Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Corner View" Cityscapes in Germany

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.

16 comments:

  1. That is a peculiar new tradition, or so it seems to me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I´ll try in English.
    Fantastic pictures. It´s a great pleasure to see the own country through other eyes. It shows views of it I never recognized. Thanks for showing me, that my country is as much beautiful as it is.

    Es ist toll, das eigene Land mal mit anderen Augen zu sehen. Es gibt so viel schönes, dass uns hier gar nicht bewusst ist. Vielen Dank fürs Augenöffnen.
    Liebe Grüße
    Kristina
    ...oh, es gibt auch noch die Tradition der Schachteln. Eine unverheiratete Frau, die 30 wird, bekommt von der ganzen Familie und Freunden je eine leere Schachtel geschenkt, um ihr zu zeigen, dass sie ab jetzt zu den "Alten Schachteln" - also unverheirateten Jungfrauen gehört. In früheren Zeiten kein sehr erstrebenswerter Zustand.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your pictures are always so great, I have been to Germany but mostly the rural parts. Are you feeling better now??? Ali.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great photos. Thank you for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. what a great post allison. i love learning little trivia about your city! have fun at the fair. besos-jane

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a fun tradition! I love it. Enjoy... xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love your picture especially the last one ! Have nice week !

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! Fantastic history all around you! I know what you mean about everything in the US being so new .... fact is,we wiped out all the remnants of civilization that lived here for thousands of years before european settlement. Sad.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow it's all so pretty and interesting! I love this kind of architecture.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ha, that's a funny tradition! Great picture from the Rathaus.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great photos!!
    They make me want to travel!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am in love with old architecture myself, and that's why Europe appeals to me so much...thanks for the wonderful tour of your corner of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Beautiful! My husband lived in Germany part of his childhood and his parents go back a few times a year (his mother is German)...the architecture is what he always remembers the most. I love how each region has such a unique style and feel.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love the history that comes with age and agree that most in the US seems new compared to other places. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love Hamburg, too! It´s my favourite city here in Germany! But one thing is wrong in your text ;-) You have to sweep the city hall stairs on your 30th birthday because you have not married yet! And women have to clean up the latches of the city hall :-)

    We´re saving bottle caps at the moment :-) My boyfriend has to sweep the steps in july :-)

    Best wishes from Bremen, Vanessa

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am so happy to have found your blog through Corner View! This last week was my first time joining in, but I'm already excited to everyone's "corner." You must be a girl after my own heart because I stalk Decor8 (and Haus Maus), just bought one of Kelly Rae's prints for my best friend and even had my MIL bring the fabric that you used on your chairs! So funny! I cannot wait to check out more of your blog!
    Best wishes from Morocco!
    Tina (aka Travelingmama)
    www.travelingmama.net

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are what makes blogging fun for me!

Related Posts with Thumbnails