Saturday, June 20th and Sunday, June 21st
Almost all day on Saturday was spent traveling back to Hamburg, arriving there sometime around 10 pm. We had to take the train on the ferry again, and this time they even told us which deck to go to instead of letting us figure it out for ourselves. I also found out that there were two viewing decks, not just one. The hostel in Hamburg probably provided some of the worst sleep. They had a courtyard in between the set of buildings, which had great acoustics. Great enough that you could hear people out there all night long. Someone was yelling in German when I went to sleep. Someone was yelling in German when I woke up at 6 am. I am not sure why there were so many yelling people in Hamburg, but at least they are expressing themselves, I guess.
Leaving the hostel there was a plaque on the building that it had been part of the concentration camp in Hamburg. Really glad we didn’t see that before checking in.
It was Sunday, which apparently means that no stores in Germany are open. We found what looked to be the main shopping area in Hamburg, but none of the stores were open, just a few cafés here and there. That didn’t matter, we were trying to make our way towards the big park area lining one side of the city. We come across a church with a really large clock tower. I notice that there’s people at the top of the tower, so we decide to go investigate. It only costs a couple bucks to climb to the top, so we do that. It’s some 330 feet to the top, and we take the stair route because there’s a long line for the express elevator. It was a good tower to take the stairs. On one floor they had the clockworks for the tower. I wasn’t expecting them to be so large or have so many gears. The view from the top of the tower was worth the climb. You could see the entire city, and there was enough space that it wasn’t too crowded. The bells were ringing for noon as we walked towards the tower, and the 12:30 bell that went off while we were at the top made me thankful that I didn’t get to experience all of the noise for noon so closely. For some reason there wasn’t a long line for the elevator on the way down, but it did make it quick and easy to return to the bottom. I thought it was a bit funny that the elevator had a screen that showed the elevation and had an animation of where you were in the tower because the whole ride down only took a minute.
Heading back towards the train station, we came across a bombed out church. The main tower of the church was the only part left standing relatively intact and was undergoing some type of long term restoration. The opposite end the church was left as a shell, just a couple of walls and empty spots where windows used to be.
All of the exploration had built up quite an appetite. We came across a nice looking hamburger joint and decided to eat there. It turns out that hamburgers are taken pretty seriously in a city that shares its name with the sandwich. All ordering was done with an iPad that popped out of the table. The burger was delicious. As part of the tablet system, they had these plastic cards that you held up the the tablet screen to capture your order. At the end of the meal, you took that card over to the cash register to pay. It seemed a bit silly to me.
It was time to head back towards the train station. We had left our bags in a locker, so we retrieved them and went to the Deutsch Bahn office to make reservations for the train towards Berlin. The lady told us we didn’t need reservations since the train was completely within Germany. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake because the train was completely full, so I ended up sitting on the ground for the entire hour and 45 minute journey. It wasn’t all bad, as I could easily get up and stretch whenever I wanted, and I also had plenty of legroom. There were also plenty of other people without a seat.