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One of the best experiences I had in Germany was at the Hamburger Fischmarkt (fish market) along the Elbe River in the Bezirk (borough) of Altona. The Fishmarkt, founded in 1703, is an exciting flea market. Every Sunday morning the market opens at 5:00 a.m. with what seems like a fanfare. The band plays Schlager Musik in the main hall, while outside vendors showcase exotic fruits, antiques, flowers, traditional Räucherfisch (smoked fish) and a myriad of other items. Like most people who first visit the Fischmarkt, I went after a night of
feiern auf der Reeperbahn:Mandy, a friend of mine, and I went to the Grosse Freiheit 36–a famous street intersecting the Reeperbahn, and home to disco techs, night clubs, brothels, adult shows, bars, restaurants and museums. We had tickets to see the band Ween. I remember how excited Mandy was to be seeing Ween for the first time in Germany and on the same street The Beatles played and lived for a few years in the early sixties. After the concert we exited the venue; I remember the Grosse Freiheit lit up with hundreds of lights, billboards fifty meters high and flashy advertisements. It was so bright I thought the sun was still out. Shortly, we met up with a few of our other friends who zufällig (coincidental) were in the city. Later that morning, I recalled how the colors and vendors of the Fischmarkt complemented the lights and mayhem of the Reeperbahn.
As the sun rose so did vendors’ voices with their auctioneering–the object is to get the costumer’s attention as they simultaneously pile goods up and shout out bargains. The experience resembled more like a competitive sports game rather than simple flea market haggling.
Every city has two sides and the Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg is no different. Its Einzigartgkeit (uniqueness) comes from its maritim (maritime) roots and city state mentality. Die Stadt (the city) has the third largest Seehafen (seaport) next to New York City and London . Built between the Alster See and the North Elbe , the second largest Fluss (river) in Deutschland, the city has enjoyed a prosperous seafaring history and culture.
To celebrate Hamburg ‘s prosperity, every year Landungsbrücken takes place in recognition of the May 7th, 1189 deceleration by Fredrick Barbaross allowing Merchants to trade freely, and which also lead to many merchants’ guilds and foreign trading houses.
Hamburg , though uniquely rich in many aspects, has a more provocative and raw side to it–the Kiez, better known as the red light district.
Prostitution is one of the oldest professions. In most countries it is illegal or regulated by the government. However, it still continues to have a cultural influence. Many cities throughout Germany and Europe have a red light district–usually in a far corner of town, near the old city wall, where the trees hang lower and the atmosphere is a bit darker, one can find the low glow and murk of the red light lurking.
Hamburg ‘s Kiez is by far the most popular in Germany and widely known by tourists. If you make it to Hamburg and decide to visit the red light district, look for the Reeperbahn, a street with lewd signs, adult shops and shows, bodegas, Doner Kebob, traffic and hundreds of people on the streets having a great time.
Die Stadt- the City
Der Bezirk – the Borough
Der Kiez -the red light district, or neighborhood
Gross – great
Die Freiheit – the Freedom
Feiern – celebration, to celebrate
auf der Reeperbahn – on the Reeperbahn, Dative
Die Reeperbahn – a street in the red light district
Grosse Freiheit – a street in the red light district
Frei – free
Die Hansestadt – the Hanseatic City
Der Seehafen – the Seaport
Der Fluss – the River
Die Eigenartigkeit – the Uniqueness
zufaellig – chance
Schlage Musik – Folk Music, oldies
Maritim – maritime
Der Räucherfish- smoked fish