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Published: July 13th 2013
My friend Thais...
... and her husband Andre on board of a boat on the Alster Lake.
Right the day after my return from Finland, my old friend Thais from Brazil came to Hamburg with her family. Thais and I have known each other for almost all of our lifetime. She is Brazilian, but we met while she was living in Germany with her family. I was three and she was four years old at the time, and she lived just across the street from me. We became very good friends and I was really sad when they went back to Brazil when I was twelve. However, we stayed in touch, and she came to visit me in 2001, and the same year I went to visit her. We had not seen each other since then and I had not met her husband Andre yet. I had been invited to their wedding, but I was in Australia at the time. And I had not met her four year old son Matheus yet. She came to Germany because both of her brothers are working in Germany at the moment, one in Stuttgart and one in Homburg.
The Thursday morning after returning from Finland I went to the office because of a big client project that is currently going
... their little son.
on and because of a congress that I still needed to prepare for. At noon, I left the office and picked up Thais and her family (Andre and Matheus, Thais’ mum and her aunt, and Thais’ brother Pedro and his wife Juliana) from the train station, where they had arrived from Berlin. It was just awesome to see her, and although we had not seen each other for twelve years, there was no awkward feeling at all. It was as if no time had passed. I guess that’s what it’s like when you have known each other for almost all of your lives 😊.
The weather was nice, so we had lunch outside and then went for a stroll down the Mönckebergstraße to the Town Hall and Binnenalster, then continued to the Landungsbrücken, where we caught the ferry and went all the way to Finkenwerder on the other side of the river Elbe. This is a nice tour because it gives a good impression of the city, and if you have a day ticket for public transport in the city, it is free (because it is part of public transport).
Friday morning, I had to go to the
Thais' mum, her aunt, her brother and his wife, and of course Thais, on our trip to Blankenese by bus.
office again and later attend a presentation given by a project group from a university of applied sciences in Hamburg we work with, but then I went to join Thais and her family in the Miniaturwunderland, the model train exhibition in Hamburg. I go there at least once per year and always enjoy it a lot. They have modeled so many places in the world with so much love for detail that you discover something new every time you are there. They also keep on expanding the exhibition. My favourite part is the model of Hamburg Airport where airplanes take off and land.
On Saturday morning, we did a Fleetfahrt, that’s a boat trip that departs on the Binnenalster and takes you down the “Fleete” (the channels running from the Alster to the Elbe) and into the Speicherstadt, the part of the city where goods were stored in the old days (mainly coffee, tea, spices, and carpets). We had lunch in the Portuguese Quarter and then went up to the church tower of the St. Michaelis Church (called “Michel”), from where you have the best view of the city and the river.
On Sunday morning, my friends went
Queen Mary II
The picture was taken on a boat trip on the river Elbe. I would not want to "enjoy" this view on the open sea while sitting in a sailboat though ;-)
to the Fish Market in the early morning. I used the morning to get some work done and then met them later in the day. We went to the Spice Museum, where you learn how various spices from all over the world are grown and processed, and you can even touch, smell and taste them. Then we caught the bus no. 36 which goes all the way along the Elbchaussee with its beautiful villas to Blankenese. In Blankenese, there is a part of the city where houses can only be accessed via small paths and stairs, not by cars and not even by bikes. It is always a nice stroll in this area, there are beautiful houses, all of them facing the river Elbe. When it started pouring down with rain, we caught the train back to the city centre.
On Monday morning, I went to the office again, while Thais, Andre and Matheus went to the aquarium in Hagenbeck’s Tierpark (the local zoo) and the others went to Planten un Blomen (a park in the city centre). I invited them to my place for coffee because I wanted to show them my apartment. It was a nice afternoon,
View from the "Michel".
and of course I offered them various kinds of Franzbrötchen, a local specialty from Hamburg, a kind of sweet bread roll, super tasty.
Thais’ mum and aunt left early on Tuesday morning. I met with the others and took Thais, Andre and Matheus to the International Maritime Museum. Pedro and Juliana went to another museum that would have been boring for little Matheus. The Maritime Museum is fantastic, and I think you could easily spend a day there. There are ship models from different periods, uniforms, navigation equipment, pictures, other models… There are so many stories – how the first adventurers sailed around the world, how sails were improved to allow for more performance, how international trade was done in the old days, how a radar works, how you navigate using the sun and stars, and so on. As I said, we could easily have spent the whole day there, but we had to go back to the train station because Thais, Andre, Matheus, Pedro and Juliana had to catch their plane to Stuttgart.
I said goodbye to them at the train station, all happy about the great days we had had together. I had enjoyed every single
minute of it. It was a bit unfortunate that I had to work and had not been planned like this, but there had simply been too much left to do. Anyway, I am glad that they came and I am hoping that it will not take another twelve years until we see each other again. Thanks for coming, my dear friend Thais!
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