But luckily we brought back with us a selection of our best pictures from Hamburg, most of which we took from the top of St Michaelis Church. We innocently walked into the church as we were exploring the streets of Hamburg along with a fellow filmmaker from Malaysia (look for his film Tiger Factory in theaters near you) and as we were about to exit, he noticed a sign that said “To the Tower.” Following the sign, we stumbled upon two old smiling ladies, just out of a fairytale book, serving water on the bottom of the stairs. We were very thirsty so we asked if we could have some water. They smiled, nodded but then pointed up and suggested that we might want to wait and drink when we actually come back from the top of the tower… that’s when we should have known!
After ten minutes going up a very narrow and very steep spiral stone stairway, we thought we had reached the top when in fact we had only managed to make it to the first level. We passed the bells, and got to some scary wooden stairs that looked like they were hanging in thin air. After another ten minutes climbing on those stairs, Olia turned towards Sarah and said: “Please tell my kids I love them!”
But the view was worth all the efforts! We will let you judge from the pictures…
The best souvenir we brought with us from Hamburg is a bottle of “Lemberg” wine that almost brought Olia to tears when she saw it.
Lemberg (also known as Lviv, Lvov, Lwow, etc) was the capital of Galicia and is now a major city in Western Ukraine. It’s also incidentally the city where Olia is from.
Here is the story behind the Lemberg wine, as told to us by Benjamin Geissler, a German filmmaker:
Apparently, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Lemberg used to be known for its big wineries until Maria-Theresa decided to get rid of the alcoholism problem once and for all and cut all of the wineries. But there was one man who truely loved the Lemberg grapes so he rescued a few vines and brought them to northern Germany.
That’s why today, if you travel to Hamburg, you can easily find bottles of Lemberg wine at any local grocery store.
PS: it tastes good and it’s not expensive.
Here is another selection of pictures, this time from the ground…