I am visiting the city of Hamburg, Germany, this week on a visit of the Shell Technology Centre here as part of the Shell Rimula/Shell Rotella 2013 Global Media Visit. On Tuesday afternoon, I, along with a few of my Shell hosts, took a few hours to walk around the city harbor area, even eating at a lovely restaurant which, if it had been located in the U.S., the street would be aptly titled “restaurant walk” due to dozens of restaurants along the block. If you have a hunkering for food, nearly any type of food, you can find it here.
One word of advice, though, not all restaurants accept American Express. Or MasterCard. Or Visa. In fact, at least one – the particular place we settled at – does not accept plastic of any kind. A fact we learned after eating. But, a quick trip to an ATM retrieved the correct amount of Euros before any dishes had to be washed.
But I digress. One of the things that struck me as I walked around was the way traffic moved - swiftly around the winding, narrow streets, which were literally filled with thousands of tourists and even more locals on bicycles, which seems to be a somewhat more efficient way to move around the city given the traffic congestion.
But what also struck me was the number of commercial trucks that had to work their way through this traffic, the pedestrians, the bicyclists, the double parked cars. Perhaps people here understand the traffic patterns – they sure seem to – but to an outsider, it looked like chaos at times, including one incident where we witnessed a car come down a narrow street wide enough for only one vehicle at a time due the vehicles parked on either side, reach the end of the road at a three-way intersection of sorts, make a u-turn, and travel back down the same road from which it just came, followed closely by a mother on a bike and her young child, also on a bike, close behind.
And yet German truck drivers, just like their American counterparts, must make the deliveries. And they do this throughout this “chaos” that is downtown Hamburg.
What I realized is that if I had to make city deliveries in Hamburg, I would be moving to America.