One of my first impressions upon "visiting" the U.S. after having lived in Germany for some time was... "wow, everything looks so new." I have always been fascinated with European architecture and it has been my dream, as long as I can remember, to travel and experience places that are older than my own country... I just never imagined that I would one day be living here.
One of my favorite "cityscapes" in Hamburg is the Rathaus, which was completed in 1897 after the old city hall was destroyed. Compared to other buildings in Germany, this is still relatively new. "Rathaus" literally translated means "advice house", or city/town hall. Located in the main downtown area and centered in the shopping district, the beautiful building is just minutes away from the famous "Alster" river, which runs through the city.
Inside shot (source Wikipedia)
I find more and more one of the things that I love about living in Germany is that it is so rich in traditions. One such tradition, only started in the 1950's, is that when a bachelor reaches the age of 30 and has no children, he is to sweep the city hall steps to keep from doing "extra work" after death. Usually held at the city hall, or some other public place, the steps are covered with sand, bottle caps, or sawdust and the bachelor is given an "unhandy" broom to complete his task. He can only be freed from his duty after having received a kiss from a virgin.
Starting in early December, the Rathaus is all lite up with the well-known Christmas markets held in front of the city hall square. There is just no experience like it. We have started our own tradition, meeting with the same friends every year for a tasty meal out on the marketplace followed by "glühwein" which is a spiced, warmed wine. It is invigorating to stand in the cold all bundled up soaking in the atmosphere and the season with friends and a warm drink.
This week we will be leaving the "city" to exhibit on a country, garden, and lifestyle fair. Unfortunately I won't be able to complete any "city tours" with you for this "corner view", but be sure to visit Jane as Spain Daily for more big lights, bright city action.