The Alster is Hamburg's soul. Created by damming part of the River Elbe in the 13th century, the lake and its little canals that take you through the residential backyards of Hamburg is now an integral part of the cityscape. (Hamburg has more bridges than Venice, Italy by the way…) The “Alster” covers an area of 160 hectares and is almost entirely surrounded by parks and trees. We met our friend Det, a photographer from Hamburg. I went to school with him many years ago and after catching up on 18 years of gossip we took a paddle boat ride; floating through the “white city.” Then stopped for ice cream and sodas. A perfect day.