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Stop #04: Hamburg, Germany

By David Morris

Arrival

So we arrive at Hamburg late in the day.  After getting our bags, we proceed to an information desk to get instructions on how to get to our hotel via the local public transportation.  Luckily, Kirk, a brother we met on the flight, was rondez-vous-ing with a local sister, Eva, and we all ended up on the same train.  So with many friendly smiles, she helped us to actually get to the hotel.


Hamburg City Tour

The next day, we had an arranged bus tour of the city and the following pictures were taken mostly from the bus but also a couple of stationary pictures were taken.  I made notes of all the locations that I wanted to return to on my own.  After the tour, about 10-ish buses of friends met together for a very good lunch then we took our separate buses back to our respective hotels.

Hamburg Walk About

That evening, I decided to use the rest of the day to wander around the Hamburg town hall myself.  Almost all the locations I wanted to return to were within walking distance from town hall.  Apparently, we just kept driving back and forth through the city like spokes on a wheel.  Unforturately, it was very overcast and a constant battle with a lite chilly rain ensued for the duration of my wandering.

One interesting note, I have several pictures of the St. Nicholi cathedral.  It had burned to the ground 50 or so years ago and because of declined attendance, it was never rebuilt.  However, the bell tower still stands.  I have several pictures of that tower scattered thoughout the following gallery.  It is the most unique feature of the skyline and is visible from almost anywhere.  Also, within the structure is an elevator and an observation deck that is approx. 75 meters above the ground, the highest point in Hamburg.  All the “gray”, high vantage pictures were from that point.  It rained the whole time I was up there and the deck was not covered so I had to constantly remove the water from my lens.  You get what you can, right?

Night Shots

Then saturday night, I decided to get some night pictures.  I walked into town early while it was still light.  Apparently, unbeknownst to me, the left side of the hotel was right across the street from the main lake in the city and a 15 minute walk along it takes you straight to city hall.  So I did.  I got some good pictures along the way, ate dinner, and waited for the sun to go down.  I sat on a ledge that overlooked the lake and fountain with the city hall behind me and waited about a half hour for night.  While I did, there were a couple of girls taking pictures of each other so I asked them if they wanted to be “ghosts.”  They asked how much it would cost.  I said, “Nothing.”  And they waited patiently while I tried a couple of times to get the exposure right.  It is not my best work but they seemed to be getting a little impatient with me so I have posted the best of the effort in the gallery.

After all that, I realized I had to go to the bathroom and could not find an open one.  I went into the mall to find one and it was locked.  Coming down the escelator, I was approached by a dude in slippers and a pink bathrobe with his underwear draped over the waste band.  He was carrying a basket with some cookies in it and asked me if I would buy one for 2 euros.  I was looking for the camera or at least his accomplised in this elaborate robbery but a group of about 6 guys show up and they explain to me (which I confirmed with some of the German friends) that it is a tradition in Hamburg that the night before a man is to be married, his best man sends him on what I would call something like a scavenger hunt but more like the groom is given a list of embarressing tasks to accomplish.  If he fails to complete them, the best man has the power to veto the wedding.  He had explained that the basket, which was quite large, was full of cookies and he had sold all but about 6.  I felt for the guy so I did buy one.  He had also explained that he had to getting the washing instructions from 5 bras from 5 different women, done.  He also had to win a paddle boat race with one of the other men in his wedding party, he lost.  So he had to swim in the lake.  That is why his underwear was draped over his wasteband, so it would dry.  Strange traditions these Hambugers have.

So they helped me find a bathroom and I proceeded to start taking pictures of city hall lit up.  While I was getting ready for the next shot, a group of people in an open restaurant that was within a plastic tent got my attention and motioned me to take their picture.  Sure, I was feeling friendly so I did.  But the lighting was horrible because I took it through this plastic tent.  So I went around inside the restaurant and took their picture.  You see them in the gallery.  I go back outside to get another angle of city hall and.. Boom, the lights were out.  City hall was completely dark.  I looked at them and shrugged.  They said they pushed the button.  So ended my evening of night photography around town.

Schwerin, Germany

On the last day of our tour in Hamburg, we took a bus into what was East Germany before the re-unification, a small town called Schwerin.  We were able to tour a beautiful castle there and spend some time in the small town.  The castle was beautiful and the town was very lovely as you can see in the following gallery.

Upon our return to Hamburg, I did  have one more chance to do some night photography.  The German friends took us to a weekly event that they call a game show, that was being televised near our hotel.  So we walked at dusk through a beautiful garden I wish I knew existed over to a small lake and the following gallery depicts a beautiful light show with water fountains within the lake.  The fountains were turned on and lit up to music.  There were many people there, sitting in the park and applauding and enjoying the show.  It lasted about 15 minutes but was very pleasent.  Some of the songs played that I knew were Greensleeves and Pomp & Circumstance.


International District Convention

Now, for why we were here in Europe to begin with, the 2009-2010 Keep On The Watch! International District Convention.  Oh what a wonderful experience.  It is truly awe-inspiring to see Jehovah’s spirit at work in a convention like this.  People from all over, gathered together in unity (Psa 133:1).  Even though very little of the convention was in English, it was remarkable how spiritually upbuilding it was.  The friends were also helpful in letting you know what scriptures were being read.

The weather was a mess the entire convention.  Thursday afternoon was not bad but Friday through Sunday it rained at least once.  As you can see from the pictures, the friends were mostly covered but when it did rain, and if there was a slight wind, the friends in the first couple of rows would be wet so an umbrella was always at the ready.  Also, each day was much colder than the regular tempuratures of the times.  The morning program on Friday stayed between 12 and 14 degrees centegrade.  It did get up to 15 in the afternoon but there was a constant 20 mph wind blowing through the arena.  And where I was set was in the top row, corner seat, right in front of the walkway facing the wind so it hit the back of my neck the entire morning session.  I decided the rain was better so I moved down to the very first row on the right-hand side, with my umbrella, which I needed to use a half a dozen times.  But my spirits were never affected, it was still wonderful.

Thursday and Friday, I sat in the German-speaking sections.  Actually, let me back up a bit.  First of all, there were four conventions happening simultaneously: German, Chinese, Danish, and Tamal (Sri Lanka).  From the pictures, you will not four white tents facing for different directions.  Each tent pointed toward the friends attending that convention.  German was by far the largest with approx. 20,000 present each day (this is a rough estimate as the numbers increased each day), then about 3,000 for the Danish, 2,000 for the Tamal, and 1,000 for the Chinese.

The program was identical as the convention we attended in the U.S. with the exception that each session, morning and afternoon, had a 20-minute part called “Reports From Other Lands.”  This part was always in Englist and then translated to each group.  Not all the reports were  given locally.  Telephone hook-up was used to connect the different conventions going on simultaneously so one part may have been presented by brothers at the Munich Distriction Convention but we were hearing their reports in Hamburg.  During each part, roughtly 4 countries would report information and an experience from their land.  Most of the reports were from different countries in Europe from Russia to the U,K.  But the other countries as well were represented including the U.S. and Canada.  These reports were very exciting to hear because each always made sure to express the love of the brothers from their region and through applause, made sure to send our love back to them.  It is encouraging to hear the hardships, endurance, and progress being made in these different lands.

The only other part of the convention that was in English were the parts given by the anointed brother assigned to the convention, in our case, David Slone.  He closed each day with a talk in English that was transalted into each language group.  The same publications were released and all were as excited to receive them as we were at our local convention.

As I stated earlier, I sat in the German-speaking section Thursday and Friday but Friday evening I met a charming group of friends from Austria that were attending the Chinese convention.  One of them asked which section I was sitting in and then asked me why I would not sit in the Chinese section and support that convention.  After a 2 second reasoning, I realized that I would understand just as little in the Chinese section as the German, so on Saturday, I sat right in the middle of the Chinese convention.  Still, as expected, the friends were wonderful.  And Sunday I sat in the Danish section.  If I had thought about this a day earlier, I would have liked to sit in the Tamal section for one day but time ran out.

I met and made many new friends and have posted their pictures in the gallery below and listed a little information about them in each picture’s description.  I do hope to keep in touch with them and if not now, I really look forward to seeing them again in the new system.  Deep Christian love to all these dear ones.  Praise again goes to our life-giver Jehovah for His wonderful organinzation and the love he shows for us.  May we continue to reflect that love to each other in these last days.  Enjoy!

1 Response to Stop #04: Hamburg, Germany

  1. Rodney Roark

    David, Beautiful pictures on the group picture # 19 is Carolyn Roark and #21 is Rocney Roark. Not a computor guy so I hope this is what you want thanks Rodney Raork

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