April 25, 1878: Thursday – The Clemens family arrived at Hamburg and took rooms at the Crown Prince Hotel. Sam insisted that the family rest in Hamburg a week. They stayed five days. Livy wrote her mother on Apr. 26 that Hamburg “was the finest city I was ever in”.
Some sights Sam registered in his notebook:
Church St. Nicholai, very beautiful open-work stone spire (said to be next to the highest in the world) set upon a huge brick edifice. One account says this spire is the highest in the world. Well, no matter, the Church can claim one pre-eminence, I think, which cannot safely (successfully) be disputed—that inside it is the dismalest, barrenest, ugliest barn that exists in the boundless universe of God.
Haven’t seen or been accosted by a beggar. Haven’t seen a tramp—what luxury this is!
Got lost yesterday, wandered many miles & returned by water through the Alster.
Watched a man on spire of St. Petri 400 ft above ground to see him fall, as he was handling a heavy rope & wind blowing -- but was disappointed.
The bank in Hamburg was up a stable-yard, apparently. If ours were as modest they wouldn't fail so often, maybe.
Note: The family was only in Hamburg one known time–these five days in 1878, though Sam and Joe Twichell were there for two days Aug. 20 to 21, 1892; and Sam went again (alone?) on Aug. 25 and 26 to meet the Prince of Wales. Corelli, British novelist, would luncheon with Sam in 1907.
Link to Bædeker's 1873 description of Hamburg, Germany;
Bædeker remarks on the lack of antiquities in Hamburg. "Hamburg cannot boast of architectural monuments or scientific or other collections commensurate with its wealth and antiquity. The history of the city, together with the enterprising character of its inhabitants, sufficiently account for the almost entire disappearance of all relics of the past, and its thoroughly modern aspect." Twain seconds this opinion in regards to Hamburg's hacks. "Every town in the world has its peculiar hack.--The hacks of Hamburg, Hanover & Cassel are different--so are those of London and Edinburgh. Why is this? Hamburg has the best & the worst. Its oldest are its only antiquities."