Trip Start Feb 26, 2009
Trip End Mar 13, 2009

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Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, March 9, 2009

   We had our best breakfast yet at the hotel - buns, jam, bacon, eggs . . .  We left Bremerhaven and drove the two hours to Hamburg.  It is another large harbor - lots of ships and drydocks.  We drove down through the Elb River Tunnel under the river (duh!) and found Claudia's friends - Steffi and Sven - and their apartment around 15.30 or so.  After meeting up with them and making the introductions, we sat around and had some coffee to figure out what to do.  They had a nice late night of partying the night before, so low-key was in order.  Steffi, Claudia, and I went out to catch a subway (the U-Bahn, which I Anglicized as the U-BAN) to get to the bus stop where we could get a bus tour of the city.
   Unfortunately, we missed the last bus and instead we did a walking tour of the city.  We walked along the river first, and then in through some of the canals.  Hamburg is called the Northern Venice, as it has canals through the city.  The sun was setting by the time we were taking our tour, and it gave all the buildings a bright orange tint.  We made our way through Hamburg and arrived at the Rathaus, which; as in every other city so far; was impressive.  From there we walked to the Inner Alster, which is part of a man-made lake in Hamburg on the River Alster.  It was a great tour of the city with good sights and good weather!
   By the time we got back to the apartment it was time for dinner!  We went to a Tapas Bar and completely pigged out on a huge assortment of tapas and their accompanying sauces . . . delicious!  After dinner we drove around some more, where we drove through the Reeperbahn, which is Hamburg's red light district.  Since it was a Sunday night, there wasn't all that much going on, and Sven and I did not go through the main street where only men are allowed.  Since I stick out as an American tourist anyway, it would have been an uncomfortable situation as I wasn't there shopping . . . . it's one of those places where they get mad at you if you look but don't touch . . . 
   So from there we got some Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream and went back to the apartment for a great finish to a wonderful day!  Thanks to Steffi and Sven for the great hospitality!
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