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Published: June 28th 2018
Today is going to be a better day! Got up early so I could travel into the city with Christiane. First we went to her office building and went to the 14th floor to see the views over the city. We then headed to Cafe Paris which is a very beautiful cafe in the heart of the city. We had a very nice breakfast with more food than I could eat, so did the old traveller trick of putting some cheese into the croissant and wrapping it up for later.
Christiane headed off to work and I walked around the Town Hall (Rathaus), which is a very impressive building. From here I jumped on the HopOn HopOff bus to get my bearings of the city. Hamburg has these two beautiful lakes and this tour went all the way around them. Christiane lives very close to the big lake and hence, very close to the city. I decided to leave the bus at the harbour and then booked onto a harbour cruise. This was a very interesting tour as Hamburg is a major trade port for Europe. I enjoyed learning all about the loading of containers onto and off the ships
in port. They are very efficient here in Hamburg - there is even one wharf that is completely automated, even the cars don't have drivers.
After the harbour cruise, which went for an hour, I rejoined the HopOn HopOff bus and toured the rest of the city. There are many beautiful buildings and with the sun now shining, it amplified the beauty even more. After the bus tour finished back at the Town Hall, I walked down the main shopping street and back. There was a nice square with food stalls and bars that had outdoor seating and a big screen (for the soccer, of course) which I sat at for a while, enjoying the sunshine.
From here I walked to the remains of the St Nikolai (St Nicholas) cathedral. This cathedral was bombed by The Allies in WW11 and all that remained was the spire and the nave. It is a truely remarkable structure that now has an elevator that takes you up 75 meters to the lookout level, which gives you great views over the city. This spire was, at that time, the tallest in the whole of Europe and they say the allies left it
standing on purpose as it gave them a landmark to aim for. The entire neighborhood surrounding this cathedral was completely annihilated. I was impressed with the wording on the signs inside the church which put things in perspective. I have included a photo of this.
After exploring the remains of this cathedral I headed to Christiane's office to meet her. We walked to the square I had found previously to see if we could watch the Australia v Peru game but unfortunately (or fortunately now knowing the result) they were showing the other game - France v Sweden. As it was a beautiful sunny day we decided to jump into a cab and head to a little bar Christiane knew which was located on the big lake. The bar is called Alsterperle, which means 'Pearl of the Lake'. What an amazing place! Very casual, mostly locals but great beer and a sausage sizzle! Well, they don't call it that but same same. We had a big beer with a bratwurst sausage accompanied by a potato salad. The soccer was on the TV which was par for course in every cafe/restaurant/bar and I saw the score of the Australian game
We spent a few hours at this bar as we both loved the atmosphere and the Aperol Spritz. These long summer nights make you lose all track of time and we had a lot of fun catching up. Eventually we decided to head to another bar that was in Christiane's neighborhood called Cafe Liebings. This is the kind of bar where everyone knows each other and the man that owns it, runs it. It was so lovely being welcomed here and we sat outside and had a very nice gin & tonic which was from Italy and was made from lemons.
As you can see, a much better day than the previous one!
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