About 2 hours after leaving the ferry from Denmark we arrive in Hamburg. The Michelin Maps gave us excellent directions
into town. Of course we still managed to take a wrong turn somewhere in the city. No big deal, in fact, we got a
nice drive around Hamburg while looking for the hotel. The SAS Radisson Hotel is probably the highest building in Hamburg, so it didn't
take long to find. The car went safely into the parking garage and we went out to explore.
I had heard that Hamburg was a nice city. At least that's how Hamburg advertises itself, but I am sure
Detroit describes itself as a nice city as well. I had pictured Hamburg as some giant industrial city ala something out of
Terry Gilliam's Brazil.
Well I was wrong. The city is beautiful. World class shopping. Great parks, nice architecture. Our hotel was
right next to Hamburg's most famous park - Planten un Blomen. We really could have needed an extra day. I wanted
to take Sonja to the Hagenbeck Zoo, but there just wasn't enough time. We did, however, have a stroll around the Binnenalster
Binnenalster is the smaller of the two main lakes that dominate central Hamburg. Aussenalster is the much larger lake.
A lot sail boats dotted Aussenalster.Both lakes are actually man made which would explain why at its deepest,
Aussenalster is only about 8 feet deep. I would be surprised if Binnenalster is much deeper.
Like Venice (and of course Goteborg!), Hamburg has several canals (why are Italian cities only famous for having canals?). We did some
shopping - I bought some boots. We'll have to go back to Hamburg one day and finish what we started.
Time to get the Volvo out of the hotel garage and drive to Bremen. Back on the Autobahn (A1 still). The right
lane was one long line of trucks.A third lane between Hamburg and Bremen is needed. Time to get off A1 (aka E22)
and head north towards Osterholz and onwards to Bremerhaven on A27/E234.
Finding the port area was easy (once again thanks to Michelin Maps online). Finding a car wash to get the
bugs off the car was not. Eventually we find a self-wash at a Shell station in Bremerhaven.
Into the city of cars we go. Around 50,000 cars were either waiting to be shipped out or had arrived from other
ports to be shipped around Europe. It was a huge complex. After completing some paperwork and doing a visual inspection
of the car we bid her adieu.
I stroll around in amazement looking at the sea of new cars as we wait for taxi to pick us up. The loud taxi driver (who was
he yelling at on his cell??) dropped us off at the train station just in time (with three minutes to spare) to get
the express train back to Hamburg via Bremen. In fact we change trains in Bremen. A couple of hours later we are back
in Hamburg, but without the car.
4 hours to kill before the night train to Paris. We find a nice little pub to grab some grub. I talked with
some Norwegians outside of the pub who said they just made reservations to eat there. Good enough for me.
Yet another taxi rides takes us to the Altona train station for the train to Paris.
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