Sunday in Lübeck
Though we are headed home tomorrow, Ellis and Mary have another couple of days to explore Hamburg, so we suggested that we take the train to Lübeck this morning.
We love being in grand European railway stations like this, watching the comings and goings. As we waited for our small, regional train, a set of sleeper carriages slowly passed through the station, followed by several wagons containing the cars of, presumably, those just waking up in a rather distant place from the one where they'd gone to sleep last night. Where had it come from? Where was it going? We had no idea...but one thing's for sure, geography means it can't go that much further from here!
Ours was a small but busy train; a double decker too. We thought the tickets were a bargain - just €32 return for the four of us, since we qualified as a "small group" of no more than five adults. It was a 45 minute ride each way too - what a steal.
We climbed on board and sat upstairs, of course!
Lübeck Hauptbahnhof is a grand place, in the tradition of such buildings here in Germany. We lost no time in heading for the town centre though, and followed a throng of folks who'd arrived on the same train as us, down the main avenue heading in the same direction.
The first sight to greet all visitors from the station is the grand Holstentor. I'd remembered that the two towers leaned inwards but had forgotten by how much! It leans forwards too...
Difficult to capture I'm afraid, but you get the idea...
We hadn't gone far into the city centre before we realised something was going on. Fire officers were standing by the roadside, there were traffic cones here and there and a small crowd stood outside Peek and Cloppenburg. It was the day of the City-Run Never mind, it's sometimes fun to be in a city when such an event is taking place, we thought.
But sadly, that wasn't quite the case here. Whilst we had come to wander about medieval streets and see things like this, what we actually saw was more like this...
The man with the loudspeaker was very loud indeed and trying to see beyond the "stuff" was virtually impossible.
There was only one place to take refuge: the marzipan shop! We consoled ourselves with coffee and cake (marzipan covered, of course) and lingered a little longer choosing our purchases than perhaps we might have done otherwise.
We even did a short quiz, for which a prize was awarded for four correct answers. You'll guess what the prize was...
Upstairs was a small museum, featuring a variety of marzipan masterpieces, some of which worked better than others.
Suitably sated with all things marzipan then, we headed for the two places we wanted to see most of all.
Braving the commotion outside in the street again, then, we wandered over to the Marienkirche
The largest such church in Europe (it's not a cathedral), this was the model on which so many similar churches were designed, in particular throughout the Hanseatic ports.
It's very impressive, lofty and rather colourful in a subdued, restrained kind of way.
At the back is a small chapel with a pair of broken bells, left as a memorial to the day the city was bombed and part of the church destroyed.
It wasn't the only thought-provoking reminder of dreadful events around here. Just like in several other places we've visited, small plaques in the pavement give us cause to stop and think.
From the Marienkirche, it was only a short stroll to Mengstrasse, where one of my favourite books was set in this very house.
Though I read it first in German, not long after my first visit here, when I had the time and motivation to do such things (!), I think it's maybe time to read it again, in English this time though! I might nibble on some marzipan as I do...