Sunday, October 04, 2009

German Adventure Day 11: Tuesday, July 28th

Our last full day in Germany. This day was so surreal for me - not looking forward to the long plane ride home, taking care of my still-swollen foot, but mostly trying to take it all in one last time. I realized that while there were things I were sick of in Germany, I would come to miss them once I was back in the States. Now what I mostly feel is relief that I am finally done posting these pictures! But I will give this day the same attention every other day has gotten and tell you about our wonderful last day in Germany.

We started off the day taking a look at a farmer's markey in Kiel:

All the farmer's markets that we went to had lots of berries, fish, and FLOWERS! The climate is different, and as such the selection is different as well. But it's no less charming!

Next we went to Lubeck, a town not far from Kiel. Much of its historic buildings were lost in World War II - do you see a theme in all my Germany posts?

However, the city has been rebuilt in keeping with the medieval theme. In fact, it was declared a World Heritage site in 1987!

The entire town is surrounded by water.

Mike with our generous and lovely hosts, the Mr. and Mrs. Wolfgang Hampe the Elder.

I just LOVED the architecture of Lubeck! If there is anything like this in America, I haven't seen it!

The churches in Lubeck are breathtaking. This is St. Mary's church (Marien zu Lübeck), constructed in the thirteenth century.

The Marienkirche is a prime example of the Brick Gothic style. The architecture and structure was groundbreaking for the time of its many renovations. Unfortunately, the church was almost completely burned out duried the Allied raid on Palm Sunday of 1942

We saw many, many organs in Germany, but this organ.....WOW! I can see why muscians like Handel and Back have played here!

The main nave (ceiling).

These are the bells that burned in the belltower on the night of the Allied raid in 1942. They were found when reconstruction was done,and the church was rebuilt around them. What a juxtaposition they made with the rest of the church!

Else lit a candle for our safe return to the States. A very simple gesture, yet so meaningful.

A big clock/calendar/schedule of everything happening in the world right now. I swear I stared at this thing for a full 10 minutes and I couldn't figure it out.

A Last Supper relief.

I took this picture from a second-story cafe where we tried some of the delicious marzipan that Lubeck is so famous for. Wolfgang and Else are such calm, relaxing people - the kind of people you can just sit with and not have to feel like you need to talk. As we sat there, it hit me again that we would be leaving this wonderful country soon.

Do I really have to leave this place?!? Sure, my German is still horrible, but I said "Danke schön" to a cashier today and she did NOT look at me like I accidentally told her that her mother is an elephant or something. There's hope for me, right?? RIGHT?!?

Okay, maybe not. But there is hope for this blog post, which will finally be posted! Pretty soon I can blog about everything that has happened SINCE we got back from Germany in July!

Friday, October 02, 2009

German Adventure Day 11: Tuesday, July 28th

Our second-to-last full day in Germany. Christiane (Nil's mom) drove us to Kiel so we could spend our last few days in Germany with Nil's grandparents. Kiel is about an hour North of Hamburg, right on the Baltic Sea.

We stayed with Wolfgang's parents, Else and Wolfgang The Elder (that's how I think of him in my head to distinguish him from Nils' father, who shares the same name). They maintain a lovely home with a huge garden and many fruit trees.

German houses are so different than American houses - they don't feel the need to spread out so much and appreciate their space more!

Kiel was an important center for Naval Activity during World War II, and still is a major shipbuilding center. We got the unique opportunity to tour a submarine that was used during World War II, Unterseeboot 995. A crew of 40-50 lived on this vessel.
Only one word can sum up the feeling I got from being on this boat: snug!! I can't imagine what it was like to live on one of those things. They were pretty inventive:
That is a BED below the torpedo! Don't sit up too fast! I am told that 2-3 crew members would be assigned the same bed and would sleep in shifts. That's Else standing next to Mike. My poor husband....ships like this were NOT made for guys his height!

The spacious kitchen. I had about as much counter space in our first apartment!

Wolfgang, the Elder. Remember how I mentioned that Nils' dad has the most energy of any man his age I have ever met? He inherited it from this guy.

Every single square inch was put to use!

The ONLY toilet on the ship could not be flushed below 25 m!

Whew, was I glad to get out of there! The Laboe Naval Memorial is near the submarine, so we visited that as well. It was originally built to memorialize World War I, but was later rededicated to commemorate sailors who died in both World Wars. I liked that is remembers sailors of ALL nationalities, but I found that it presented a rather rose-tinted view of war.

As I said before, Kiel is right on the Baltic Sea. It was heavily bombed at the close of WWII but much of it has been rebuilt. We found this to be true of many German cities we visited. Kiel's port is very busy, with sailing ships, ferries from places like Sweden and Norway, and shipbuilding yards.

The next day was our last full day in Germany. I always start feeling the same way at this point in a vacation: sad to leave, but eager to get home. I was NOT looking forward to the loooooong plane ride, but I was really missing our animals, hearing ENGLISH, and American food. But our time in Kiel was very enjoyable - I was able to rest my foot and the rest of my body as well. As you can see from the pictures, Wolfgang and Else have a GORGEOUS home. It was so relaxing!! And as a bonus, Else the nurse took excellent care of my foot! We are so grateful for everyone who hosted us during our German adventure!