Fri 8 Nov - Hamburg, Germany

A nostalgia trip for Di today...with Hans as official photographer.

Di's dad grew up on the outskirts of Hamburg in a suburb called Lurup. Di had visited there, with her sister in about 1977 and stayed with her grandparents there for about 4 months. She then returned twice more but the most recent trip was 28 years ago.

Today we tracked down how to get to Sprützkamp 40, the old family home, and were on our way by train around 11am. We'd had a slow start to the day after a later than usual night yesterday.

The train trip on S3 from Stadthausbrücke to the Elbgaustraße station was straightforward, even though the passenger next to Di here was a bit odd and muttered from time to time, but it did not detract from her excitement.

Ok - where to from here? Di checked the directions as she was not familiar with the area around the Elbgaustraße train station here.

The local graffiti artists seem to be fans of cartoons - Simpsons, Obelix, Donald Duck and Smurfs featured.

As we walked through the local shopping plaza Di thought that it started to look more familiar.

Then we turned down Spätzenwinkel Straße and Di recalled that her dad's cousin, Helga, still lives here and that Aunt Anke had provided her address as number 5. This was the house on Spätzenwinkel Straße 5.

While taking the outside photo, we noticed light and some movement inside so on the off-chance that a family member was home Di rang the doorbell, introduced herself as Dianna Heuchmer and was drawn inside for a big hug! We were a bit sheepish about arriving unannounced but that seemed to be no issue to Helga.

Helga reminded us of Anke (Di's aunt) and we spent about 20 minutes with her trying to converse with Di's limited German and her limited English - but did cover family and our time in Hamburg.

We managed but soon made our apologies and headed out again conscious of the intrusion. It did feel a bit surreal to just "pop in" unannounced and from around the other side of the world...

The next corner was very déjà vu. Di, twin sister Carolyn and their brother Bill went this way many times on visits here - heading to school or to friends nearby.

The house...on the left - Sprützkamp 40 is the old family home and where Di's father / Hans' father in law and his sister / Di's aunt were raised. Di recollected fondly that as kids she and Carolyn slept in the attic bedroom on the top floor left with the little half dome window.

But the house has changed...from this angle you can see that new owners extended to the left and now have a smaller attached dwelling called 40A. Also, the gardens behind used to be about an acre in size and these have long since been sold off and subdivided since. Still...enough remains that Di was having lots of memories.

The right hand side of the house was once owned by Anke and Holger (Di's aunt and uncle) but has also since been sold.

The rest of the Straße...

And looking back towards Sprützmoor which Di recalled clearly.

Being so close, a detour to Lüdersring was deemed necessary - where a favourite mate from school days, Simone Vogel, had lived. Di and Carolyn visited her often and played in the common garden and grounds here.

Lüdersring is a large circular street with lower income flats in various forms which were housing thousands of people.

The area seems to be getting some renovation but you can still tell that it remains for lower income housing with a more mixed racial group and some communal area damage.

This is the first freestanding cigarette machine we have seen anywhere. Clearly not a worry here but that would never be found in Oz...

More typical apartments here and the one on the left was similar to where Simone lived with her mother and brother.

Looking around "the ring".

Ok - enough nostalgia and Hans had been very patient. Time for lunch.

We returned to the local shopping plaza where we had seen a Schnell Imbiss (fast food) van selling plenty of wurst for lunch. We opted each for a €2 Schinkenwurst (a smoked pork sausage) which was delicious and good value with a piece of bread.

Di chewed fast as it was delicious, and had time to take a photo of Hans with his wurst, and the lady serving who smiled and ducked into the photo.

Back on the train station by about 2pm and here comes the S3 train that would take us back to town.

We got off a few stations early at the Reeperbahn as we find the area very interesting even though a bit quieter than last night, and wandered home from there, perhaps a 10 minutes walk.

On the way we collected some small extras for a pasta dinner tonight and some pastries for afternoon tea. The German food is delicious and generously portioned, and could soon be telling on our waistlines if we keep going this way! Maybe a wurst and pastry free day tomorrow...maybe...

A restful afternoon with blogging and reading before Di cooked us pasta for dinner.

Today Friday was the first day of Hamburger Dom winter festivities, which is a huge and part-time amusement park adjacent to Reeperbahn, usually open in the summer. It will be in place for a month and is part of the lead up to Christmas happenings.

So, after dinner, we thought that we would walk across there and check it out. This was the main gate to the Hamburger Dom.

Oh yeah, there were plenty of rides and plenty of lights were on and flashing furiously.

As we arrived before 8pm, Hamburger Dom was still relatively quiet but more and more people came during the 2 hours or so that we spent there. A couple of location shots...

Many of us stopped to watch some of the scarier rides. The tall blue stick you can see in the background has people strapped in and they are upside down at the top... Then swings in big twisting arcs back to earth ...any takers?

Seriously these Hamburgers are a tough lot. You hear hardly any screaming.

Many of the attractions had moving and/or talking parts to attract the punters, including this tree and the face on the haunted house. Weird.

The "free fall" was one of the Hamburger Dom key attractions and Johannes and his girlfriend Daniella said that they may go there later, just to ride this one.

The attraction claims to be the tallest transportable free fall in the world. It was huge and again no one seems to scream on the way down. Maybe its a mutually agreed challenge...

A "selfie" among all the glittering lights...

Who would like to catch a ride with this guy? No, not the one to the left, the guy in the tractor.

These gingerbread hearts brought back childhood memories for Di - she was trying to tell Hans something...

We just had to have a spin on one of the most ancient pokie machines that we had ever seen. Ten games for €1 resulted in 4 tokens that we could exchange for the tiniest pack of Mentos. Well, we road tested it...

This attraction was a huge lottery of sorts, where the tickets gave you different types of playcards and once you formed certain suit and royal combinations (and no, it didn't follow poker as all the winning combinations had to have an ace in it, so let us guess, there were only very few aces to be had).

We bought 10 tickets for €2 and you can see the many "verloren" or no-win tickets on the ground.

We did get a couple of kings, 2 bübe (jacks) and queens, but we gave them all to a teenage girl who seemed to be collecting them to try and claim a prize. Clearly, the game is designed to hook you in.

Now onto food and drink and there was plenty of that on offer, after all, we are in Germany.

Wurst was the most common food item, but there were lots of other grilled food to be had as well. Smoky flavours were everywhere.

Doesn't Di just look like a little big-eyed girl handing over money for some candy almonds?

Another new item to try was Schmalzkuchen, a deep fried donut lookalike piece of dough. Hans got a fresh cooked batch but nah, Australian cinnamon donuts are still better.

And of course plenty of opportunity to drink alcohol. There are small bars throughout the Dom. Glühwein was a common offering - this one with a shot...

We tried traditional Glühwein twice inside the Hamburger Dom, but we preferred the ones we had at Santa Pauili's at the Reeperbahn Winterdeck.

The Hamburger Dom is huge and twice we thought we had done a full circuit only to find that we still had some distance to go. Lots of fun and plenty of happy people. Polizei were on duty but they seemed to have little to do. Probably later on this Friday night...

It was enough for us and we were home just after 10pm after a fun night. Fireworks went off at 10.30pm and the streets got a bit rowdy but we slept well. Good night.

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