Friday, July 11, 2008


I am looking forward to going away for a couple of weeks before law school starts.

I have decided that I love to travel.

I have only traveled overseas four times.

My first trip out of the country was a whirlwind tour of Europe with my Dad. That trip occurred while I was in high school. I don’t remember much about that trip because we were rushing from highlight to highlight, trying to see as much of the continent as possible in a short time. That trip was tinged with sadness, because the purpose of the trip was to give my mother and father a break from each other. That was not a happy time.

My second trip out of the country was a month-long trip to Turkey. That trip occurred while I was in college. My two half-brothers and I each had received small legacies, and we used the money to travel to Turkey. My half-brothers initiated that trip, and I more or less tagged along. I have not seen my half-brothers since that trip ended, when we parted at JFK and went our separate ways.

My third trip out of the country was to Hamburg, Germany. That trip occurred in November 2006, when Andrew’s father had to travel to Hamburg on business and managed to turn his business trip into a two-week family vacation. Andrew and I went on that trip, as did Andrew’s mother and middle brother.

My fourth trip out of the country was to London. That trip occurred in September 2007, when Andrew and I, his parents and his middle brother spent sixteen days in the British capital.

Our upcoming trip to Southern England, consequently, will be my fifth trip out of the country.

It will be the first trip out of the country for my sister. It is my hope that she will have a marvelous time.

I did not start my blog until June 2007, so I have never written about our 2006 Hamburg trip.

That was the first trip Andrew and I made together. It was glorious.

I loved Hamburg. I thought Hamburg was the most beautiful city I had ever visited, more beautiful even than Istanbul.

I think it was the dark Baltic sky I fell in love with. It was the most beautiful sky and the most beautiful light I had ever seen.

I also loved the canals—Hamburg has more canals than Venice or Amsterdam—and I also loved the architecture. Hamburg is probably the most distinctive European city from an architectural perspective. In that regard, it is the Chicago of Europe.

Further, Hamburg is probably the only European city with good 20th-Century architecture. Hamburg has always been a city with a tradition of fine architecture, and that tradition has been maintained throughout the post-War period. There are probably more fine 20th-Century buildings in Hamburg than in the rest of Europe combined.

This is an historic postcard from Hamburg, and the buildings are obviously not 20th-Century.

The postcard is from the 1930’s, and it may be dated by the absence of the Ehrenmal, the World War I monument erected in 1932 on Rathausmarkt (City Hall Market) right next to the water. The absence of the Ehrenmal signifies that the postcard is from 1930 or 1931.

The building on the far left no longer stands. It was destroyed during The Second World War.

The Rathaus, Hamburg’s giant City Hall, seen through the arcades, is the symbol of Hamburg, a giant 1897 Neo-Renaissance edifice that miraculously survived the War unscathed.

The Rathaus has 647 rooms. We took an English-language tour of the interior of the Rathaus, but it was not a pleasant experience. The public information officials and the ticket takers were typical Germans, rigid and officious, and the guide rushed us through the building at such a lightning-quick pace that we were not able to enjoy the opulent interiors. Our guide gave the distinct impression that she was late for an appointment. (Andrew said that she was in training for the 400-yard dash. However, Andrew forgave her for her haste, as he particularly enjoyed her mustache, well worth the price of admission, or so he said.)

The building just to the right of the Rathaus, partly blocked by the arcades, is the Hamburg branch of the Reichsbank. The building still stands, and “Reichsbank” remains carved into its stone façade. The structure is currently occupied by an art institution, The Bucerius Kunst Forum, which mounts temporary exhibitions. We attended a dreadful exhibition there devoted to artworks through the ages depicting Cleopatra. Filled with third-, fourth- and fifth-rate works, it was the worst exhibition I have ever seen.

The Alsterarkaden (The Alster Arcades) were designed and constructed in the 1840’s. The architecture was borrowed from Venice. The arcades house fashionable shops.


  1. As I have said before, I have not visited Germany.

    I have no intentions to do so as I just do not have any "feelings" for Germany and Germans.

    I am sure it is beautiful there, but to my eyes, no place on earth can be as ravishing and beautiful as Italy.

    Happy travelling, Josh!

  2. I am dying to go to Italy, J.R., but that mean old Andrew won't take me!

    I loved Hamburg. I thought Hamburg was a city of the most extraordinary beauty.

    I could almost live there, but I am told that the gray weather ultimately wears Hamburgers down--which is why they all want to move to Florida!