Saturday, May 5, 2012


Continuing our thrilling series about day trips you could have made in the early 1980's if you were in Hamburg and it was Sunday when everything was shut down and you wanted to go somewhere, one option might have been to visit Stade, a small town half-way up the Elbe to Cuxhaven.

My main motivation in this case was to gratify my interest in North German baroque pipe organs, many of which are equal to their Dutch counterparts, the world's biggest and best. My primary destination therefore was the church of St. Cosmae et Damiani. (German saints often seem more foreign-sounding than those found in England. Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers martyred somewhere in Turkey 303BC resisting Diocletian's persecutions.)

Cosmas and Damian would have certainly enjoyed the Arp Schnitger organ built before 1688, which looked like it was about to bust through its containing wall. You can hear it yourself on YouTube, for example right here.

Stade itself is afflicted with a severe case of Puppenhaus-Romantik (Dollhouse romanticism). You get this in many places in Germany, and it is seriously annoying.

It's all done up for the tourists of course, since house-paint didn't exist before the 20th-century.

North Germany was largely atomized during the bombing raids of  WWII, but apparently this water tower in Cuxhaven escaped Allied attention, and there are some interesting constructions dating from the turn of the 20th century. But why would a water tower have windows?

And from the same period a couple nice houses either renovated or built in quasi-Jugendstil, although I think it would be more fun to live in the water tower. I can't remember if these houses were in Stade or Cuxhaven.


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