Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 4-Wednesday... Hamburg, Germany

Bright and early this morning we loaded up the vans and headed to Hamburg, Germany! After just shy of a 3 hour drive we arrived at Energy Hill, which was very interesting. So back in the day, the residents of Hamburg started a large garbage dump close to the water. Over time this area turned into a massive garbage and chemical waste dump for residents and unwanted items that came into the port. Well over the years it got pretty disgusting and after a local lost his life after falling into the sludge with his massive loader (which came out looking brand new due to all the corrosive chemicals eating away the rust), the city decided they needed to clean it up. So they covered it with a whole bunch of dirt and planted grass, the grass never grew, nothing grew on it due to the noxious chemicals leaching through the soil and the lack of oxygen in the soil. So after some German engineering, they installed a massive 'umbrella' over the Hill and then covered that with dirt and planted grass, which grew. The 'umbrella' prevented the noxious gases from leaking into the soil, preventing plant growth, and also prevented any rain water from leaching the chemicals into the soil below. To date, gas is still 'siphoned' off from under the 'umbrella' and used at the local Aurbis plant for energy. Aurbis is also the world's second leading producer of copper, among other products. Pretty amazing! They've also installed a wind turbine on top of the Hill and quite a few solar panels on the side of the Hill. Future plans include building a visitor's center to teach visitors on how the Hill became and the clean energy initiative taking place in Hamburg. It was a pretty interesting site plus the view of the harbor and city was amazing!!
Windmill on Energy Hill
Close-up of the windmill on Energy Hill

Hamburg with the harbor in the distance

After a tour of Energy Hill we headed to the harbor area for lunch. We drove around and happened upon a little Portuguese restaurant, super yummy plus a free bathroom! Did I mention almost everywhere you go you have to pay to use the toilet, even at restaurants you are a patron of?! Kind of crazy, but the bathrooms are usually really clean, so that's a bonus. At the rest stops they charge 0.70 euro to use the toilet but give you a 0.50 euro coupon to use on your purchase... Word to the rise, take care of business first, then shop!lol
Anyways, after lunch we headed over to the Kampffmeyer Innovation Center to tour their latest flour mill and R&D center. We started off with a lecture about Kampffmeyer and an introduction into what they do. We then had a tour of the their new state-of-the-art flour mill and it was impressive! They are switching over to a total lights out facility, which means it will take only one person to run the whole mill 24/7/365. It was pretty interesting. We then received tours of the baking and R&D labs of Kampffmeyer, which were also very impressive. After coffee and cake (super yummy blueberry cheesecake I might add) we listened to a few lectures on some key products of Kampffmeyer. This included their modified starch line produced with no added chemicals (all mechanical modifications by using different extruding or cooking processes) which allows for a variety of different starches to be made for different applications, including cold-gel and non-skin forming soups, to name a few. We also learned about a new 'snow' wheat variety they have developed for their Health Grains Initiative. This wheat is different in that it is totally white, milled in the same manor as normal wheat but has a higher nutritional value. Kampffmeyer has noticed a trend among Germans that is completely opposite of Americans. In Germany, many prefer white bread over traditional artisan types made from rye or whole wheat. While in America many prefer whole wheat breads due to their nutritional properties.
Yummy lunch at the Portuguese-German restaurant

Kampffmeyer Innovation Center

After a day bursting with knowledge, we headed over to our hotel, The Generator Hotel to drop off our bags and then off to dinner hosted by Kampffmeyer. Our hotel room was interesting to say the least! I would say it was roughly the size of a shoe box with a bathroom smaller than those found on an RV! The variety of bathrooms I have seen on this trip boggles my mind... They're all different! They don't have a generic toilet configuration, so I would hate to be a plumber! And the placement of the shower head and dial is quite extraordinary and not well thought out at all. Be careful when showering, a bump of the handle and you can go from a lovely refreshing shower to 2nd degree burns or frostbite! Dinner was phenomenal! Kampffmeyer spared no expense and allowed us to order whatever we wanted. Kyle, Adrian, Sarah and I started off the sushi appetizer, which was so delishious I didn't even get a chance to take a before picture. I had the steak medallions, also very yummy, and we shared a dessert of chocolate cake, cheesecake and ice cream. After a very filling meal and an abundance of beer and wine, I visited the little ladies room before the walk home and it was interesting to say the least, but definitely a good laugh! We made the walk back to the hotel but ventured over to the attached bar for an evening nightcap and socializing with other hotel guests. All in all it was a great day and night! Thank you Kampffmeyer!!
Starting off... The local Pils!

That sushi was very yummy!

Is that George Clooney as a merman in the bathroom? Not creepy at all!

The Generator!
Yes that's 2 beds next to each other!

Don't bump that handle with your bum!

Saves time... Wash your hands while peeing!

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