From Hamburg, Germany

We got to the big city, Hamburg, Germany on Monday after a long day of traffic jams, family obligations, then settling in. Babette’s brother Sascha and his new wife Maren have a great appartment in Hamburg (photos forthcoming), a nice bike ride or short train trip into city center.

The way to get around Hamburg is to use a bike, otherwise you’re likely to get caught in the traffic; but, the city is made for bikes unlike any big city in the states. In Hamburg bikes go along a special lane on the side walk, and pedestrians have to look both way before crossing that bike lane, otherwise they could get clipped.

Speaking of bikes . . . we had a little altercation with a bike messenger yesterday. Looking back on it the event was kind of funny, even though we almost came to blows. It started when Babette and I were waiting at a light and next to this person who appeared to be a bike messenger, and Babette started to chat him up. Years ago Babette was a bike messenger in Hamburg and she was just trying to be friendly, but this guy was acting weird and ignoring her. Finally he turned his head, said something rude (in German), then Babette cursed him and said she was only trying to be friendly. The situation got worse from there when he spit on Babette as she was riding away. I then got off my bike and went after him, chasing him away from Babette (he had run after her). Okay, here’s the funny part: this tough guy bike messenger threatened to call the cops! I almost started laughing right in his face, it was so comical. I guess we got a little flavor from the streets, which is okay by me.

. . .

In my entire time in Germany thus far I haven’t seen an SUV. Not one. It isn’t surprising because the roads are too narrow.

The perfect beer in Germany should take 7 minutes to pour, with the head having a prescribed height (all beer glasses have a mark on the side indicating the level where the head should begin). When it comes to beer, this attention to detail seems like a good thing.

Air conditioning either doesn exist or is on very little.

Ah, time to go . . .