Epic Summer Vacation Part 9 – Hamburg, Germany

Our cruise ended on the 4th of July in Hamburg Germany. It was kind of sad to be over seas on the 4th of July. Other than a “Happy 4th of July” from the cruise director as we disembarked there was no trace of the holiday.

We made our way off the ship and to our hotel. We got checked in and did some online catching up as we had not had wifi in a number of days. Then we walked to Mindways Segway – in the Hafen City area of Hamburg. We had a 3 hour tour and got a very good overview of the city. Hamburg seems to be a very nice city – at least the areas of it I saw. It was clean and seemed safe. The only negatives is that there was a lot of graffiti and there were a lot of smokers… This I noticed on the ship as well…. Our official cruise began and ended in Hamburg Germany so consequently the passengers were predominantly German. I had never been on a cruise were most of the passengers were not speaking English and I had never been on a cruise were there were so many people taking advantage of the smoking areas on the port side of the ship. In Hamburg it was worse as it is acceptable to smoke anywhere outside, so you could not walk around the city without taking in some second hand smoke…

Back to the Segway tour – we had a very thorough training for the 6 of us who went and our leader guided us and showed us the sights in English…. I had been careful to reserve an English speaking tour…

On Wednesday the 5th we walked to St Michael’s Cathedral. It was only a half mile from our hotel. They offered visitors to climb the stairs or take the elevator up to the top of their tower…. It was stairs for me. The view from the top was breath taking. We were also fortunate to discover that they had an organ concert that evening. Cheryl is an organist (though now our church uses a key board) and loves organ concerts. We made plans to go back in the evening for the concert.

Next we went to the harbor docks area, found some lunch and booked a harbor tour. Again, if you book any tour in Hamburg be sure to ask for one in English – they only  offered one English tour a day! The port,by the way, is not on the coast of Germany. Hamburg is Germany’s largest and one of Europe’s largest ports and it is 130 km (80 miles) inland on the Elbe river. The tour took us up close to some of the container ships that were being loaded/unloaded…. amazing.

That afternoon, while Cheryl took a rest, I decided to go for a run. It was an exploratory run with a purpose. Our thinking was to go to the organ concert and then go to Park Planen un Blomen for their 10pm water fountain show. I knew where the park was on the map, but not exactly where the fountain show was. I wanted to see if it would be too or if the neighborhoods between the show and the hotel might not seem safe for a late evening walk back to the hotel…

As I ran toward the park I noticed more and more of a police presence. As I got to the first section of the park the police were seemingly everywhere. As I tried to make it to the next section of the park – the police had it completely blocked off. I tried to make my away around to another entrance but all were barricaded and manned with police. It turned out that the G20 summit was to be held in or adjacent to that section of the park. There would be no fountain show till after the summit. So I made my way back to the hotel…

Later we took a roundabout walk to the concert. We explored the old Elbe Tunnel on the way. This is an old auto tunnel under the river. They have a single car elevator (now just pedestrians and bicycles) going 8 stories down so you can walk or ride under the river.

The police were also very present in the harbor area (where we had our tour, lunch, dinner, and where the tunnel was located – 1/4 mile from our hotel).

At the concert we had the option of sitting in the balcony of the old church. This was awesome. We have visited quite a few old churches and they usually only let you see the main floor and maybe the tower. The concert was very good. It was classical music, and the organist was supposed to be quite renown. They had 3 organs each located in a different wing (cross shaped building) of the balcony. He would play a song and then calmly walk to the next. The audience of a couple hundred were absolutely  silent, not even applauding….. not until he had finished his final song and then they (we) applauded for a good 3 or 4 minutes…   (click on  and expand the bottom picture, it is a panorama of the church from our view in the front row of the balcony.)

On Thursday, we got up and walked to the first section of the park to check out all the flora. Then we headed to the Alster lake to take a boat tour, then to a Spice museum Cheryl thought might be interesting…

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About 4 pm we headed back to the harbor area to get an early dinner… They were closing up. Lots of people were milling about… Lots of police were milling about… Cars and other police vehicles were lined up on the street. There was NO other vehicle traffic.. we headed back to the hotel and found a quick bite along the way.

We turned on BBC on our hotel TV and found that there were protests going on over the G20 summit. They did not show exactly where they were located, but I could tell from the background pictures and the sound of helicopters overhead that they were not far away. I believe they were half a mile to a mile down the river front. We watched the tv late into the evening and worried about riots while stuck in a hotel in a foreign city. Eventually the protesters moved the St Pauli area still only a mile or so away, but we no longer heard helicopters.

Friday we got up at 4 to catch a cab at 5 to get to the airport and catch a 7:20 flight to London. We had a 5 or 6 hour layover in London (fortunately we had free passed to the United Airlines Lounge with free food, drinks, wifi…. ) And then a 8 hour flight home. We arrived LAX and got through customs and out to the street before 5pm. Our pastor and friend Darrell picked us up. We fought the Friday evening traffic, got some dinner and got home after 8:30…. It was long day. Hamburg is 8 hours ahead of California time. So, by the time we got to bed at almost 10 we had been up almost 26 hours.

One thought on “Epic Summer Vacation Part 9 – Hamburg, Germany

  1. I really enjoyed reading all your Epic Summer Vacation posts. The photos were fantastic! I am amazed you were able to run as many miles as you did.

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