The following has been adapted from actual correspondences
I arrived on the 14th, flying from Hamburg to Stuttgart. Hamburg is a very fine city that has a dynamic blend of old buildings and startling modern architecture. They have an immense construction project at the harbour that is similar to the Expo lands development.
People are friendly, as in Canada, but less reserved initially. In Canada people “exchange glances” and look away. In Hamburg a first look is like an extended quiet conversation. It is quite engaging. I asked about this characteristic and people acknowledged it is so.
People pour out of the trains in BC furtive and suspicious. In Hamburg you leave the train as if you know many people, though you may have spoken not a word.
The transit system is what VancouverÂ´s aspires to be – conventional trains from the hinterlands, S-Bahn rapid trains for the suburbs and city, neighbourhood and express buses, and ferries. It is similar to VancouverÂ´s in having no turnstiles. Yet I saw not one police or fare-checker. This all contributes to a more trusting and confident populace. This is something of a paradox to me, because on another level, the people are highly regulated.
When my father came to Canada he showed up at the Police Station and they asked him what he wanted. He said ‘Here I am.’ They laughed and sent him away. In Germany you have to inform the government when you move, within a few weeks, or you are fined.
You can feel spring is about to arrive, the weather gets cloudy in Hamburg but rarely rains. It was very cold. In Stuttgart it is much warmer and feels like spring. I miss many things, but most of all I miss my family. (… to be continued)