We spent another day in our neighborhood with a walk/run around Lake Alster and when we met up, we stopped for a mid-day meal at a café on the water. The day was a beauty but on the way home the weather changed to an abrupt rainstorm. It was still a grand day and you couldn’t beat the goulash with späetzle (noodle dough run through a large sieve, boiled, then sometimes lightly fried). Sehr gut (very good)!

We took a daytrip by train north 45 minutes to Lübeck, Germany on the Baltic Sea. This medieval city is surrounded by two canals. The Holsten gates were impressive. When we checked into the visitor’s center, I asked the gal helping us what her personal favorite thing about the city was - she smiled and mentioned something about the Gänge and brought out a map showing where they were located. Gänge are alleyways or entrances to groups of private homes. There are personalized front entries, flower and vegetable gardens. Walking down one of the Gänge and peeking into the private areas gives one a sense of seeing something only the locals are aware of. If I hadn’t asked her for her opinion, we would have never seen the Gänge map or understood what or where they were.

As we started our day in Lübeck, we stopped at a bakery for coffee and a sweet. Since we were the only ones there to begin with, we got a chance to talk with Katarina owner of Engelsbäkerei, and who I think has a real talent for blending flavors. I had her home-blend of chai in a latté, D an espresso, and D asked her what her favorite thing in the entire bakery was. I shared bites of a flourless chocolate spiced cake that was amazing in even just the smallest of bites and it enhanced the flavors of my peppery spiced chai.

We toured St. Mary’s church - best known as the mother of all Gothic brick churches. It set the pattern for similar style churches along the Baltic. It is the tallest brick stone vault in the world. It is also known for the preservation of the fallen church bells during the 1942 British air raid on Lübeck. The broken bells sit where they originally fell that night.

We walked through the home of Chancellor Willy Brandt (Lübeck’s native son) which commemorated his life and political work as a social democrat, statesman, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

For a light bite we finally tried a Turkish döner kebab (very similar to a Greek gyros but better) as we have seen them everywhere. That won't be the last one we have - absolutely delicious! Later in the day we were walking by a deli shop and saw people devouring what looked to be an amazing ham sandwich with a sugar glazed - absolutely the best tasting sugar glazed ham sandwich ever! If you're thinking all we do is eat, then you would be right!

We enjoyed our day in Lübeck, but the mix of ultra-modern, traffic, and medieval city took some getting used to.

Late into that night and the next morning were spent planning where we would go after Hamburg, how long we would stay in any one place, and searching for the best accommodations to meet our needs. This is more time consuming than you would guess and takes both of us formulating the plan. Later that day Dennis visited the bombed out cathedral Mahnmal St. Nikolai (memorial).

It was a mix of cool/ damp and cool/sun on our visit to Hamburg, but since we are from the Pacific Northwest, we weren’t hampered by the damp days at all. Public transportation in Hamburg was very easy.  We really appreciated the ease of moving about Hamburg - with its inner-city metro and train lines running out of the city.  After 6 nights we left Hamburg on the train heading south for an overnight in Cologne then we will pick-up a rental car for our time in the Mosel and Rhine river regions. Until then tschüss (bye).

Thanks for joining us on our journey.
Stay tuned,