Saturday, October 25, 2014

Holiday - Germany (Day 8) - Final Day

It’s our final day of our holiday in Germany today. We’re travelling to Lübeck - another old town, as well as the home to some massive marzipan manufacture!

The weather is the worst we’ve had so far - absolutely chucking it down, and VERY cold too - with the forecast for the rest of the day for a slight improvement. Yuk!

And so, we boarded the now very familiar Underground route to get us to Hamburg Station, and then connected with our direct train to Lübeck, just 30 minutes away. For a Saturday, the train was pretty busy - and everyone seemed to be heading in the same direction as us. On arrival at Lübeck, the weather was much the same - dark, wet and looking pretty dismal! Initially, it wasn’t even worth getting the camera out, as everywhere looked so dull.

With everywhere OUTSIDE looking so unattractive, we headed for Lübeck’s most famous interior space - their marzipan shop, Niederegger’s. A quick walk round revealed that they manufactured virtually anything and everything in marzipan: Frogs made out of marzipan, ham made out of marzipan, cheese made out of marzipan, giraffes made out of marzipan - and of course marzipan made out of err, marzipan! Fantastic! We took the opportunity to have a coffee in their coffee shop - one of the few things NOT containing marzipan (but the accompanying cake did!!)

Marzipan Heaven - otherwise known as Niederegger’s

Then it was back to the elements where the day had slightly improved. It still wasn’t a photographer’s ideal canvas, but at least we got some shots of the town.


Scenes around Lübeck

We quickly determined that the Rathaus (Town Hall) was the oldest in Germany, dating back to 13th century - so the fact it was inside and warm, it made perfect sense to sign up for the guided tour later at 1.30.

With just an hour-or-so to kill before the tour began, we headed for the town’s churches - three to choose from, but the only one that wasn’t having serious renovation was St Jakobi, dating back to 1334.

St Jakobi Church

Our timings worked out pretty well, and by the time we’d finished at St Jakobi’s, it was time to head for the Rathaus for our promised conducted tour. As we arrived, we could see it was a pretty popular event, and we jostled with the locals waiting for the Tour Guide to arrive. Just before it all started, a local (who turned out to be the local eccentric) started chatting to me in his most polite German. Thinking that if I told him I was English, he’d bugger off, my plan failed spectacularly, as he then switched to perfect English, complimenting me on my camera skills, how The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were the best bands in the world, and that a ‘full English’ was the best meal going! Luckily for me, as soon as the Tour began, he drifted away. I saw him later through the safety of a window in the Rathaus, ‘entertaining’ other locals in the town square!

It was a packed Tour - there must have been over 50 people there. Unluckily for us, our Tour Guide only spoke in German, which meant that Ann picked up about 50% of it, and I picked up about 1%! Hardly an ideal score for a comprehensive understanding of what it all about. Still, it looked very old, had been very well preserved, and went on for ages (a bit like me!!!)

The Oldest Town Hall in Germany - Lübeck

With the Tour completed, we took a slow walk back to the Station, giving us just time to grab a few more shots of the town, before we jumped on the Train.

Final Scenes of Lübeck

We were back at the Hotel by about 5pm. A quick trip to Reception, and with their help, meant that we’re all checked-in for our flights home tomorrow, with our Boarding Passes printed. Clocks are back 1 hour here too tonight so we’ll get an extra hour’s sleep tonight, before we take the final walk back to the Underground tomorrow destined for the Airport.

So, what of the holiday? Well, I think that mid-October, weather-wise, isn’t necessarily the best time of year to travel around central Europe - we’d probably go in September next time - but on the whole, we had mostly dry weather, with only a few days of murkiness that really took the edge off the places we visited.

Accommodation-wise, the idea of the self-catering apartment (in Berlin), where we could do our own thing, worked out really, really well (and ended up costing us about the same as a cheapish hotel) - we’d certainly look to do that again. The Holiday Inn Express at our second location in Hamburg, was perfectly situated for transport links, and the staff were very helpful and the rooms well appointed.

We visited plenty of places during our stay, and the public transport was easy to navigate, and very cheap - it saved the hassle of hiring a car, and what with the gazillions of cyclists in both locations, I’m not sure I’d want to be responsible for trying to look out for them in a car - they are everywhere, mostly on the cycle paths, but when these intersect a road or a pedestrian area, the cyclists don’t always let you know they’re approaching!  I’ve got a few bruised knees from some close encounters of the kerb kind!