Thursday, 1 September 2011
Summer 2011 Part 14 (the final one)
Sunday 17th July 2011
I slept well in my cabin on CAP SAN DIEGO. However, I was woken once during the night by something or someone out in the corridor, which was unexpected as there were few of us staying on board. This is the one thing I now realise about staying on this hotel ship – it seems there are no members of staff on board other than the man on the gate at the top of the pontoon gangways. Once the guests had left the hired rooms at the end of my corridor, the ship appeared to be empty. I think I imagined the ship would be full of guests, especially on a Saturday night in high summer.
When I met my travelling companion for breakfast we compared notes about the quiet ship, and he mentioned that he had also heard what he thought was a ‘prowler’ outside his cabin (on another higher deck) - the person seemed to have been carrying something heavy which knocked against his cabin door. We decided that this was rather eerie and slightly disturbing.
Breakfast was welcome and generous again and we were surprised when a group of six other people arrived in the Bord Bistro. Presumably they must have been staying on board the hotel ship too.
This morning we are going to visit the famed Hamburg Maritime Museum, walking east along to HafenCity and enjoying the sights on the way. I particularly liked the artwork on a bridge pavement created to look like a beautiful carpet.
We stopped for a coffee break beside a plastic wrapped hotel, which may or may not be its finished outer covering, near a ferris wheel.
Also in this area were several holes in the ground, which were destined to be hotels at some stage in the future. There were lots of people walking around, wrapped up to cope with a brisk breeze under a grey sky, and some of us tried the ‘playthings’ set into the paving around the coffee shop. We sat and looked at the two cruise ships that had arrived in Hamburg port – the AIDA BLU and the AIDA LUNA – and at the other harbour vessels.
Once in the Maritime Museum, it was another world – Mr Peter Tamm’s collection of thousands of ship models of all kinds, and other nautical items now housed in this 1878-built warehouse, with its internal wooden beams. It opened in June 2008 and is internationally popular. We enjoyed seeing so many items from Deck 10 down to Deck 6. I saw many Union-Castle Line ship models, and layouts of various ports around the world, and everything was fascinating and amazing – thank you Mr Tamm.
It was soon time for my companion to set off on his journey home, so we retraced our steps west and back to CAP SAN DIEGO to collect his and my luggage, and say goodbye. I walked further along the quay and bought a ticket to take a harbour cruise; there was a choice of seeing the docks on a long cruise down river, or a shorter cruise taking in the main harbour area and the cruise ships and this was the one I decided to do.
I boarded the little KIRCHDORF, which was built in 1962, and has obviously done good service over the years. We left the quayside and headed down river and saw the strange-looking building known as Docklands,
a lovely sandy beach,
the tower with the time and temperature on one face,
lots of huge cargo ships in the dock basins on the south side,
and many local ferries. Heading up river again we approached the plastic-wrapped hotel we saw this morning, and then the two cruise ships (AIDA BLU and AIDA LUNA) alongside HafenCity.
On the way back we could see the rather new-looking MISSISSIPPI QUEEN and the LOUISANA STAR, and then the CAP SAN DIEGO beside her pontoon.
I’d been on the harbour cruise ship for nearly an hour, and enjoyed it tremendously, so I was reluctant to have to leave this amazing maritime city to get to Hamburg Airport for my flight home.
Ships seen: Aida Blu, Aida Luna, Kirchdorf, Mississippi Queen, Cap San Diego, Louisana Star, Navi Baltic, Lion King ferry, Tarzan ferry and many other local ferries and working craft.
I’ve enjoyed nine nautical days on such a variety of different ships in previously unknown waters, as well as calling or staying in ports that were new to me, and had the most amazing and fun time throughout – I feel so lucky.