Friday, 17 June 2016

2016 Trip to Europe - Day 10 - Travemunde and Lubeck



Day 10 - Travemünde and Lübeck 

Travemunde Port
Our boat docked at Travemünde, a charming small waterfront town with beautiful wide golden sand beaches.  In the warm sun -- it was well above 26 C -- people were both sunbathing and swimming. Swimming in the Baltic Sea? I suppose it was no colder than Lake Huron. 

They had warned us on the ship that there would be no taxis available at Travemünde.  While I hate being part of any tour group, for Lübeck, a forty minute drive from where the ship docked, it appeared to be necessary.  We opted for a ship-arranged tour of Lübeck, a three hour guided walking tour followed by a one hour canal boat ride. It proved to be a good choice. 

Why should we even want to see Lübeck? Because we are musicians and were both reared on the story of how Johann Sebastian Bach, as a young man, walked 400 kilometres to Lübeck, to hear the great organist and composer, Buxtehude, who was organist and choir directed at the Marienkirke , St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Marienkirke, Lubeck
For us it was a sentimental voyage only. The church and the Buxtehude organ were quite needlessly destroyed in a bombing raid in the final days of WW II. The Germans had bombed the magnificent Coventry Cathedral in England, a wanton act of destruction of a site with no strategic importance. The Allies retaliated by reducing to rubble the medieval walled town of Lubeck, complete with its original Buxtehude church and organ. Another wanton act of destruction. Tit for tat. The “he hit me first” mentality one finds among first graders on any playground. What were they thinking? 

There were a few buildings and parts of buildings left, a part of the Marienkirke, but not the great organ. The church was rebuilt in the original design, entirely of brick, even to the vaulted ceilings, and a new organ was installed. There is a plaque on the wall commemorating the historic meeting between Buxtehude and Bach. The beautiful twin steeples of the Marienkirke can be seen from miles away.

After the war the town was repaired and rebuilt. Some of the old buildings remained and were restored, some were rebuilt in the style of the old ones, and some were built in a modern, box and glass style. The result is rather disconcerting. One architectural type of structure unique to Lübeck is the, for want of a better word, the “back alley” house. In the middle ages people rented out their
Lubeck Back Yard Houses
small back yard spaces to other, poorer people, who put wooden shacks up on them. Over the centuries these tiny houses became first brick and then two story – one small room on each floor. Today these miniature houses in the middle of the old city sell for about a hundred fifty thousand euros. They can be reached only though narrow arched walkways between houses. We were told that getting even small simple furniture into them is a challenge. In the fourteen hundreds when these houses were turned from wood to brick, every brick was handmade and laid out in the sun to dry. Animals, cats, dogs, probably rats, walked across them leaving their footprints to be seen in the bricks for the next millennia.   

Lubeck has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Lubeck Canal
We ended the tour with a pleasant boat ride on the wide canal that encircles the town. And we bought a basket of dark, ripe strawberries in the market square. Not a total loss.


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Where Lemons Bloom by Blair McDowell
Blair McDowell's latest tale of Suspense  takes the reader to Italy's  beautiful Amalfi Coast.


"Adamo and Eve are two people who have both been through their own versions of hell. They are both certain that they are not ready to enter into a relationship, but love finds them anyway. Then it takes them on the non-stop thrill ride of their lives."
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When Eve Anderson meets Adamo de Leone on a ship bound for Europe, she has no idea of the dark secret that will endanger both their lives. She accompanies him to his home on Italy’s Amalfi Coast to open an inn left to him by his grandfather. But then she learns he spent 5 years in prison for a crime he claims he didn’t commit. Could the man she loves be responsible for embezzling eighty million dollars from the investment firm he once owned?

Adamo wants to hold Eve at arm’s length until he can clear his proud family name. But when there is an attempt on his life and Eve is terrorized by a gun-bearing thug, he realizes how much he wants her, and he must accept whatever help he can get to uncover the well-hidden trail of a six-year-old crime.


Books of Blair McDowell
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Blair McDowell