24-Feb-2019 -- As we had been discussing ways of implementing geotechnologies in instruction and research all week at the University of Hamburg, and as a component of geotechnologies is gathering location-based data in the field, a confluence visit seemed like a perfect capstone. After reviewing the two options nearest to Hamburg along 10 East, 54 North and 53 North, 53 seemed the more interesting of the two. Thus, Sunday afternoon found us driving south through some magnificent countryside in Lower Saxony, with a goal of 53 North 10 East.
We first stopped near the Port of Hamburg, and visited a church (St Gertrud) that was completely surrounded by industrial land use, but miraculously was saved through some heroic efforts by citizens. Then we proceeded south on the 7 Motorway, exiting at Bispingen, and closed in on our destination. We were driving south on 71 Motorway through beautiful countryside and on purpose over-shot our destination. The road to the south of the confluence is marked as military and private, so we drove back north and then parked about 185 meters northeast of the 71 Motorway.
We gathered supplies and began walking south. I admit I was a bit nervous walking down the path with these good friends and colleagues. I usually attempt these points by myself mostly because there is always the element of the unexpected, and I wanted it to be a good experience for everyone. But I need not have worried: After a very pleasant walk through the trees, we passed a cleared field to our left, and much to my surprise, we did not even have to climb the railroad embankment, as there was a tunnel below it with the railroad passing above. Soon after, we turned west toward the roadway, and then south, and then located the confluence just along the west side of the path. It could have just as easily been in the steep embankment to the west, or in the gully where we would not have likely zeroed-out the GPS receiver, but miraculously was, today anyway, very easy to find. After about 10 minutes, there were all the zeroes which brought about our centered bliss. We had a grand time there in the forest, and were on site for about 15 minutes. The confluence is in a low place, and the views are not expansive from it, but it is a peaceful place, despite the motorway almost visible up the embankment to the west. We saw no animals or birds.
This was the first time I had stood on 10 East, but I had stood on 53 North a few times in the past, in England and Wales. I had stood on 10 East once before, in Tunisia. I have a small but tidy collection of confluences in Germany now, spanning 12 years, from 2008 near Regensburg, and my freezing cold but wonderful cycling trip to a point near Cologne in 2018, along with today's visit. Today the temperature stood at 67 F or 19 C - under sunny skies, and a fine winter day that seemed more like spring.
We walked back the way we came, and since the round trip time was not that long, we even had time to walk around the lovely town of Lüneburg, to the northeast, before journeying back to Hamburg for my final evening there. It was indeed a sehr gut unforgettable day with some wonderful geo-friends and colleagues. Get out there and explore! Tschuss!