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After yesterday’s grey mist, the weather today is excellent with a clear sky.
Pierre and I leave for the city at 9:30. A few days ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be stepping on German soil again so soon, but my supplies, which were supposed to last as far as Antwerp, are running low. In the last few days, I could have gone ashore, but it was cold, the deck and the gangway were icy, and I didn’t want to slip anywhere and sprain my foot. So I stayed in my warm cabin.
Actually, I intended to take the ferry across the Elbe, especially on the way back with the purchases, but Pierre yesterday had already walked into the city via the Elbe tunnel and wanted to show it to me. In the end, I am glad that he insisted. We walk down the stairs, past the elevators for motor cars and then into the tunnel. This structure is over 100 years old. As we walk through the tunnel under the Elbe, I imagine how a big ship like the Bright Sky passes above us.
We take the subway to Jungfernstieg and have a look around. At the Apple Store, we enter for Pierre to download the satellite phone app to his iPhone. It annoyed him yesterday that I immediately found the app in the Google Playstore, he didn’t see it on his iPhone. But the young woman at Apple is helpful, and soon he has all the apps he needs to call home from the high seas. We use the free Wi-Fi at Apple to contact our friends and family via WhatsApp.
Pierre is, like me, a fan of navigation apps on the smartphone. We compare our apps as we walk through the streets of Hamburg. I use Locus Maps on my Android device, he uses Maps.me on his iPhone. I know that Maps.me is a top-rated app and check it out. With Maps.me, it is much easier to load maps, and I decide to switch.
As we walk through the alleys around the Jungfernstieg, we both agree that Gucci, Prada and Co. are entirely overrated. A charming bookstore or Globetrotter is more to our liking, and we stay there for a while.
At noon it begins to snow large flakes. We are both hungry. Pierre proposes to go to the Portuguese quarter for lunch because around the Jungfernstieg there is no real food, only McDonald and the like. When it comes to food, it is essential to him that it is not made merely out of convenience food. I like his attitude, and so we take the train back to the Landungsbrücken and head for the Portuguese quarter. He knows his way around, as he had stayed overnight in a hotel over there. Unfortunately, his favourite restaurant is closed for lunch, and so we take the next Portuguese restaurant, that appeals to us.
Since Pierre was a full-time winegrower until last October, he is in charge of the wine selection. It has to be a dry Vinho Verde from northern Portugal, and it is really very delicious. Dry, but very fruity. I adapt my choice of food to the wine and choose tuna steak. He takes mussels. The tuna disappoints me. It is still pink inside, but even too dry and the food is bland. A little salt helps, but I’m not as happy with my selection as he is with his mussels. However, the wine outweighs everything.
Just around the corner, there’s a big supermarket where we find everything we need. I go to a pharmacy to buy Immodium. It’s a medication I didn’t bring with me, but I think it might be useful on the high seas in case of an acute attack of diarrhoea.
Happy with our shopping, we go back to the Landungsbrücken and stop at a pub for a beer. There is Duckstein! When in my life will I be able to drink Duckstein again? It is delicious. After the wine and beer, I’m pretty exhausted. I haven’t drunk that much alcohol in a long time.
On our way home, we again walk through the tunnel. Since Pierre already walked the route yesterday, he knows where we could get lost in the harbour if we would take the obvious path. This path ends in front of the ship, but also in front of a high fence. So unerringly we go the right route and are soon on board.
The engineer is in high spirits. The spare parts for the turbochargers are on the way. They come from Bavaria, and the truck was unfortunately stuck in a traffic jam. It will arrive in Hamburg either at night or in the morning. The parts will be installed in the morning, tested in the afternoon and in the evening we can depart. I don’t trust these forecasts any more and instead expect the day after tomorrow to be our departure date, but maybe I will be positively surprised?
The team is in a good mood for dinner. Maybe the worst is over, and we can really leave tomorrow.