You know you’re still kind of naive about blogging when you think, “Hey, next week I’m going to Hamburg. Maybe when I come home, I’ll write a post about Hamburg.”
For one thing, “when I come home” is an unprecedented deadline around here; currently, my record for longest time elapsed between experience and blog post is something like four years (though that becomes a lot less dramatic when you remember I only started this blog nine months ago).
For another, as anyone who has ever walked out of their front door can tell you, plans–even the flimsiest and noncommittal of plans, which deliberately include the word “maybe”–are generally kind of a joke in the face of actual life. (Nice try, though.)
I mean, we did go to Hamburg; that plan worked out all right. But when we got home, it wasn’t the place I felt like writing about; that plan kind of failed. In the way that the flimsiest and noncommittal of plans, which deliberately include the word “maybe,” tend to do.
Nah, the place I want to talk about today is Lübeck. Since we drove to Hamburg rather than fly or take the train, we figured we should take some kind of side trip before heading back to the Netherlands. That’s the whole point of road trips. And, as you may have noticed, I seem to have quite the affinity for quick trips in Germany.
With a population of just under 213,000, Lübeck is the kind of city that I have grown to love in recent years. Sure, there’s still something magical about big cities like New York, or London; but personally, it’s the little guys–the ones that have just enough “city” to give you anonymity without drowning you in their midst–that I’m into these days. (As poetic as I try to make it sound, I’m probably just growing boring and moderate in my old age. I make no apologies.)
Back in the day, you could only enter Lübeck through one of its three gates. Now, only pieces of two of those gates remain. The most famous is probably the Holstentor, which stands at the city’s west entrance and, these days, brings more people in than it keeps out.
It’s a downright charming place to visit in December, especially if you’ve got a hearty dose of holiday spirit. Well, maybe only if you’ve got a hearty dose of holiday spirit. Like pretty much everywhere else in Germany, the Christmas markets are in full swing and the streets are decked out. The Altstadt (the Old City) is quite compact, giving the whole affair a very small and cozy feel, like those little villages people put on their mantelpiece with mirrors for ice skating ponds. We even came across a band playing Christmas songs…in a building, in front of a set of windows, out to an audience of people standing on the street. That was pretty weird.
I’m sure there’s plenty more to Lübeck that we didn’t get the chance to see. That being said, it wound up being a great choice for a quick stop, as far as we were concerned. We strolled through the Altstadt, explored a few side streets, had a coffee, and were on our way in under two hours. It was a perfect way to finish off our time in Germany.
Best wishes for 2016, everyone! (Or as they say in the Netherlands, beste wensen voor 2016!)