So, true to form, we’ve been absolutely useless at heading off as planned. Reasons for this are quite simple: Absolutely stunning weather, fantastic parking spot, and the medieval capital of the Hanseatic League, Lubeck.
When we arrived on Thursday morning the intent was to spend a day or so going through the old city. Turns out that there is just way too much to see, and that’s just part of it. It’s great being back in Germany – we have quadrupled our beer intake, had coffee and cake whenever we’ve wanted, and opened our evening fare with a standard German dinner.
Today we went on a pretty full-on walking tour of the old city, with Niki going full Deutscher, proceeding at pace and stopping at each of the points marked on the very good tourist map. I hadn’t taken a watch, so was unable to control the flow of walk – rest – walk – beer – repeat, and it was only when nearing collapse that we were able to settle down to a bite to eat and a large beer. The latter was required because I couldn’t reach the water bottle in my bag, and also because the steadily increasing temperatures required adequate rehydration – forecast for tomorrow is 26°C. When thinking that we left Norway at a midday high of 6°C, well, we are enjoying this.
The city has proven to be an absolute gem, and even with Niki cracking the whip we didn’t get round to seeing the Hanseatic museum, and that is apparently a 4 hour expedition. So we’ve shelved plans to move for another day or so, and will look to get to Hamburg on Sunday. We’ve booked the van in for repairs to the fender on Monday in Hamburg, which is only 60km away, so no need to rush anywhere.
Highlights of the walk today – Wow, so much! The St. Marien Kirche was simply astonishing. Begun in 1200 it underwent various additions. Entering the church is impressive enough, with soaring aisles that really characterise the gothic church construction – but then you take a few steps further, and the main vault soars almost 40 meters above ground, with twin spires of 125metres – the highest brick vault in the world, and Germany’s third largest church. I had no idea brick could sustain those stresses, and it’s clear to see why the church itself was used as a model for 70 churches in the Baltic region. Bombed in 1942, reconstruction began in 1947, in the process uncovering some of the original frescoes painted over during the Reformation. The church bells remain where they crashed to the ground in 1942.
History all around you here, from magic marzipan shops to the salt cellars of the Hanseatic Leagues (salt fish for the English), church spires and merchant homes, Willy Brandt to hidden gardens. I’m looking forward to another day here, particularly as coffee and cake right outside the van gives us another opportunity to see an eye-wateringly kaleidoscope sunset, fish eagles, migrating birds (collective noun for a group of swans?)… etc etc!
And … Happy Birthday Devon! (Yes, Dad knows he’s a day late!)