I have arrived in the Netherlands in style – on a double-decker train. I’ve seen them all over Europe but this is the first chance I’ve had to ride one. The train was full of people wearing orange; something tells me there’s a football game on.

I had a brief stop in Hamburg yesterday, the last place on my German itinerary. Hamburg is a commercial city with a rich maritime history. Unfortunately I arrived on a day when all the museums and art galleries were closed, which meant there wasn’t much to do except wander round the city. Nevertheless, there were some interesting sights, from the medieval Rathaus (below) to the redbrick canal-side warehouses of Speicherstadt.


The most notable sight was the old church of St Nikolai, which was bombed in the war and left as a memorial. Only the tower and parts of the outer wall remain, and it is a rather sombre experience to stand in the empty square beneath a towering widowed spire.


The square also included a memorial to victims of war and persecution called ‘The Ordeal’ by Edith Breckwoldt, featuring a boy holding his head in his hands.


The inscription is a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and reads:

No man in the whole world can change the truth. One can only look for the truth, find it and serve it. The truth is in all places.

How true.

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