Although we stayed five days in Hamburg we saw very little of the city. We were there to attend the wedding of daughter Suzi’s cousin, Gregor and his lovely bride, Bettina, whom we met several years ago when they visited us in Santa Rosa.

We also wanted to visit Eva’s school friend, Karin, from long ago, and her husband, Egbert. Everything else we did was trivial. No museums, no churches, etc. We didn’t even go downtown, or visit either of two Apple stores. Geez, what is our trip coming to?

Our first order of business when we arrive in a new place is to locate our roost, be it a nice hotel or otherwise. This time the bridegroom had suggested staying in a hostel type place located in his favorite part of the city, Altona, and near most of the wedding events. What a delightful place it turned out to be, with the speediest internet connection of any place we have found so far. And of course, the breakfast was excellent, too.

Our Hamburg Hostel, a first rate place to stay

Our Hamburg Hostel, a first rate place to stay

It didn’t take long for us to start exploring the neighborhood.

Altona night life is on the streets

Altona night life is on the streets

We see all sorts when we walk around

We see all sorts when we walk around

One of many sculptures adding interest to a well used plaza

One of many sculptures adding interest to a well used plaza

The bane of walking the streets of Europe is constantly confronting cobblestones. Hard on the feet but pleasant to the eye, here’s a nice example of well-laid stones.

Cobblestones as an art form

Cobblestones as an art form

We took the subway and bus whenever we could, to save our feet from excessive wear and tear.

Everybody has a "Handy"

Everybody has a “Handy”

Although this is not an uncommon event, a group of four jazz players hopped on the subway at one stop, played quite a fine selection of music, stopped, passed the hat and left the train at the next stop, in time to catch the train heading the other way. What a way to earn a living.

Music group plays to captive audience

Music group plays to captive audience

Hamburg is a big, big city. Nothing could keep it from springing back to life after being wasted in the war. There was great opportunity to rebuild in fine fashion, and there still is as renewal continues, both along the waterfront and in seedy areas such as the Reeperbahn.

Next morning the harbor was calling so we found leafy ways to get there.

One route to the harbor

One route to the harbor

A fraction of the harbor devoted to container shipping

A fraction of the harbor devoted to container shipping

Big and small enjoy the ride

Big and small enjoy the ride

Here are some examples of new buildings I saw during a trip on a river ferry.

Brick fits in well with many old buildings

Brick fits in well with many old buildings

A highrise

A highrise

Lots of glass

Lots of glass

Maybe it looks like a ship

Maybe it looks like a ship

Now the time came to take the fast train to the very edge of Hamburg to visit Eva’s schoolfriend, Karin.

Time for a light lunch at Karin's

Time for a light lunch at Karin’s

Egbert does the honors

Egbert does the honors

Finally we got to see Eva’s brother, who has lived most of his life in Hamburg.

Eva's brother, Rolf

Eva’s brother, Rolf

They had lots to talk about, especially related to old family matters, as Rolf is quite the family historian.

Review of family papers and photos

Review of family papers and photos

Rolf can be quite the entertainer.

Brother and sister

Brother and sister

Suzi and I were left to cool our heels at the dockside where we met in any way we wished. We took the easy route.

An ever pleasant pastime

An ever pleasant pastime

In the evening the wedding party met for dinner overlooking the harbor. Shortly after we all got seated on the terrace a huge thunderstorm struck us and sent us scurrying to find seating indoors. A deluge ensued but most of us avoided being soaked. I put my iPad away so got no more photos, except one of the lovely bride to be, Bettina, with Suzi.

Bettina, bride to be

Bettina, bride to be

Next day we attended an ever so nice wedding in Altona’s historic church, followed by a sightseeing cruise on the River Elbe. As we were just back in harbor another fierce thunderstorm attacked, with many of us fortunately finding refuge in a little waterside bar.

Not far away, we walked to the banquet hall where we were confronted with a feast fit for royalty. The bride and groom were hosts of the first rank. Partying lasted until dawn, but my little family slipped away at midnight on the last bus home.

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