We have never been to Germany, aside from several plane changes in Frankfurt, which doesn’t count, and a sail in the Kiel canal. So it was a pleasure to sail into Bremerhaven. First of all, along the way, the Danish and German coastlines are lined with hundreds, perhaps thousands of offshore windmills. At night you can see red lights on them. We learned that Germany has a goal of 50% renewable energy and has 6 huge offshore windmill parks, some onshore as well but not as many.
We had to get up very early for our trip to Hamburg, it is a 2 hour trip and with some traffic, it took us 2 1/2. On the way we stopped at a highway station for a restroom break. This was unlike any toilet I have ever seen. It cost 70 euros, about 77 cents US. After you flush, the entire toilet seat rotates around through a washing system. Definitely worth 70 euros! I didn’t take a video though!
The trip on the autobahn was interesting, there are no speed limits so cars can go up to 130 mph. Interestingly, there are no more accidents there than any other European country. They do look in their rear view mirrors a lot, though, as the Porsches come up fast!
We had a city tour and a river boat trip in Hamburg. It is the 7th biggest harbor in the world and many container ships come in there.
The river boat was on the Alster river and the Alster lake. Beautiful mansions line the river and there are many sailing clubs along the lake. We saw sailing lessons in many place, standup paddleboards, crew rowing and day sail boats. There are no motorboats allowed in the lake except the riverboats.
There are beautiful art nouveau buildings and many brick buildings, some from the 17th century that survived bombing and fires.
The city hall is a wonderful building, the courtyard in the middle has a lovely fountain and there is a restaurant in there too.
St Michael’s church has an interesting story. For many years, a trumpeter played in all 4 directions from the clock tower twice a day. Then the church ran out of money to pay and they stopped it. Years ago, a young boy from a poor family didn’t have a confirmation suit, and the church provided one. He went on to America and became rich, when he died, he left a great deal of money to this church, remembering what they did for him. The church used it to re-start the trumpet tradition.
There are 4 organs in the church and the pulpit is a work of art!
We had two wonderful guides and it was a lovely, warm summer day. A few more things we learned about Germany: Both mothers and fathers get 18 months of leave when they have a child, the mother takes the first 18 months and the father the second.
We did ask Lars about how the German people feel about the holocaust – do they feel guilty? He is a young man, and here is how he answered: When I would feel guilty is if I didn’t do my best to tell people about it so it will never happen again. About 1% of the people do believe in the Nazi way and he fears it is getting a bit stronger.
We ended the day sailing out of Bremerhaven where a tall ship festival was taking place. About 20 ships sailed right by us as we left and many more were tied up at the harbor.