Hamburg.  You gave us the willies when we arrived at your main train station, and we could not figure out the ticket machine (no credit cards – cash only!), and no one could help us.  But you really came around overt he next few days. What a neat town, full of unexpected surprises.

After a dinner at our apartment on Monday, we decided to check out the local supermarkets.  In Copenhagen, the corner Store (and Irma) had TONS of organic and gluten free products.  The corner groceries here…well – they left a lot to be desired.  Lucky for us, a quick web search found an incredible store just a 10 minute walk away.  Al lthe natural/”bio” – thats German shorthand for organic – and gluten frei food you could imagine!  Hamburg began growing on us.  We could not use a credit card tehre, but we found an ATM, got cash, and went across the street to Hammer Park for a picnic with our newfound spoils.

I found the HVV (Hamburg Transit) app, and biught a 3 day pass for the family.  Right on my phone 🙂

We still did not really know what Hamburg had to offer, so we went back to the train station, and hopped on a double decker bus tour.  Most of the talking was in german, but we did see some huge houses, and geta  general lay of the land downtown.  So, I knew that Hamburg was the 3rd largest port in the world.  But the bridges and canals are just nuts.  More bridges in Hamburg than any other European city.  And the old warehouses.  They line the canals, and go on for kilometers.  boats could just go down the canal, and tie up the the warehouses.

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bridges.  And warehouses as seen from one of said bridges.

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and warehouses.. And bridges.


This is the Elbe music hall. Its pretty neat looking, but apparently costing a lot more to build than expected…

The bus went down towards the port, and we hopped off to look at the boats on the Elbe.. Floating fry docks, “water buses”, it was pretty nuts.. and the sky was just beautiful.  The kids wanted their photo taken with a statue – but they didnt realize it was a man standing really still they got a heck of a surprise when he held their hands 🙂

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this is a horrible photo of the leaning building.  The building is actually totally straight, but the windows are not 90 degrees, so you get an optical illusion that the building is off kilter.


city hall

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canal and the inner lake.

the bus also took us to the “outer lake” where there are incredible mansions overlooking the water.  And more canals.. and bridges.

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AFter our tour, we went home (after seeing a HUGE rainbow over the train station).  That evening I gave a talk to the Hamburg Google Developers.


There was a great talk on GCM Network Manager,a nd then I gave a second talk on Network Performance.  It was a great evening.  When I left, it was crisp and drizzly, but I went for a walk, and came back across city hall at night:


Day 2:

We had a fun plan dor the afternoon, but for the AM, we decided to hit a giant park, and just wander.  We came across the Hamburg University greenhouses, and after a great lunch overlooking the lake, we walked through:IMG_20150916_120926544_HDR


I loved the paths.  So beautiful, but I cannot imagine building it.


Papayas grow like brussels sprouts

Then we took the bus out to the Schwartzlicht park. Blacklight minigolf!

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the artwork was incredible.. The holes were a lot of fun (one hole had a pinball spring for the first shot. Another – you held the putter like a pool cue.

Oh, and all the paint was in #D- we all wore 3D glasses through the whole thing. It was a lot of fun.

Getting out was a bit of a challenge:


After this, I had a web performance meetup.  In an old Marzipan factory. I talked mobile web performance with about 20 developers, and had a great time.


At both meetups, they were collecting the beer bottle caps. I asked if they recycled them, but it turns out… that when a man turns 30, if he is not married, he must sweep in front f the town hall, until he is freed by the kiss of a woman.  What does he sweep up?  Thousands of beer caps dumped by his “friends”  So these companies are stocking up for the next big birthday..

Today was day 3 in Hamburg,a nd we decided to tackle a HUGE touristy thing, but every local I spoke to has visited.  Miniatur Wonderland is the BIGGEST BADDEST train layout you have EVER seen.   Hamburg, The Swiss Alps, A complete Harbour (with 30,000 liters of water and boats that move), USA, Scandinavia, a full working airport, and soon to add Italy.

The airport had plans taking off and landing at regular intervals.. Gas trucks, luggage trucks, busses, plows clearing the runway (of pretend snow), de-icing trucks circling the planes.  – EVERYthing.  I cannot even begin to describe the magic.IMG_20150917_171951822_HDR

the sets are fun – but so are the easter eggs: like Giraffe Polo:


Also, It becomes night time every 30 minutes or so, and 300,000 LEDS come on.  Here is a rock concert in a field:

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and then from higher up, and from behind the stage:

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Then the sun “came up” and the concert was still rocking:

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the swiss alps:


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Here is the Hamburg concert hall. when you press a button it opens up, and there is a concert going on. The musicians all move (and the conductor conducts) and peter and the wolf plays form a speaker.

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Scuba diving cows:


bridge closeup:

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Space shuttle launch


Grand Canyon

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Area 51 – with spaceships


Mt Rushmore


US western village at christmas


Amusement park





The control center:


So much fun to be had here.  Tomorrow we pack up and train to Berlin!  We are staying in the East side of Berlin.  🙂

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