Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Swans., originally uploaded by mithering.
After a tea of pasta with watery Gorgonzola sauce from a crap restaurant, we decamped to The Jolly Sailor, a bar just off The Reeperbahn. The barman was a right miserable twat and while I don't want everybody to be all Have A Nice Day, I also don't expect to be made to feel unwelcome. So, on the pretext of getting a jumper from the hotel room I headed back in the direction of Budapester Hof. My route back took me partly along The Reeperbahn, which greatly resembled The Golden Mile in Blackpool, but with more butt plugs and a less threatening atmosphere.

Adjacent to the hotel, with only the small kiosk soon to be renamed The Ein Euro Bar between us, was The Jolly Roger, the FC St Pauli fans' bar.  I ended up in there watching a Bundesliga game which ended up with The Underdogs beating somebody or other one-nil with a late goal. Sated with excitement, and having been up for 40 hours, I headed for bed knowing that damned nature and my own stupid inner clock would have me awake the next morning by seven at the latest, and probably much earlier.

In the end it was about 5.30.  In and out of consciousness and topped off with the noise and chaos which shook the walls of the hotel several times during the night, I managed to stay in bed until seven am when breakfast was due to be served.  Downstairs, in the breakfast basement, it was just me and The Germans. The Old Germans. The Old Germans who had had the misfortune to book into a low-priced Hamburg hotel at the exact point the pandemonium hit town.

Back in England I'd made the decision that I would spend the earlier part of the day 'doing the galleries' by way of keeping me out of the bars of Hamburg until an appropriate time.  Before they opened I decided to walk up to the Alster lake to do a bit of urban birding. I headed out past two or three FC heads who had had to spend the night on couches in reception as one of their number had locked himself in their room and could not be roused from his slumber and made my way past the Milerntor.

In the car park adjacent to the stadium a classic car show was taking shape, but of more interest to me were the trees on the other side of the road.  A park. Cocking a snook to German convention I jaywalked straight across the empty, Saturday at 7.30am road.  Inside, it looked like your average park park with a (closed) cafe and swings, joggers and early morning can-clutching alkies staggering about.  After a few minutes it became clear that I was in something rather more toot schweet than your average park park.  I was in the Old Botanical Gardens.  I knew this because the interpretation boards were, very handily, written in German and English.  On returning, I find that I skirted the main bits, but I was on my way to somewhere else, and the pond I walked along was pleasant enough so I only have a tiny regret that I didn't go and have a look at the really interesting stuff in the greenhouses.

By the way, if you've made it this far, god bless you. I'm trying to exorcise myself of this damned stuff and it keeps pouring out.  I can't even bail at this point because we've not got to the picture above.  Okay, let's go straight for it. They're nests. For swans. Man-made nests for swans.  Part of a well-developed infrastructure for breeding birds which was in place around the Alster lake.  I got up to it and rang home, describing the scene and when I got off the phone I decided to walk all the way round the lake.  And to Hell with Art

Boring list of birds seen in Hamburg that I've seen many times in inner city Manchester, except for the Barnacle Geese (the Grebes can be seen in Heaton Park):

In order of sighting: Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Mallard Duck, Feral Pigeon, Starling, Black-Headed Gull, Swift, Wren, Great Tit, Coot, Long-tailed Tit, Barnacle Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Blue Tit, Hedge Sparrow, Grey Heron.

And then I had a great day which involved FC, Ein Euro, Hin Und Veg, The Carpenters, Zeckenbiss, Fanladen, a Ukele and Aldi.

And now back to our usual programming.

No comments:

Post a Comment