Coffee is kind of awesome.  I’ve been in Balzac shops several times before, and I wish we had them in Regensburg.

The concert was in an open area auditorium called the Freilichtbühne on one side of the city’s amazing Stadtpark.  I got to see the entire Stadtpark, because Scott gave me bad advice on which public transportation stop to use to get there, and I wound up on the opposite side of the park.  This is ok, though, because it was a nice walk through the park and I got there in plenty of time to catch the main act, Lindsey Stirling.


The following morning, I did a small amount of touristing on my way back to the train station to head back to Regensburg.    On the walk back out of the Reeperbahn, I spotted this place where you can get cheap sex right next to a place where you can get a cheap hamburger.  (Ok, in reality I had spotted it the night before, because I grabbed some chicken nuggets after the concert.  Despite being on the Reeperbahn, this is the quietest McDonald’s I’ve ever been inside.  Amazing!)


Walking into the city center before leaving town, I found this pillar in the courtyard in front of the Rathaus, in front of the canal.  I haven’t been able to find any information on what this is called, but it was neat looking.


Finally, there’s Hamburg’s iconic Rathaus, the Hamburg town hall.  I didn’t go inside, but I’ve found that for many cities, the Rathaus is just as interesting inside as it is outside.  This pretty much wrapped up my short hop into Hamburg.  I arrived on Tuesday morning and left on Wednesday morning, for a total time in the city of less than 24 hours.  I’ll have to go back sometime- I quite liked Hamburg.


Have you ever been to Hamburg?  Have you partied on the Reeperbahn or taken a ferry on the Elbe?  What’s your favorite harbor?