Fear the Reeper
Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
40Trip End Jul 15, 2010
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For our convenience, the Institute booked a room for us in a hotel a couple of blocks from the Institute. We checked out of the Holiday Inn Express and checked into Hotel Hanseport, just a few blocks from the wharf. To get there we took the Metro to the Reeperbahn district of Hamburg. The district is in the St. Pauli area, which is famous for its beer (Astra, “St. Pauli Girl”), and boasts a popular “foosball” team (soccer for you Yanks & Canucks), whose logo is a pirate (Arrrrgh!!!).
Now, before I go on, you may want to send the kids away for a couple of minutes. The Reeperbahn district is well known for its, uh, shops and businesses catering to those folks with a wander lust – they're feeling lusty, so they wander into the Reeperbahn district. You can’t miss our hotel- it is across the street from the Boutique de Sade (no kidding). I had flashbacks of my Moulin Rouge adventures in the Pigalle neighborhood in Paris (see earlier post).
The Reeperbahn district has a slightly less seedy history. “Reeperbahn” means “rope makers’ way” – and ships need lots of rope – for netting, lines, keel hauling, and tying up drunken sailors so they don’t fall overboard. In the 18th and 19th centuries, a lot of hempen rope was produced there. Before they were famous, The Beatles cut their musical teeth in Hamburg in the early 1960’s, mainly playing clubs in the Reeperbahn, such as The Indira Club, The Kaiserkeller, and The Top Ten Club. We took a stroll down Große Freiheit Strasse where the Kaiserkeller still stands. The names of musicians who have performed there over the decades are written on the front facade of the club. The name of the street, Große Freiheit means “Great Freedom”. As a result of the Reformation, largely Protestant Hamburg had outlawed practice of the Catholic faith. The street was named in 1610 when Catholics were allowed to practice their faith in the district.