There were some major traffic jams along the way, so we ended up taking some country roads to bypass some of it. Not sure if we saved any time, as there were also some traffic jams on those side roads (we weren't the only ones with the ideas), but it was fun... we stopped in at a castle, and a small cafe in a small town near that, and another biergarten/farm out in the middle of the countryside, away from big cities. Got to use a bunch of German there, and some with the taxi driver the other day. Most people speak some amount of English, but there are still enough that don't that it's useful.
So we finally made it up to Hamburg. This city's beautiful... what a wonderful downtown. Dina and I both immediately thought it looked like Vegas, but with a real bay, and not hot, and not so dirty / chaotic. I'll post some nighttime pictures later. We were having fun with long exposures.
The only Internet access available is this really expensive hotel wireless, run by some other company, who surely has some exclusive contract to rape customers for n years. Back then the hotel probably thought it was wonderful, being able to advertise to guests that they had Internet in their rooms. Grrr. It's like $5 for 30 minutes! Or $35 for 24 hours. But---- everything is proxied. Port 80, 25 (anti-UCE proxy). Port 22 (ssh) connects, but it's a web proxy. I /can/ get a direct connection via port 443 (ssl) and I think 143 (imap), but I can't get into one of my servers to be able to fix that. (just mailed the guys at the office to fix that for me....)
Oh, back to driving: outside of occasional traffic jams, the autobahn is damn fun. So nice to be able to do 110 mph (180 km/h) legally, and smoothly.
BTW, much love to elfy and fuchs for taking care of us in Cologne and showing us around.
Neat, Mahlon got me access to ssh over 443.
When we leave Hamburg, I think we're heading up to some place on the ocean where when the tides are low you can walk between islands... then the tide comes in and you're on an island. I guess a lot of people drown each year on their own, so guides are required, but Fuchs told us where to go. It was also recommended we go to some forest that's in a river, and you canoe through it... and some big chalk cliffs.... and, and.... a lot to see.
Heh, our waiter tonight on the water in Hamburg was funny... some South Carolinaian who speaks Bavarian German and Canadian French so well he's mistaken for living in those regions, and who has dual citizenship in Germany and the US after doing a "favor" for NATO. (wtf?) Listening to both him and Fuchs both complain about the Euro ("a bullshit currency") and the economy was interesting. "They switched to the Euro and cut my pay in half, but I look at my old supermarket reciepts and I'm paying the same number of Euros now for a watermelon as I did deutschmarks then... they just switched the signs." (for reference: 2 DM = 1 Euro) So Germany got kinda screwed. Or some.
Anyway, you're bored.