Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hamburg - Shopping in WMF outlet

Date: 13th October 2015

Words could not described my happiness when I step inside Hamburg WMF outlet before heading back to the hotel after finishing with what we can cover during our short limited stay in the city. It's a complete store, everything what WMF and its associate brand had and came into display. For those who has been following me must have not forgotten, how crazy I was/am with WMF product. For those who not, may read how frantically crazy I was when I arrived in Munich, last year, searching for it in Marienplatz "Shopping in Munich City". 

You too may visit WMF website to understand why do I get a little bit crazy with what they have to offer in their premises. I'm sharing photos mostly all WMF items (except for those brands associated with them, but not manufactured in Germany) available in the outlet located not far from the City Hall or shopping district. It bear an address as WMF Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik AG, Eberhardstra├če 17, 73312 Geislingen an der Steige, Hamburg. The first thing I grabbed was a cutlery set which has more than 60 pieces at a sales price. However, it weight about 5kg which comes in a box. To carry that 5 kg along with me while touring another 5 cities, all the way to Moscow would be a burdensome and worrisome. So, I had to wisely exchanged them with a knife set only.

I'm thankful to the sales assistant that kindly explain the difference in each of their knifes and why the price varies. A good education though and I was feeling happy leaving the store with a happy purchase knowing that the knifes would be in my family for generations to come. Anyhow, Nazhif is visiting Sheffield, a city of steel, next week. I hope he can find other choices equivalent to WMF in UK that is easier for him to brought home. Last night, after watching movie with Syahirah in KLCC (rare event indeed, watching movie on working day) we get to see Royal Albert and Notitake displays in Isetan Shopping Mall. We must have a set of good quality of tableware too, I opined, but these thing are not cheap though. A pain to my purse, sigh!

Baking corner, Sigh!

Cooking Pot is not that important but the yellow set is so enticing, Sigh!

Aimed for a few item in the rack, Sigh!

Bought some in Munich last year

A must buy too, Sigh

The coffee maker and all other kitchenware are a mush have in my future kitchen. Must ensure that my kitchen my fill with items shown in the above and below photo. How nice, Sigh!

Children selection corner, my children could buy that for their children (hehe, must force them to buy)

Other small little thing to complete your kitchen, beautiful isn't it?

Leaving with a heavy heart, last snap before saying farewell

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hamburg - Rathaus (City Hall)

Date: 13th October 2015

There are 16 states and 2,060 towns and cities in Germany. Hamburg was the second city that I visited and I hope to reach many more in the future. Hamburg is a state itself, hence there's only 1 city, i.e. the Hamburg city. It is the 2nd biggest city in Germany that has more than 17 million peoples living in the state. We visited quite a numerous Rathaus or city hall during our 2nd leg last year. I was forgotten about it until we passed by the Rathausmark (City Hall Square) where the Hamburg City Hall look so stunning when the lights are about to set off. 

Hamburg Rathaus is the city hall or town hall of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Germany. It is the seat of the government of Hamburg and as such, the seat of one of Germany's 16 state parliaments. The Rathaus is located in the Altstadt quarter in the city center, near the lake Binnenalster and the central station. Constructed from 1886 to 1897, the city hall still houses its original governmental functions with the office of the First Mayor of Hamburg and the meeting rooms for Hamburg's parliament and senate (the city's executive).

An entrance to the Restaurant Ratsweinkeller from the lobby hall

After the old city hall was destroyed in the great fire of 1842, it took almost 44 years to build a new one. The present building was designed by a group of 7 architects, led by Martin Haller. Construction commenced in 1886 and the new city hall was inaugurated in 1897. Its cost was 11 million German gold marks, about EUR80 million in those days. It was built in a period of wealth and prosperity, in which the Kingdom of Prussia and its confederates defeated France in the Franco-German War and the German Empire was formed, the look of the new Hamburg Rathaus should express this wealth and also the independence of the State of Hamburg and Hamburg's republican traditions. On October 26, 1897 at the official opening ceremony the First Mayor Dr. Johannes Versmann received the key of the city hall.

In the postwar period, various heads of state visited Hamburg and its City Hall, among others are Emperor Haile Selassie I, the Shahanshah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1955, and in 1965 Queen Elizabeth II. An emotionally moving service of remembrance was held on the market square @ Rathausmark for the victims of the North Sea flood of 1962. Happier moments were the celebrations of Hamburger SV as German football champions, the last time though in 1983.

There are 647 rooms in this large building. However, in 1971 a room in the tower was only discovered accidentally during a search for a document fallen behind a filing cabinet. So there is a probability that there are even more rooms than the currently counted.

On the outside the architectural style is neo-renaissance, which is abandoned inside for several historical elements. It is one of the few completely preserved buildings of historicism in Hamburg. The city hall has a total area of 17,000 m2 excluding the restaurant Ratsweinkeller, occupying an area of 2,900 m2. The tower is 112 metres high which has 436 steps. Visitors are allowed to climb them under city hall tour guide. The city hall of Hamburg has 647 rooms, 6 rooms more than Buckingham Palace. The building area is measured as 5,400 m2 altogether.

The balcony is surmounted by a mosaic of Hamburg's patron goddess Hammonia, the city's coat of arms and an inscription of the city's Latin motto "Libertatem quam peperere maiores digne studeat servare posteritas." translated in English as "The freedom won by our elders, may posterity strive to preserve it". The courtyard is decorated with a Hygieia fountain. Hygieia as the goddess of health in Greek mythology and its surrounding figures represents the power and pureness of the water. It was built in remembrance of the cholera epidemic in 1892, the former technical purpose was air cooling in the city hall. 2 photos below are the previous mayor that served the city engrave in a gigantic marble column, simply stunning work of arts.

The lobby is a public area used for concerts and exhibitions. It is open to the public. The emperor's hall in the first floor is the second-largest representation hall, named after Wilhelm II and functions as a room for official presentations. The mayor's hall was planned as a small meeting room. As of 2008, the entry in the city's Golden Book take place includes by many dignitaries such as the former German President Paul von Hindenburg and the Dalai Lama. In the left wing is the floor of the Hamburg Parliament. The 121 representatives meet in a room that was renovated during Nazi Germany. Only three fields on the ceiling shows its original decoration.

We both cant help but mesmerizing the whole scenarios of what we were able to see at the lobby. This grandeur and expensive looking from the external has given us a goosebumps whenever we running through our fingers onto its giant column, taking steps on its grandeur staircase touching the metal railing. We were truly blessed being able to visit on the last minutes left before the hall is closed for business.  A feeling of being inside still lingers and hold a special place in my heart. Therefore, pardon me if I want to share 2 more photos before I end this entry.

Remarks: Source from Wikipedia

Hamburg - St Peter's Church

Date: 13th October 2014

I like to visit cathedrals, churches, monasteries, temples, i.e the house of worship whenever I visited a non-Muslim country. The feeling of being able to explore inside gives a mutual sense of devotion to the Almighty. I cant' help but to acknowledge that all of us, the worshipers despite different religion, the monotheist are praying to the same God but with different beliefs. In the end, only He knows who came to see Him with sincere hearts. The last visit I made to the Batu Caves temple on 26th December 2015, Syahirah and I keep on repeating syahadah while we climbed 272 steps to reach the top. We hope He knew that we did not idolized Him in whatever manner. 

The Germans called St. Peter’s church as “Hauptkirche St. Petri” or “Petrikirche” and is a beautiful church in Hamburg stands on the site of many former cathedrals. It was built by the order of Pope Leo X and has been a Protestant cathedral since the Reformation. Its congregation forms part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany. It was not open when we reached the cathedral at late evening. It was strange as I thought it should welcome all the worshipers to enter despite any time they arrived. They must have their own reasons to do so, I do not have any right to judge as the Quran keep on reminding me for not doubting and not being a hypocrite, surah 2 verse 10 "In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies".

It is believed that the church is near the original Hammaburg area and that previous cathedral was existed on the site. St. Peter's was probably built in the beginning of the 1189 although it was first documented in 1195 as a market cathedral or ecclesia forensis. In about 1310, the cathedral was rebuilt in a Gothic style and was completed somewhere around year 1418. The bronze lion-head door handles, the oldest work of art of Hamburg, date from the foundation of the tower which was in 1342.

A second tower, built in 1516, higher above the Hamburg Cathedral. It's decay caused it to be torn down between year 1804 and 1807, after it had been used by Napoleonic soldiers as a horse stable. Then again, the building fell victim to the great fire that swept Hamburg in May 1842. Most works of art, such as the lion-head door handles, were saved by the church caretakers. However, the St. Peter's portal gateway was heavily damaged in the fire but was saved and ended up being built into the Museum fur Hamburgische Geschichte which was established in 1922 and was called Hamburg Museum since 2005. The doorway itself was restored again in 1995 by the Hamburg Museum.

Only 7 years after the great fire, the Gothic church was rebuilt by the architects Alexis de Chateauneuf and Hermann Felsenfest in its previous location. In 1878, the 132 meter high cathedral tower with its copper spire designed by Johann Maack was completed. In the first half of the 20th century, the parish lost many of its original members. It was when the residential neighborhoods were torn down to develop banks and department stores in the city center. But, the church got through the Second World War relatively intact. In 1962, as a nearby community center was being built, the foundations of a medieval tower, the Bischofsturm ("Bishop's Tower") were discovered.

In 1979, nuclear power protesters, including the late pastor Christoph Stoermer, occupied the cathedral. From 2005 to 2007, the west and south facades of the church were hung with giant posters advertising the H&M chain of clothing stores, thus providing funding for maintenance of the cathedral. The best known artworks in St Peter's are the lion-head door handles, located in the left wing of the west portal. However, the cathedral contains many additional works of art.

Though I've not been able to explore the inside view, I would like to give 5 cents of advice to those who are visiting soon to take note a few details that are worth to view. In the north portion of the cathedral, a Gothic mural from year 1460 shows the first bishop Ansgar of Bremen, with the words "Apostle of the North". A column in the choir area contains a statue by Bernt Notke, from around 1480-1483, showing Archbishop Ansgar and the Hamburg Marienkirche, which he founded. There are 2 oil paintings by Gottfried Libalt from the 17th century; "Jacob's Dream" and "Christ's Birth". Unfortunately, they were damaged by an acid attack in 1977, but were restored in October, 2001, and returned to the cathedral when it original belongs. There is also a painting about Christmas in 1813 on a column in the south part of the cathedral. It shows the Hamburg citizens who, when they did not provide food to Napoleon's occupying troops, were locked in the church by the soldiers. In the front of the cathedral are neo-Gothic representations of the evangelists. A modern bronze sculpture by Fritz Fleer shows Dietrich Bonhoeffer dressed as a convict with his hands bound.

Oil painting by Gottfried Libalt "Jacob's Dream" downloaded
1342 Bronze Lion head door handles in St Petri

Lastly, before ending this shared articles from Wikipedia, a far distance photo of me and the tower clock of St Petri when I was at the Rathausmarkt.

2015 is going to end soon and I'm sure many of you are enjoying a last week of 2015 leisurely. Wish you a good wrap-up like I'm trying to wrap-up the last few entry for new year, 2016. Have fun in whatever you do, do not carry regrets. Cheers!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Hamburg - 1 night stay in Hotel Fuerst Bismarck

Duration of stay: 13th till 14th December 2015

Few months before our scheduled arrival at the Hotel Fuerst Bismarck Hamburg, we have pre-booked 2 days and 1 night room at only EUR 95. The hotel is located at Kirchenallee 49, Hamburg and yes it does facing Hamburg Hauptbanhof. Trust me, as it’s so happened that we were given a room view of the train station. As soon as we entered, I pulled the curtain and snapped below photo. The station is indeed right in front of me. It felt wonderful even though we had such a pity luck as I made a wrong stop earlier at the Harburg station, a station away from the main central Hamburg station. 

If not, we could just across the road leisurely and would have booked ourselves an hour boat cruise tour, like what we did when in Amsterdam. For those who are interested may explore Hamburg at your own pace and enjoy either a hop-on hop-off bus tour with harbor and Lake Alster cruises on the exciting Hamburg shore excursion. Jump aboard a HOHO double-decker bus at the St Pauli Port and discover top attractions including St Michael’s Church, Harbour City, the Reeperbahn and the pretty Krameramt district. It will take around 1 hour boat cruise through Hamburg's warehouse district to Harbour City whilst enjoying a fine city views from a different perspective. The cruise shall pass the waters of serene Lake Alster and admire the villas and gardens lining its shore.

Hotel Fuerst Bismarck has been classified as a superior 3-star hotel which is set in a leisure cum tourist area. It is located minutes away from Hamburg Dungeon, Park Planten un Blomen and Congress Center Hamburg. The hotel building was renovated in 2012. Our hotel rate was without breakfast but according to the receptionist they serves a rich buffet breakfast every morning. Besides, their popular restaurant serves special meals which guests can enjoy. They also has a lounge bar serving bottled drinks.

There’s various facilities in the hotel that the guests may use, i.e. shopping service, wake up service and 24-hour reception including facilities for those who want them to do currency exchange, a garage and a tour desk. The hotel boasts central location in Hamburg close to Hauptbahnhof Nord underground station. Approximately 20 minutes from the center of Hamburg. Wi-Fi, bathroom amenities, bottled water, flat screen TV etc. is being provided free of charge. And do enjoy a free apple at the reception desk. You may take as many as you can eat.

Antique cabinet that I adored

Hotel Fuerst Bismarck provides easy access to the Hauptbahnhof city rail and a fast access to Hamburg airport which is about 10km away from the hotel. The hotel check in time is from 13:00 hours and check out at until 11:00 hours. An extra bed is charged at EUR 25 per person per night in an extra bed. There are 3 types of bedroom available, a Standard room, a Comfort room and a Superior room. Except for superior the standard and comfort measured 18m2 and 24m2 respectively. Superior room is set in extra charming and individually designed room to give their guest a relaxed feeling, boasts high-quality sleeping zone, seating area, functional desk space and fully equipped bathroom with shower.

Access area and lifts for easy convenience, especially when dealing with luggage