Published: April 14th 2009April 14th 2009
That Skinny Bridge
Sat 4 April: Heavy fog outside all around the ship, visibility is likely to remain poor; we are in the North Sea! I found a German FM radio station playing easy listening music which maintained reception for a while. I’ve actually had very little joy from the short wave facility. The passage from Antwerp to the river mouth was short but completely hidden behind the grey fog and steely sea. We were on the Bridge as the pilot came on board from the (unusually) dual hull pilot vessel, which emerged suddenly from the gloom. PP estimated visibility as a mere 200 metres. Our passage down the Elbe was largely obscured. Before arriving at our dock, however, the vessel (with the help of two tugs) engaged in a fantastic backwards maneuver. The ship was turned 180 degrees in a relatively narrow channel then towed backwards through a narrow bridge to the wharf. Rickmers own their dock in Hamburg and it is big enough to accommodate several of her vessels, all of which must enter this way, but today we were alone. We arrived around 8pm so the main exercise happened in daylight but also in dense mist. Shortly after berthing the
Captain came to our cabin to advise that immigration had cleared us and we could go ashore now if we liked. Being around 10pm we declined but he sounded like he would certainly go if he could because Hamburg ‘rocks’ on a Saturday night (no doubt). He provided us with a detailed map showing where we were docked and how to get into the city area using the underground, all very helpful information which we would have liked to have had in our other ports.
Sun 5 April: We four passengers shared a taxi into town, Craig recommended a hotel near the central station. He had all his stuff (not much considering his 4 months at sea) because having successfully ‘circumcised’ the globe he would be leaving us in Hamburg. We checked in and dumped our bags, and walked into the town area. Shops would not open till 1pm and John had requested help with buying a laptop. We returned later to a huge store called Saturn which for some wild and inexplicable reason did not take any form of credit card. We speculated on the huge sums of cash they would accumulate in a day’s trading (tempting thieves) and
the sales they would forgo, including John’s, by this technique. We stopped for a coffee and walked to an area of the river called Binnenalster so I could talk to the ducks, which I did at length. We later stopped at a bar for a few drinks, walked some more, found a café near the hotel to have an early dinner and finally had to say goodbye, most reluctantly, to Craig. Bon voyage dear new friend, we will miss you!
Inclusive hotel breakfast was a well arrayed spread of fresh fruit, berry compote, yoghurt, assorted breads, cheeses, cold meats and eggs; very German, very tasty. We decided another night on shore would be a good idea. We had a busy day, wandering more of the town, buying a few requirements, taking drinks at a little outdoor bar, dinner and back to the room. On our first day the bleak weather had lifted by the afternoon to struggling sunshine but by the second day it was bright, sunny, spring conditions all day. Hamburg is clearly not a ‘tourist’ town, many places did not have credit card facilities and waiters often spoke very little English. There are no specific ‘highlights’ that we
The City Centre
John the Pom and PP
could see that are particularly promoted for visitors. It is a clean, well ordered and handsome city which we really enjoyed visiting.
Achtung!! Ze mizzen, she will be downflungkerplonken!! Ze plank, she will be pokenouttensidenschippen!! Ve vill be making ze “schwab” gettflingingkersplashengettenwetten from ze plank!! How you say zis - “avast” nonsense??!! I cannot see properly for all of this mist - but zis Craig has deserted us, schweinhundt!! Gott in Himmel!! Ve vill not be denied - ze hundts are downnosennsmellen himm now, he vill not get away!! (At least I am sure we will catch up with Craig again! Sometime soon, we hope.)
There are more photos below