The picturesque port of Geiranger, Norway!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hellesylt, Norway!

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Exploring southwestern Norway until July 26th.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Matching more of my father's photos in Hamburg, Germany

Some of you will remember that my father did two trips to Europe in the 1950's and took quite a lot of slide photos. Ruth has digitized them, and when we are in some of the same areas, we try to stand in the same spot he might have stood in order to match up those 1950's photos and see what it looks like today.

You can see previous examples of our efforts herehere, and here.

We decided to walk into the central part of Hamburg. In hindsight, we probably should have taken the bikes... Hamburg has a lot of cycling routes. But it was a bit cool and windy, and we were really overdue for a long walk.

Scenery along the way.

Very cool building.

Things are very quiet.

It was just after 10:00am when it occurred to us that downtown Hamburg seemed very quiet. Hardly any traffic, and there were a lot of people out cycling and walking. I looked it up, and sure enough... Thursday was Ascension Day here in Germany... a national public holiday! This also explains why we saw quite a few motorhomes, vans, and caravans (travel trailers) on the road the day before... it was people taking an extra long weekend!

All stores were closed, which is too bad because one of the things we were going to do is shop for a new laptop for Ruth.

More interesting architecture.

It was also around this time that I took the camera out and turned it on to take a photo. It immediately went into "battery exhausted" mode and shut itself off. Crap! I had it plugged in for at least an hour before we left, so there is something not right. 

It would have made it much easier to match up my dad's photos with our big camera, but that was now not possible. So today's photos are all taken with my cell phone!

Our first destination was this church tower.

St. Peter's church has the tallest tower in Hamburg at 132 meters (433 feet). About the height of a 40 floor building. And the interesting things is, you can climb 544 steps to the top of the tower! In fact, two of the photos we were trying to match up were taken from the church tower.

There has been a church here since 1150, but there was a major fire in 1842 and the church was totally rebuilt by 1878.

The bronze lion-head door handles, the oldest work of art of Hamburg, date from the foundation of the original tower in 1342

But we got there, and there was a special service going on because of Ascension Day. They said we had to return about 11:30am after the service. So we wandered over to the town hall and the central lake where there was another photo matching opportunity.

Town hall is fairly impressive.

We had no trouble finding the same spot where dad took the following photo. But the cell phone has a fairly wide angle lens and it's not adjustable. So it was difficult to match the focal length to duplicate the picture. But all things considered, I'm happy with the result!

Hamburg in 1957.

65 years later!

By the time we walked around the lake and made it back to St. Peter's church the service was over and we were allowed up into the tower. It cost €4 ($5.50 CAD, $4.30 USD) which we thought was actually pretty reasonable. We were also surprised that there weren't many people... maybe it's not a well known attraction. Or maybe not everybody wants to climb 544 steps for the view!

Steps inside the tower.

As you can see in the photo above, there are porthole windows along the way, so you can stop and rest if you need to. And it looks fairly roomy in that photo, but of course the higher you go, the less space there is. At the top, it is almost claustrophobic. We just happened to be up there at the same time as a family of two adults and three children. There wasn't much room to move around!

We found the windows that dad's photos were taken from. It was actually quite easy to match them up!

Hamburg 1957.

Hamburg 2022.

Hamburg 1957

Hamburg 2022.

I took a few more photos in other directions...

The other family took a photo of us at the top.

Can you see Ruth hanging on??

It wasn't that bad, but it was a pretty windy day, and you can actually feel the top of the tower moving. But, it hasn't blown over in 150 years, so I guess it's pretty safe!

From there, we walked over to Dammtor Park or Planten un Blomen Park where dad had taken several photos. This was going to prove to be difficult. It turns out that the park has changed so much in 65 years.

He had a couple of photos of a fountain, and it turns out that it's a water fountain show that is still running today. We got really lucky and just happened to arrive before the 2:00pm start time, and we didn't even know about this in advance.

Fountain show in 1957.

Fountain show 2022.

But the park has changed too much. In fact, there used to be an observation tower where he had taken several photos, but it was taken down in the 1960's. Now, there is a nearby television tower that has an observation deck, but it is closed to the public due to asbestos contamination.

However... it is an absolutely beautiful park. Probably the best city park we have ever been to. Here are a few more photos...

The television tower was built in 1968.

Flowers everywhere!

It's a beautiful park.

Despite the ominous skies, it never did rain until late in the afternoon.

From there, we walked back to Max. We ended up doing about 18 kms (11 miles), so we were done!

We walked by Hamburg train station.

It's huge!

Back at Max, parked at GPS 53.529652, 10.045396

City parking is rarely ideal. But for a free spot, this did just fine. Despite the look of a lot of vehicles, there really wasn't much traffic and it was totally quiet overnight.

Today, we head further north. We were going to detour to the town of Lubeck, but it's 70 kms out of our way, and it's not the nicest weather today. If the sun were shining we would have done it. It will have to wait until another time.


And in Canada...


  1. It's nice seeing things don't change much over the years. Lots of people depend on Landmarks so they would always have them in Hamburg.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your next adventure.

    It's about time.

    1. Many of the buildings are still the same in the first three pictures that Kevin took but the pavilion on the top edge of the lake has certainly changed. However the park has changed so much it was totally impossible to try and figure out where his dad stood to take his pictures, so some of the landmarks do change, such as the small observation tower in Kevin't dad's pictures.

  2. It appears that lots of my Comments are not appearing. Can you check your Spam folder.

    1. Your comments are all coming through. They only get posted once they are approved and because of the time difference it won't be right away. We do this to stop the many spam/advertising comments that had been showing up.

  3. Wow awesome job in photo match ups! Love the city park and folks out enjoying their day.

    1. Thank you! That park was gorgeous, it would have been nice to have spent more time wandering around it more, they have done a fabulous job on making it a nice relaxing place to enjoy in the middle of a city.

  4. I always enjoy when you post the photos taken from where your father took them, Kevin. Fascinating to see what has changed -- and how much is still the same. The park is gorgeous! That huge bank of lilac-colored flowers behind Ruth is Rhododendron, if you weren't sure. They are very common here in North Carolina, but not usually so large. I would so love to walk through that park!

    1. We had fun matching up Kevin's dad's pictures. It is such a shame though that we couldn't match up the ones at the park, things have just changed too much there. The whole pond where the fountain was has been totally reconfigured and of course that small observation tower is no longer there to help as a landmark.

      Yes, I did know that was a rhododendron, we used to have one in our garden before we sold the house and as a matter of fact when we sold the house, I said that we were taking the rhododendron and the magnolia tree because I loved them so much. They were still fairly young plants, so we dug them up and replanted them in my parents garden. Eventually the rhododendron died after a good number of years but the magnolia tree thrived and it is now huge!

      That park has to be one of the most beautiful free central city parks that we have seen, it was fantastic, I have no doubt that you would love it too.


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