Hellooooo Buzztrippers! Did you miss me? 🙂 After a long summer break I finally am back with a brand new post: stay tuned for more news and articles coming soon! I will write about my summer vacations around Europe and inform you about some September not-to-miss events here in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Today I will bring you north, right on the Baltic coast in Germany: ready to discover Lübeck and Travemünde?
I spent an intense day there at the beginning of August, during a trip that included Hamburg, Bremen, Lüneburg and Schwerin. I had already been to Lübeck a couple of years ago, but this time I absolutely wanted to reach the coast to literally dip my toes into the Baltic waters. So I quickly visited Lübeck in the morning, than took a boat for a cruise on the river Trave, and headed to Travemünde (Trave’s mouth), a popular touristic destination, where I spent a couple of pleasant and deeply relaxing hours.
Lübeck and Travemünde: the Elegant Hanseatic Pearl
Let’s be honest: among all the cities I have visited during my German trip, Lübeck may seem the least appealing, due to the slight rain I found walking around its paved streets and to the still, almost innatural atmosphere I could breathe there (it was Sunday: in Germany all shops and most of the restaurants are closed). Nevertheless, Lübeck is a city where history, traditions and merchants’ industrious activities can easily be perceived. From 13th century onwards, the port of Lübeck became an important starting point for merchants leaving for the Baltic sea and trading with northern countries, acquiring the status of Imperial Free City in 1226.
It was then considered the Queen of the Hanseatic League (which included, among others, Hamburg and Bremen): its commercial, industrious atmosphere made way for a slow decline starting from the 17th century, perfectly described by Thomas Mann masterpiece The Buddenbrook, a book I strongly suggest you to read. If you are heading to the north of Germany, do not miss these attractions in Lübeck:
The massive, huge gate to Lübeck old town is undoubtedly the city’s most recognisable symbol: the brick Gothic building, with two round towers and a main arched entrance is one of the two remaining city gates, and proudly represents the city’s past glory and powerful defensive walls. The façade overlooking the city is richly decorated with windows whereas the field side presents several embrasures: no doubt, it was hard for invaders to penetrate Lübeck walls!
Here it is, the real heart of Lübeck! The Markplatz is a cozy and charming square, surrounded by some modern buildings, by the Marienkirche and, above hall, by a marvelous Rathaus (Town hall). The latter is an unusual, extraordinary example of architecture, composed by a mixture of different styles: in the same building you will see a white, elegant Renaissance palace, a typical Gothic construction with red bricks, a stately entrance staircase, and a lot of…. circular holes! These were not intended as decorations, but had the precise function of letting the wild northern wind blow.
Spend some time right in the Marktplatz, sitting at the historical Niederegger Café: right in front of it, along the Breite Strasse, do not miss the visit of the Niederegger Shop, where the world-famous Lübeck marzipan is produced! Be tempted by mouth-watering sweets and observe how marzipan is transformed by local confectioners: animals, buldings, sculptures entirely made of marzipan will leave you speechless and… hungry!
If you have time, visit the so-called Buddenbrookhaus, that belonged to Thomas Mann’s family. Here, you will leave for a journey inside the writer’s life and works, and observe a room furnished exactly as it was in the Buddenbrook, during a famous Christmas dinner scene: plunge into 19th century atmospheres and get in touch with Lübeck wealthy social classes.
The Marienkirche is the third-largest church in Germany and has been built in the highest part of the Altstadt (Old Town): it represents a real model for Gothic Architecture in northern Germany, and is characterized by a dizzying height. By getting there, you will be welcomed by a “wood” of white high columns, and by a sneaky, twinkly bronze devil statue right next to the lateral entrance…read the legend of the devil here!
The Heiligen-Geist Hospital was opened in the 13th century by Lübeck merchants , intending to help people with health or economic problems: a sort of welfare state ante litteram. It could host up to 100 people and became a real symbol of the city’s assistance to poor population classes. The large complex included a church, a huge dorm, a pharmacy… a real village! In 1820 the dorm was divided into tiny rooms, called Kabäuschen, in order to ensure more privacy to guests. Do not miss the visit since you will realize how powerful merchants were, being able to manage such a huge complex!
Lübeck and Travemünde: Relax and Fun!
If you are visiting Lübeck in sommer, PLEASE, go to Travemünde! You will not regret it at all! Travemünde is a popular summer destinations, just 20 minutes far from Lübeck by train and 1 hour from Hamburg: I had the chance of enjoying the Travemünder Woche (taking place every year during the last week of July), a local festival with regattas, food kiosks, entertainment, concerts, craft markets and much more! Spend some hours on its sandy beach (if you wish, you can rent the famous Strandkörbe, comfortable, wicker chairs located on the beach), walk along the seafront, and take some time to explore this little, charming town! You will admire elegant villas with colorful gardens, several magnificent palaces (nowadays expensive hotels), green parks, the impressive Passat, a sailing ship that seems to guard the river Trave… briefly, you will love it!This entry was posted in Germany