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Germany, Hamburg, Travels

Hamburg’s Art Collection

Breakfast was had amidst throngs of German families and school groups. I recalled the lament of an Australian I had met the previous evening in the hostel’s bar that despite the fairly nice facilities, the place was plagued by too many Germans, travelling in packs of noisy young kids, making it difficult for the solo traveler to mingle with other solo travellers, because everyone was already part of some massive German-speaking group of kids.

The Kunsthalle, “Hamburg’s one un-missable art collection” was opening when I arrived. I spent the day wandering amongst the paintings, with a lunchtime jaunt to St. Pauli area. The Hamburg Card got me around town all day for free, as well as a modest 3€ admission to the Kunsthalle, and its modern art counterpart next door.

Train Station's Sunflowers
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I saw these at the train station on my way to the Kunsthalle, and remarked that they put me in mind of Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers, for which the Kunsthalle is known. The lady didn’t understand what I was talking about . . .

Kunsthalle Central Atrium
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Old School. The Kunsthalle has several large galleries.

Van Gogh's Sunflowers
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. . . since I took a picture of the flowers at the Train Station, I had to take a picture of Van Gogh’s work, too!

Paris Street Scene in Chicago Art Museum in Hamburg
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Okay, so this is a picture on the web of a photo in Hamburg of a gallery in Chicago with a large Realist painting of Paris.

The modern art museum was filled with a wide variety of crap. I took some solace in the fact that the crap was generally of American origin, so we’ve fooled the Germans. Suckahs!

Actually, the thing about modern art is that it doesn’t belong in museums, so much as it should appear randomly in public spaces to mess with people’s assumptions. For example, a yellow neon signs that says “five words in yellow neon” is an annoying waste of musem space, but if one were to run into it amidst the neon signery of the red-light district, it could actually transport your brain to a different place for a little while.

I saw a 45-minute film, titled “H-I-S-T-O-R-Y” which concerned itself with the relationship between authorship and death, with a series of airline hijackings framing the plot structure: a history of hijacking. The history itself was interesting, though hard to follow, because the cinematography was a frenetic pastiche of old footage from airline history, cut with random stuff like people getting married under water. It was an American film from 1999, and its tempo felt all the more excited because of the German subtitles, which threw me off from the films heavy use of English captioning.

The previous night’s wash had destroyed my hat. I’d have figured it ought to be able to weather a washing, being from the military surplus and all, but no, it lost its shape and color and it shrunk. It looked like some goofy girl’s hat. I’d have kept it around as a sick souvenier, had I the room. I made up for my hat deficiency by dropping 10€ on a haircut.

I also spent some time checking e-mail, finalizing arrangments for Janet’s 9 October arrival in Milan. I reserved a room through the Internet for us in Turin, where hotels are cheaper. Then I wondered what to do tomorrow — I was already tired of Germany — how about South France? Work my way over to Milan? How about the twelve-year-old boys in the next room over cut it out and let us get some sleep?

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Categories: Germany, Hamburg, Travels