Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kiel, Germany

Map picture

Our Day As A Tour Guide; Hamburg, Germany

Sometimes the stories I tell are about the places we visited, or the people we saw, and sometimes the story is about the trip itself. This is such a story – our day as tour guides.

On Sunday, July 11th, our ship docked at the German port city of Kiel. Most of the tours offered by the ship involved a long drive into the city of Hamburg, a little over an hour from Kiel. In looking over the smaller tours offered by the ship and after doing some internet searching, I spotted several interesting castles and towns within easy driving distance of Kiel, and so I asked our travel agent to arrange for a car and driver/guide to take us to explore the German countryside. Our confirmation came back with just those directions.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and we got off the ship full of expectations for a wonderful, picture filled adventure. As soon as we got into the car our driver turned and suggested a nice drive into the beautiful city of Hamburg! We went around and around for some time, until I persuaded him that we really did want to go into the countryside. When I looked up, I could see he was using the GPS to search for nearby castles. Whoops, we have a problem! Fortunately, before leaving the ship I had written on a slip of paper several of the stops which the ship tours would be making, so I suggested that we head for the town of Plon. Meantime I got out my iPad and started following us on the map, while looking ahead and doing a Google search for what we might find.

We arrived in the picturesque town of Plon which was dominated by the Plon Castle. DSC_1065

Pulling into the Castle we found one of the tour busses from our ship, so I knew at least we had found one of the places we should be going. Lisa and I were running around taking pictures, when I backed up and bumped into our driver, who was also taking pictures. He smiled and explained that he had brought his camera because he had never been in this area before!!!!! Thinking quickly I ran over to one of the guides with the Crystal tour and explained my problem, and thankfully she tried her best to give me ideas of what to see in the area and the other places they would be going. DSC_1125 Armed with these notes and my trusty iPad, I managed to put together a pretty interesting tour until around 1pm, when I ran out of ideas. Our driver smiled, and asked if we could go to Hamburg now? Relenting, we set out on the hour drive into the city. Hamburg was pretty, but as I suspected, nothing really special after having visited Berlin. Our driver kept having trouble with streets being closed, and I asked him if he did tours to Hamburg all the time; “No, he replied, I am a taxi driver here in the southern part of the city, and I don’t get to this area very much.” Well, that explains a great deal.

We arrived back at the ship in the late afternoon and soon departed for our last destination of our first of two cruises. We will spend two days in Copenhagen, Denmark, before departing for the Norway Coast.


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