Brugge without the sandy footpaths, Brugge with the cold and volatile weather – that was Lübeck at first glance.
Günter Grass, many turquoise church steeples, the Hanseatic League, extraordinary architecture, Thomas Mann, and…marzipan – if I could only sum up Lübeck with several key words.
A Schleswig-Holstein Ticket took the 3 of us to Lübeck during the second weekend of the course – the once-mighty fortress and capital of the Hanseatic League of merchants that has been remarkably restored and is now a UNESCO heritage site. Lübeck lost its greatness when the politics of the 16th -17th centuries overran the Hanseatic League’s political and economic influence, but not its shape.
Characterised by the amazing number of church steeples concentrated in a small area, Lübeck’s old town was immediately recognisable the moment the train pulled slowly into the main train station.
“We are all Japanese tourists for the day,” moaned Jose, as we whipped out our cameras simultaneously as we reached the Holstentor, the cute (but somewhat lopsided) twin towers that were previously part of some medieval fortification that opened up to the Altstadt. It is also one of the 2 remaining gates to the city, the other being Burgtor.
Having been in Lübeck for a day, I told him that he was pretty much qualified to be our tour-guide, and he agreed that it was easy indeed, to walk around and simply, give us all the wrong information about the historical events.
“Lübeck is…nice…but small. Hamburg is..nicer. Lübeck is still nice, nonetheless,” said Jose.
“How do you know that?”
“The people are more…provincial. They dress differently.” He affirmed after thinking through his reply rather carefully.
How does one respond to that?
“Sometimes, there could really be really worse things than being a photo-taking tourist,” commented Michael.
With that, I suddenly felt justified in (and brave) walking around with my camera in hand. A couple of hours spent in the old town pretty much covered all that I needed to see, and the number of red-bricked crow-stepped gabled town houses that was in the old town was rather staggering.
Who could forget the marzipan shop?
And don’t be deceived – the weather wasn’t that good.