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goddesstogo and mr. goddess's big London adventure (an ongoing tale)

goddesstogo and mr. goddess's big London adventure (an ongoing tale)

Old Oct 10th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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Heck, I'm willing to wait till 10 pm to see it. I did email our landlady, though, to ask about the licence.

Will look at Ideal in the interim.
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Old Oct 10th, 2010, 04:16 PM
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I saw Maggie Smith and Judi Dench in a play in 2002 - The Breath of Life. After, and this is the only time I've ever done it - followed others to the Stage Door and got both their autographs - a woman asked Maggie if she liked the play - Maggie looked at her as if she was quite mad and said she wouldn't do it if she didn't like it.
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Old Oct 10th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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GTG- I was wondering where this post was and finally found it today! Then spent the better part of the day catching up on your adventure.

The really, really weird cosmic thing... I had to stop reading around 3pm (before YOU got sick) because I started shaking really badly. I thought it maybe was low blood sugar since I hadn't eaten in six or seven hours.

Suffice it to say it got worse from there. And I was violently ill for four hours. Now, totally dragged out and just trying to get some water down. I'm glad YOU are feeling better!

(Could this have been pre-cognitive sympathy illness?) hahaha

I am SO thrilled that you are having a grand time. I am already wondering how I can get that much in when I move to Rome! Certainly not on a daily basis! I don't think I'd have the stamina~!

I am also terribly jealous (as a huge movie buff) that you got to meet Emma Thompson and the other fabulous English actors. I'm going to keep positive thoughts that I will meet equally famous actors in Rome. hahahaha

Anyway, looking forward to more reporting, and more living vicariously through you and SO.

Hugs...
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Old Oct 10th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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Morningglory: I saw The Breath of Life too! I think it was at the Haymarket - right?
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Old Oct 11th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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morningglory - I can just picture Maggie Smith's reaction - that face! It would almost be worth her thinking I was a fool just to get that reaction.

gtg - Continuing to enjoy your journey. Thanks again for sharing it with us.
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 06:40 AM
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janisj - yes, the Haymarket...could see it in my mind's eye but couldn't think of the name.

LCBoniti - I'm sure you're picturing that look correctly - have to smile thinking of it - at the time I was glad I'd decided not to say anything to either of them but thanks for the autographs.
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 12:53 PM
  #327  
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Hi sarge! I hope you're feeling better and that it was just a transitory illness. It certainly doesn't sound like a low blood sugar thing. I get those -- I get cold and sweaty and my hands start to shake but I know that a little sugar bag or sugar cube solves the problem in about five minutes. It you were that ill that suddenly, maybe it was food poisoning. What had you eaten 2 or 3 hours prior? I understand about 'trying to get water down'. My SO kept getting me to take a few sips of water and I tried to do that but quickly learned that, nope, when things are going in the other direction, that means nothing goes down, not even water.

And I know I'll be living vicariously through you when you move to Rome and I'm back home.

And so --- hallo from Hamburg! We got here mid-afternoon yesterday after a short and easy flight. We took the tube from home to Heathrow very efficiently even though it was rush hour. I know everyone complains about Heathrow and maybe we were in an under-untilized terminal (5) or something, but everything went so quickly and smoothly. I'd printed our boarding passes and chosen our seats at home, but we decided to check our bags (even though they were carry on size) because this is what you have to do these days when you want to bring a bottle of seemingly dangerous shampoo along. Besides, I like to be hands-free when I travel and to me, the vacation really starts when I'm checked in and not lugging a suitcase.

Our hotel is fabulous (Grand Elysee). This is what happens when I let SO pick. I should do it more often. It's a 5-star, along the lines of a big North American hotel -- lots of bars and restaurants, huge lobby, swimming pool/spa/gym, live music in the lobby in the evenings. Our room overlooks a beautiful courtyard with sculpture in it and we don't have a balcony but the double doors open wide on to a little railing so it sort of feels balcony-ish. This is not hyperbole: our Paris hotel room can fit more than twice into this room and then once more in the huge bathroom/hallway/cupboard area. We're within a five minute walk of the university which is where the conference is, so that's very convenient for SO.

We checked in yesterday and then walked downtown and around the Gansemarkt, Junfernstieg, town hall areas. What a pretty and sophisticated city this is. It's so not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting either something more quaint or more industrial, but it's a very nice mix of old and new architecture and very lively. Last night we had dinner at the Fischereihafen Restaurant. I read on Fodor's that the locals sit downstairs and the tourists upstairs but as far as I could hear, we were the only ones in our room upstairs that weren't speaking German. It's very pretty and the food was delicious (both had cod). I had a fabulous ginger and shrimp soup to start. I think someone else here had bad service there and didn't care for the place. For the most part, our service was fine until we finished our main courses and then it seemed that all the servers handling our room had disappeared. We actually had to go and find someone. It didn't spoil the evening though. That will likely be the most posh dinner we'll have during our stay and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Today we walked over to the university so SO could get registered and around the campus and the general university main streets. Since we're here such a short time and without a guidebook, we decided to take a hop on/hop off bus tour and combine it with a port tour. Unfortunately, the timing was such that we couldn't do the port tour but we'll definitely do that another day. The guide on the bus did it mostly in German with the occasional English phrase thrown in so I'm sure we missed a lot of the facts but it was still easy to tell where we were with the tour map in our hands and we got to see so much of the city. It was funny to hear the guide though -- it was sort of "deutsch, deutsch, deutsch, the Beatles, deutsch, deutsch..."

Tonight we dropped in at the opening reception at the Museum of Ethnology, which is just a few blocks down the street from us. We had a glass of wine and chatted to a few people but we really didn't know anyone so it was pretty boring and we left after about half an hour. (For those of you who run conferences or things like that, here's a little hint. When you print the name badges, do them in big enough letters so that they can be read at a bit of a distance, say a couple of feet. I practically had to put my nose in a couple of bosoms to see which university the owner was from.) After that, we walked down the street and had an extremely mediocre but cheap dinner in a campus-y sort of restaurant called Bolero and that's it for the day.

SO's presentation is tomorrow, so I'll go to that and then in the evening there's a party at the beautiful town hall.

Till then, gute nacht, my babies.
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 01:00 PM
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Gleichweiss!
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 01:35 PM
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Viel Spaß!
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Old Oct 12th, 2010, 02:37 PM
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Gesundheit !
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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 06:06 AM
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To clear this up: The Fischereihafen is the most posh fish restaurant in Hamburg - and thus possibly in Germany. It is very old school in a pleasant way.
The place where locals would rather sit downstairs and busloads of package tour tourists upstairs is Fischerhaus - which is more a fish and chips kind of place, very down to earth. It doesnt compare to Fischereihafen Restuarant at all. For a hearty lunch I like it as the fish is fresh - someone else recently found it mediocre, which is a valid point (but mediocre with fresh fish and there are days when at least I am content with that kind of food). The other place that a poster complained about (because allegedly a bottle of wine had not been opened tableside is Fischmarkt, which is positioned in the middle between Fischerhaus and Fischereihafen Restaurant (not location-wise, but price and foodwise). I have been back and still consider their service very good. Maybe an off-night for the other poster (or possibly to be explained by the fact that more and more of even the upmarket German Riesling producers use screwcaps in place of corks).

Bolero is indeed a cheap TexMex place aimed at students and young professionals and nothing special in my book. Should you need any further tips for a night out, do post here. While I am no longer a resident over there, I still know my way around reasonably well, I believe.
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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 02:30 PM
  #332  
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hsv,
Thanks for that clarification. Does the Fischerhaus have more than fish and chips (e.g. fish cooked on a grill or otherwise, without batter)?

SO went off to his conference this morning and I meandered around till it was time to meet him for lunch. It turned out that his talk was scheduled for later in the afternoon than he'd thought and since we had time to spare, we dumped the meal vouchers for the student cafeteria (thereby avoiding a ten-mile long line-up) and instead, had a nice lunch sitting on the terraces of the AlsterPavillion, the lakeside cafe in the centre of town, in the sunshine. After that, he returned to the university and I browsed the shops and then walked back through the beautiful neighbourhood of Rothenbaum in time for his paper which went well.

This evening we went to the conference's welcome party at the Town Hall. For those of you who don't know it, let me explain that the Hamburg Town Hall resembles a palace, both inside and out. The party was in the gorgeous and opulent main hall and it was packed with people but, lordy, NO FOOD! There were lots of trays of wine, water and orange juice being walked around but not a single piece of cheese on a cracker in sight. Someone (a German woman, so if this is an insult, blame her, not me) told me that "there's never food at these German parties!" That's OK. We'd been chatting with some very nice people SO had met at the conference and the eight of us all went out for dinner together. We were lead by someone who knows Hamburg to a rathskeller called Groninger -- a huge, long room in a sort of cavern under a building. I had very good, thinly sliced cold roast beef and potatoes that were fried in bacon. My SO had a vegetarian dinner and some of the others had plates of enormous pig ankles and sauerkraut. Just the idea of that gives me indigestion! There was lots of beer and lots of laughs and some good discussion on their various areas of study and lots of exchanging of email addresses. I love the 'after stuff' at these conferences -- you get to meet people from all over the world who've been all over the world. Of the eight people at the table tonight, they'd either lived, worked or studied in: Romania, Scotland, France, the US, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland and England.

Tomorrow we'll do the port tour and the miniature museum (which is not something I'd normally race to see but someone we were with tonight insists that it's great and a MUST). And then it's swing dancing on a boat. Fortunately, it returns to the dock on an hourly basis, just in case it's really bad.
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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 03:00 PM
  #333  
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Fish and Chips was rather meant to describe a place that is ordinary (but still has a decent reputation for down-to-earth food), they do lots of fish non-battered. There are 2 locally typical fish dishes in Hamburg that every fish restaurant will serve: Plaice Finkenwerder style (plaice fried in butter and bacon) with potato salad (non-mayo) and Hamburger Pannfisch (different fish fillets fried and served in a mustard sauce with fried potatoes). If you have been to the Fischereihafen Restaurant already, though, I would no longer bother about Fischerhaus - anything else is going to be a bit of a let-down anyway.
If you are in the city centre and looking for a good lunch option, I'd recommend either
Rialto on Fleetinsel (behind the Steigenberger Hotel, halfway between City Hall and the port, also not a bad informal dinner option)
http://www.rialto-hamburg.de/
or
Cafe de Paris just opposite City Hall
http://www.cafeparis.net/en/home.html

Very good Bratwurst can be had on the go at Moe-Grill, i.e. the 2 stalls on Moenckebergstr next to C&A and Goertz shoes or at their new outfit on Jungfernstieg at the exit/entrance to the subway station landside.

If you care more for an informal evening out, either try to get a table at Bullerei by Tim Maelzer, who has a reputation in Germany similar to Jamie Oliver. He operates a very informal place in Schanzenviertel, an ethnic neighbourhood sporting an unbelievable density of bars for later in the evening - or enjoy perfectly chilled dry Jever Pilsener and decent food in a young and informal setting at Elbe 76, a neighbourhood bar in a very nice residential neighbourhood halfway between your hotel and Schanzenviertel (with a minor detour) - and venture into Schanzenviertel from there (cab). Definitely not touristy - and one of my former favourite hangouts. Neither is probably spectacular, but both are enjoyable on a casual night with friends and attract a not too old clientele.
http://www.bullerei.com/
http://www.elbe76.de/index.php?article_id=1

The Miniatur-Wunderland is great! It is a model-railway of amazing scale with landscaping that is so detailed that one has to love it. A lot of love and humour has gone into the exhibit. It is housed in one of the old red-brick former warehouses in the port. Opposite it is the Kesselhaus, which shows a model of the HafenCity, Europe's currently biggest urbanisation project in which Hamburg doubles the size of its inner city - right in the port. There is some nice modern architecture there.

If the weather is nice, maybe combine your tour of the port later with a stroll along Strandweg from Oevelgoenne to Blankenese along the river shore and the beach. It is lined with picturesque little old captain's houses. You can then climb the hills (yes, even in Northern Germany there are a few quite steep hills) of Blankenese through pedestrian only small alleys and maybe take a break on Suellberg, which offers a vast view of the river.
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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 03:09 PM
  #334  
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That's great restaurant info, hsv, thanks so much! In fact, we passed Cafe de Paris tonight -- I remember noticing it. In fact, I thought of you tonight when I saw a big neon sign on a building, saying hsv or hvs.

We drove through the HafenCity area on the bus yesterday and yes, there's some very interesting architecture there!
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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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GTG- I am feeling much better. Just wanted to say my father's paternal grandparents were born in Hamburg! (Meyer is my maiden name. Think it would be hard to find a few of those? hahah My brother is Frederick, my uncle was Frederick, my grandfather was Frederick! hahaha)

Sounds like you're having a blast. How lucky you are!!!
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Old Oct 13th, 2010, 10:34 PM
  #336  
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Possibly HSV - it's the abbreviation for Hamburger Sport Verein (Hamburg Sporting Club), the nation's only team to always have played football at the highest national level. Its symbol is a black and white rhombus on blue backgorund and is, without anz wording, one of the widest recognised logos in German sport.
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 04:21 AM
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I read that the source of food poisoning can occur even 5 days before one gets sick. Anyone else hear that? I always thought it happened within 48 hours.

sarge, I had the same thing happen with the shakes and then illness. Had had a box lunch at some function 4 or 5 days before and that was the only thing different. It won't happen in Italy!

Take care everyone.
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Old Oct 14th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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The couple of times I've had food poisoning the time frame was the same -- about 3 or 4 hours. It may depend on your particular physiology too.

So...Hamburg. Today we went on a tour of the port and boy, was it ever interesting! It's GIANT and had GIANT things in it including cranes that look like something out of Star Wars. I must have taken about a million pictures (about 990,00 of which will have to be deleted because I'm such a poor photographer). I'm so glad we went back and did it.

After the tour we had delicious lunch at the Fischhaus, downstairs. Both of us had steamed salmon (what I would call poached) with dill sauce and noodles. I'd certainly go back there again, if we had more time here. After lunch we walked up through some side streets and then along the Reeperbahn (which was quiet as a church on a weekday afternoon), stopped in to see the lovely St. Michaelis church, and all the way to the town hall and then along the pedestrian streets near the central train station.

We were supposed to go swing dancing on a boat tonight but neither of us felt like rushing back to the hotel to relax in a hurry (isn't that an oxymoron?), change and then rush to the port again, so we decided to skip that. Later on, we'll chose one of hsv's suggestions and have a relaxing dinner.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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Well, we were so pooped last night that we ended up having dinner in the neighbourhood. We'd walked passed Restaurant Brodersen a dozen times so last night we thought we'd give it a try (it was also a trusty Fodorite suggestion) and it was charming and reasonably priced and the food was very good. Afterwards, we had a drink in the hotel lobby and listened to a little jazz trio.

Today we took the subway back down to the port area to see the Miniatur Wunderland. To be honest, I was kind of half-hearted about it. I thought it was going to be corny and silly. Well. My dears. It was GREAT! It's absolutely enormous and the miniatures are amazing and sometimes very funny. The miniatures are so tiny (a 6" man would be less than 1") and the scenes were huge and incredibly detailed, automated and lit. Periodically, the lights in the various rooms would dim to nighttime and all the city and traffic lights would come on. It was quite beautiful. The tiny people were so lifelike in their poses and the scenes were so intricate and often funny (the couple having sex in the bushes at the rock concert, the foiled tunneling bank robbers not realizing the police were just waiting for them to break through into the vault, the pornographer at the Cafe Honig, the family of penguins waiting for the train). You really have to see this to understand how amazing it is. SO loved the room where the airport (with planes landing and taking off) was still being planned and under construction. We were there for almost three hours and only left because we were exhausted. We could easily have stayed for a few more hours. My only complaint is that sometimes the crowd just stopped at a scene or an event and didn't seem to move along but I think we did that too. If I ever move to Hamburg, I want to work as an artist for the Miniatur Wunderland. (If I ever live in Venice, I want to paint masks.)

Tonight was the final party for the conference and it was very nice. Coincidentally, it was held in the same converted warehouse building as the Miniatur Wunderland, so we came right back to where we started this afternoon. The place was really done up beautifully, there was a delicious buffet and a live band and dancing. All in all, a nice evening which we topped off with a drink in the hotel lobby, listening to a different trio tonight.

Tomorrow is our last day here but we don't leave till late afternoon. Someone at the party gave us the directions to a farmer's market and we may do that, unless you've got any better suggestions for us.
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Old Oct 15th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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Oh, GTG. Sounds like you had a perfectly lovely time! I can't wait to see the pics!

Have a safe trip "home". (Have you seen the news about Maitaitom? Look for my post.)

Gute nacht!
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