We arrived in Hamburg on Friday in the morning.  We have learned from past trips that it is best for us to have a full first day and drive on through the evening so that we can at least force our bodies through the time change.  So, Saturday was our first day that looked anything like a real day.

Daniel had told us that he had a surprise for us on this day so Stewart and I weren’t sure what that was going to look like.  He told us to meet him at his apartment at 10:30-ish.  That morning, we needed to find a little food, so we walked around the place where we were staying and we found this very cool little coffee shop: Gluck und Selig which means “Luck and Good Feelings” (or something like that; the last word, “selig” is apparently old German…).  A couple of young ladies owned the place and its specialty was just being a cool place with crazy good food.  So, Stewart and I were eating a breakfast of coffee, coffee and more coffee when Kathrine (Daniel’s wife) met us there.  We walked to their house and we found Daniel already half covered in paint with his trademark goofy grin and paintbrushes in his hand: we were going to paint!

They were painting their apartment ahead of the arrival of their little girl, Elva Luise and we were going to do the main living room.  Kathrine had gone to a bakery and picked up some croissants, pastries and jam for us to eat during our time.  So, for the next few hours we painted their main living room and talked about all kinds of things: church, family, future…It was a great time of service and fellowship.  We thought the surprise was over…but we found out that later that afternoon we were going to the Hamburg beach to join folks from the church (and their friends) to hang out.

Interesting about this beach.  Hamburg is one of the top three largest ports in Europe.  It has a deep water inland port (like Charleston) on the Elbe River.  On the city side of the river (opposite the port side) is a beach about a football field wide dotted with restaurants, pubs and about a bazillion places to hang out, grill, drink libations and watch the ships.  So, we caught up with dozens of our friends and acquaintances on the beach from about 5:00-9:00 or so.  It was a great time!  Everyone just picked up a packet of some kind of meat to grill (and share) some folks brought small sides and everyone had their favorite drinks.  We all gathered together over a small grill manned by a master-small-grill chef (Klaus) and we were together.

It was low key, interactive and, when a big ship came in, exciting to see.  In the end, we was struck by how unstructured it was and yet how rich.  It was great to be with the people.