First Days in Hamburg (27. Feb)

My goal with this blog is to provide regular updates and information about the Münster Semester 2012. It is intended for parents, fellow students, friends, etc. It is written mostly by Elizabeth Steding, Assistant Professor of German and Münster 2012 program leader. This is my first time leading the Münster program, and I am very excited to be spending this time in Germany with students.

Yesterday marked the start of our first group trip. We arrived in Hamburg around noon and took a bus tour of the town in the afternoon. Hamburg is built around the harbor, and it actually has more bridges than Venice.

Near the harbor are large blocks of brick storage buildings that have been refurbished as office space and apartments. They also house the Miniature Wonderland, where we went this morning. Although its claim to fame is having the longest model train in the world, I think that really doesn't do the place justice. It is a scale model of different countries and continents. We saw everything from the Frankfurt Airport (complete with planes taking off and landing) to the Grand Canyon with miniature whitewater rafters. There were fire departments putting out "burning" buildings, and about every 20 minutes or so, the sun went down. We actually stayed longer than we had planned so that we could see more.

This afternoon we had a cold and rainy but very interesting walking tour of the Jewish area of Hamburg. This tour was in conjunction with our Paideia course focusing on the Jews and Germany. There was a large Jewish community in Hamburg, especially in the 19th and early 20th century. It will be interesting for students to compare their experiences from today with what they see of Jewish life in Berlin when we visit next month.

Tomorrow we will tour the Hamburg town hall and then students will visit the museum of their choice. I already think I know who might visit the maritime museum and who might prefer the art gallery.