A Travellerspoint blog

Olive 4/3/16

Today we went on a walk around Hamburg. It was great! We had lots of fun. Jana is an architect, so she showed us some of the buildings she helped design. She's really good. She also told us about some of Hamburg's interesting architectural features. In some parts of Hamburg, near the port, there are two footpaths, one is three metres above the other in case of tidal floods and storms. 583C7CF6AEC53D29334D964FB680CA05.jpeg
In Australia we call them King tides, and in Hamburg they happen once or twice a year. In the older buildings, the people let the bottom floor doors open, letting the flood through to the other side. 583E9BA0A440DC4C84AC93DF1DA18F24.jpeg
Then, they close the doors after the flood has swept through. They do this to reduce the amount of damage from the pressure of the flood water on the buildings. The more modern buildings are designed like fortresses with massive flood gates that come out of the buildings, locking off the water. The top footpaths were built so that people could still get to work during the floods.

Posted by wott.on.earth 00:14 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Wil 3/3/16

semi-overcast 2 °C

Today as part of our walk around Hamburg we went to see the Elbphilharmonie, a new concert hall, hotel and apartments under construction. One of our friends Jana (pronounced Yana) is on the team of the architects who designed the building.59BB40D10EB5D1B708D5F0F4062C1D68.jpeg59B986C6FF45C8F8481F71F0F2DE917E.jpeg

The building also has a pool, a children's music centre, restaurants and a central plaza. The two sides are built separately and completely sound isolated so you can't hear concert music in the houses or any noise from the apartments in the concert hall. The builders built the hotel and apartments first leaving a hole in the middle to build the concert hall. The whole new building is built on top of an original wharf storage building which could not be changed for heritage reasons. The inside of this is now mostly parking and restaurant kitchens.

The concert hall is designed to make sure that the same volume and tone is heard from every part of the hall. The architects made different sized golf ball like dimples out of thick material with the help of acoustic engineers, to stop the echo. They made a scale model of the hall 1:10 size, with scale people to test the sound and design, the people even had clothes!

It started in 2007 and is scheduled to be opened in 2017. It's costing about ten times the amount that was originally planned, and the finishing date has also moved a couple of times. When we talk the locals about the building they laugh and roll their eyes. The building looks amazing and I think it will be a great tourist attraction and a real feature for the city, like the opera house in Sydney.

Posted by wott.on.earth 02:31 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Wil 2/3/16

semi-overcast 0 °C
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Today we went to Lübeck, which is an old city built on an island. The rivers around it flow from the Baltic Sea. The city has only five entrances, one of them is really new. Originally, there were four entrances, to the north, east, south and west. In an emergency those gates would slam shut. An example of such an emergency would be raiders or robbers, because Lübeck was a wealthy trading city.

The main gateway that still stands is called the Holsten Gate, it was constructed between 1464 and 1478. The gate that held out people who wanted to get in without permission are about 4 or 5 metres tall. The gate is made of what looks like giant wooden spears that are about 30cm square.

We visited the old part of the city. It was built in medieval times. Lübeck was founded in 1143, and is one of the principal cities of the Hanseatic League. The Hanseatic League is a group of merchant guilds and their market towns who worked together to protect their valuables, their trading routes and their people.

Posted by wott.on.earth 02:20 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Olive 1/3/16

2 °C
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Today is our first day in Germany, we're staying with our friends Thomas and Jana, and their son Nic. They're really nice. Staying outside of Hamburg, in a small village surrounded by farmland, we got to learn about some of the local animals. Thomas's hobby is catching moles, some have started to make their homes in his garden and he doesn't like it! He likes to stand outside with a shovel staring down at the mole hills. He doesn't like the traps because sometimes they kill the moles, so he doesn't use them.

He doesn't like the moles because they make mounds of dirt in his garden, he spots them from the upstairs window, watching the mounds pump up and down as the moles kick up dirt, making the mound bigger. To catch them, he quickly digs around the mole, and if he is fast enough, he flicks them into the air, out of reach of the hole. Then he has to grab it tightly to avoid it getting away because moles are so strong. When he catches one he puts it in a bucket, and covers it with dirt and sand to calm it. He relocates them to a field or somewhere nobody minds that they're there. He didn't catch anything while we were there, but it seems like a constant battle. THOMAS VS MOLES Moles cause damage to the garden, and their tunnels can create homes for mice and snakes.

Jana's father, who lives in the area, is a retired vet. He saved a breed of horse that was close to extinction by breeding them. There aren't very many, but thanks to him there's some. Which is a great start. They are a working horse, similar to what we would call a draught horse.
In Thomas and Jana's garden there are two swings, one normal one tied to a very tall tree with a really long rope and one shorter tire swing. On the normal swing I went really high! It was lots of fun. Also, flowers cover the lawn like a blanket, lots of different colours.

Posted by wott.on.earth 01:53 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Olive 1/3/16

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Today we had: plane trip, airport, plane trip, airport. The plane stopped seven times, the trips between stops were about ten minutes each for the first 6 stops. The next flight was about an hour.

On the plane the pilot let us into the cockpit, to see the Northern Lights from the window. It was the third time we had seen it, but the strongest so far. They were in an arc around the plane, it looked really cool!


After that, we spent 6 hours in Tromsø airport, from 12.00 am to 6.00 am. I really didn't like it. One more 2 hour flight and we reached the last airport at around 11.00 am, finally in Hamburg, Germany. We kept landing and taking off on icy runways. The last landing was quite bumpy.

As we sat in the airport, we saw people put some sort of tea cosy on the jet engines on one of the planes. This is to keep out the ice and stop it from freezing.

Then we met Thomas and Jana who we are going to be staying with for about 4 days. Thomas and Jana have a little boy called Nic. He is really funny but he doesn't have much English. Even so, I think he understands more English than we understand German.

Posted by wott.on.earth 01:40 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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