Week 175 – Groningen and Hamburg

Another UK bank holiday weekend and since I had just been to the USA for the prior week, I decided to go see my friends from Korea who had recently moved back home to The Netherlands. They live in a town called Groningen and it was my first time in Holland outside the Rotterdam/Amsterdam corridor. Groningen is a very nice town and very livable – at least during the hottest May weekend in the history of Holland – and it about the same distance to Hamburg as Amsterdam and the airfare was 60% cheaper. I also spent a day in Hamburg on the way back.

Great weather in Hamburg and I didn’t realize what a wealthy city it was – similar to a Pittsburgh in that a lot industrial production which generated wealth in the 1900’s. The industrial base was destroyed in the war but the nice part of town was relatively untouched. My tour bus guide noted “You from USA – you OK you bombed the port and your bombs exploded – the Royal Air Force (UK) bombed the workers and 40% of the bombs didn’t explode and we are still finding them.” I told him I worked in the UK and had to remove several UXOs from my construction site – which was in a residential area. So still some “discussion”. But overall Hamburg would be a great place to live if you have money (and it is the hottest May on record) to live in the nice part of town but much more to see from a tourist perspective in Berlin or Munich.

My AirBNB host, in addition to directing me to the great shot of the sunset, asked me – “So – America, they just want out? They want us (Germany) to build up our military again?”. I couldn’t answer.”


Rathaus (city hall)
Streams leading into Außenalster – extremely nice area with more billionaires per square mile than everywhere else in Europe
Main square in Groningen
Binnenalster (Inner Ulster Lake I am guessing)
Beach on Elbe River
Where the Binnenalster empties into canals in the city.
Car elevator for the 1905 tunnel under river
1905 tunnel under the river – mostly used by people and bikes now
Beach bar – on top of parking garage – good place for a 45 minute power nap

The Strand above the Elbe River – view the houses have is of the port
Entrance to the “beach” on the Elbe River
Sunset in Hamburg over the Außenalster (Outer Alster Lake). This lake and the others in town are upstream of the Elbe.

Visit to Groningen

My friends have had some big changes since I saw them last in Korea – they were free and independent and Korea was an adventure for them. Now they have baby twin girls and living 10 minutes from each of their parents – quite life changing but I was glad to see that they are very happy. Of course, with twins everyone has to pitch in to help as mobilizing for any transport is an undertaking – they had assumed since I had 2 girls I knew exactly what to do and handed me the babies. That was last century for me so I struggled a bit. A friend of theirs hosted a BBQ Saturday night which was nice and I felt bad that the entire conversation had to be in English – but their English is better than my Dutch (or my English for that matter). On Sunday, we went to a WWII historical site for a hike – it was a collection point transfer/ station for the Holocaust but now is a memorial and a park.

Way out of my comfort zone
Site of barracks from Holocaust site
Radio telescopes at the park where the transfer station had the Holocaust memorial.
Annelies is the name of a choir that has a performance based on the Diary of Anne Frank
Canals in Groningen
Main street Groningen
My rental was a BMW 1 series – none were available so I was “upgraded” from a BMW to a Ford station wagon. But it was fast on the Autobahn,

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