Europe · Germany · Wanderlust

And I looked for you up in the tallest of trees – (Luebeck and Dresden updates!)

Sorry all, this is a super longggg entry! but worth it 😉

Luebeck- Day 1

Greetings! Wie geht’s? Where yesterday was full of art, today was quite full of churches…and marzipan. J

The day broke early, as I was waking up every 15 minutes (or so) because I wasn’t sure what time it was and I had to be checked out by 11 am. I ended up just getting up, dressing and packing and by the time I got downstairs, it was still only 9:15 am. I checked out anyway then went to the common room to check on my travel plans, check my email and of course Facebook for a little bit. My train to Luebeck was at 10:28, so at 9:50, I headed to the Hauptbonhof to buy my ticket, get some brekkie and head on my way. My first, and only, connection was in Hamburg, so the first train was super crowded. Luckily, I got a seat to myself and since on (most) Regio trains, my luggage fits nowhere, I had to keep it on the seat next to me. I always feel a little guilty for doing it, but I enjoy sitting by myself, ha.

In Hamburg, I had a 40 minute layover, so I just hung out on the platform and when the train arrived 10 minutes before it was supposed to leave, I walked all the way to the back, or front depending on which way you look at it, and got on. I was glad that I did this because I was 1 of about 8 people in that entire wagon, so I didn’t feel bad for taking up two seats J. Altogether, the trip took about 2 hours with train time, and 2:30 with waiting time.

As I got off in Luebeck, I had a good feeling. I was armed with a decent map, and it didn’t seem like it was too far to the hostel. The second I got out of the Hauptbonhof, I fell in love with the city! It’s not too big, and not too small and although it is much smaller than Bremen, it is packed full of life! (Or is it tourists?) The city reminds me a lot of Freiburg, but with less cobbled streets (though they exist!) and with more cars and bus transportation. Anyway, as I predicted, the hostel was simple to find and I didn’t get lost once! As I was checking in, a cute Irish boy was, too, but I sadly haven’t seen him since… I immediately went to my room, dropped off my stuff and decided to take advantage of the lovely weather. I went first to the tourist info place, where I proceeded to buy a map and a popsicle. The info office is located right by the Holstentor, which has a large grassy field in front of it, so I decided to plant myself on the grass and relax for a bit. Did you know (I didn’t!) that Andy Warhol used the Holstentor in some of his art? I imagine in a series of silk-screens, in which he would have repeated it in different colors. I’ll have to look that up later. Anyway, I almost fell asleep in the hot sun, but I soldiered on to begin yet another walking tour provided by a tourist map. As I was crossing the street, I received a shock as I noticed the Ampelmaennchen, the famous, unique, cute crosswalk men that are used in East Berlin. I didn’t know it was an entire East Germany thing, but apparently it is (and that makes sense). It was like a little piece of Frau Barner saying Hi to me haha.

Luebeck is full of sites, mostly churches, so the walking tour brought me to a lot of (all of?) them. None of them are too spectacular, but they are all so old that it’s hard not to appreciate them. The first one, Petrikirche, is all white on the inside, and it reminded me of the church in Heidelberg, albeit not as magnificent. There is a lookout tower, so of course I went up and got some nice pictures of the city. In the distance, I could see a bunch of windmills, and it reminded me of Freiburg, except that there are many more in Luebeck, they move a lot faster and are not on top of mountains, rather flat, flat land as far as the eye can see. From there, I went to another church, the Dom. It was very nice here, and in a lovely, quite neighborhood. The inside, however, smelled damp and it reminded me of the basement in my cottage up north haha! I liked this church the best. From there, I went to the smallest church in Luebeck, St. Aegidien, which smelled lovely inside, like some sort of incense. Then, I went to the Huexstrasse, which is nice street with some trendy shops. I cut my walking tour short here, I hope to finish it tomorrow, but I was too hungry and a little bored of a map leading me around. So, I went straight for the marzipan!

Luebeck is famous for their marzipan, but I’m still not sure what it is… Anyway, the famous marzipan café is called Café Niederegger, which is located on the Rathaus-markt. I enjoyed a marzipan cappuccino (which was yummy!) and a piece of marzipan cake (also yummy, but by the end way too sweet) and then headed to the St. Marian church, which is right by the Marktplatz. This church is the tallest brick-stone church in Germany and looks pretty old. Nothing too spectacular on the inside, but it’s pretty intricate. Outside, there is a statue of a devil, weirdly enough, with a cute local tale to accompany it (but I still find it somewhat counterintuitive…). Apparently, the devil thought that they Luebeckers were building a wine bar, so he joined in to help, since he loves wine so much and wine has been the cause of many people being “sent” to him. Well, once he found out they were actually building a church, he got pretty pissed and tried to throw a huge stone at the church, which lies outside of the church to this day. From here, I walked along some streets, just browsing, and found the internet café. For 50 Euro cents per 15 minutes, I kept it as short as possible and chatted a bit with my mom, Emi and Hil and Facebooked for a hot second.

From there, I went back to the hostel and got my jacket because it was getting pretty chilly. I picked up a Doener and headed to the Holstentor grassy field and sat down to write this entry. I’m feeling pretty tired today after so much traveling and exploring in Bremen, so I probably will read on the grass for a little bit then turn in (to read in the hostel…) and go to bed early.

Speaking of my hostel, it’s in a really nice (easy to find) neighborhood, which also happens to be “the only street whose historical facades have been preserved fully intact”! So there! Tomorrow I think I’ll check out a few museums (Fey’s Historic Puppet Museum!…and others) but I haven’t really found anything in the way of art, which is good I guess since I’ve seen so much lately haha.

Anyway, I leave here Thursday early-ish (I have to check out by 10 am) and then I’m making my way to Dresden! It’s a 7+-hour train ride with regional trains, but I might pay the 20 extra Euro (I think it is) to take an ICE and arrive about 2 hours earlier, but we’ll see. I’m staying there Thursday and Friday night, but I think I might also stay for Saturday and leave really early Sunday, since it’s going to take me a while to get back to Freiburg. Plus, only one full day in Dresden will probably not be enough.

Well that’s all from the first day.
Cheers,
Alaina

Luebeck- Day 2

Hello! Today (well, yesterday now… I’m writing from the train!) was a lazy kind of day. By this time, I was getting a little bored of the sites, so I decided to start off the day by just walking around the city. I considered continuing my walking tour, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to it, ha. So I went to the bakery, bought a pastry and a coffee and headed once more to the Holstentor grassy field, which I have taken a liking to. After eating and reading a little bit, I decided I might as well make my way around the city. I started with the Holstentor museum, which I was quite disappointed with. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was boring- it was all about the city in the “old days” when it was used as a fortification, blah blah. The coolest part was the models of all of the old ships hanging from the ceiling. Back in the museum shop, I found a postcard of the Andy Warhol art with the Holstentor- very cool. Of course I bought one for myself and a couple to send…

Also while in the Holstentor, I picked up a brochure of museums in the city. While browsing through it, I noticed the St. Annen Museum (which I had dismissed yesterday) contains art from Caspar David Friedrich and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Naturally, I had to go check it out. Though the gallery was small, it was nice to see work from these two artists.

After that, I walked around for quite some time just exploring the city. I actually go a pretty good feel for the layout of the place, since it’s so small and pretty easy to navigate. By this time, of course, I was getting hungry. I pulled out my trusty guidebook so that it could recommend me a place to eat. The first restaurant I went to said it was supposed to be open, but it wasn’t. The second one I went to was completely empty. …I’m starting to think my guidebook is not so trusty after all. So I went down the Huexstrasse and found a nice little sushi place and got some California rolls. Not as good as the kind from Kroger at home, but still delicious J.

After this I walked around a little bit more, took some pictures and considered buying a book but instead went back to the hostel. There, I ran into the Korean woman that I shared a room with. She’s very friendly, has (at least) one son at home and has been traveling for 3 months already! She started in Egypt, which she regrets, then went to Greece and has been in Europe since then. The Japanese girl (woman? It’s hard to tell with Asians sometimes) that also shared our room showed up and she quit her job and plans to travel for 1 year all over the world! She started in Australia, went to the UK, is now on Europe mainland and is next going to South America. I don’t think the fear, or wariness, of traveling is engrained in them as much as it is engrained in Americans. Or perhaps, they don’t have as much to worry about since they aren’t Americans… Either way, they both had some good stories!

The two of them went off on their way, and I went on mine. I went to the river and read for a while and people watched. Then, I made my way to the Marktplatz to enjoy a beer…and read some more. It was about 9:00 by then, and I was getting pretty tired, so I went back to the hostel. There…I read some more (and finished HP7! So sad…now I have no book to read) and went to bed. A pretty uninteresting day, but it was nice.

Well, Luebeck was a very nice city. I liked it better than Bremen because it felt more ALIVE and I felt like I did more, even though I’m sure I didn’t.

Today I awoke, packed up and checked out. I bought my train ticket to Dresden (with Regio trains, 43,70 Euro and take 7:46 hours, with an hour layover in Berlin) and got on at 11:04 am. I am currently (at the time of this writing) on a train from Bad Kleinen to Berlin, takes 2 hours and 30 minutes, it is stopping every 5 minutes. The train plays a jingle before ever stop, and a small, annoying child is loudly singing along each time… Should be a nice trip!

And since I’m running out of money, losing my patience with sites, and want to be back in Freiburg, I am leaving Dresden on Saturday morning. The trip will take a very long time- just like the trip up here. But I get to stay on 1 train for 5 hours, which is better than changing every hour. I’m not sure how those two Asian girls, or anyone for that matter, can travel for so long in this way. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset this week, being so sad that a bunch of my friends just left Freiburg. I’ll definitely do it again in the future, but still… traveling for 3+ months or a whole year! Whoa….long time.

Anyway, that’s all for now.
Until next time…
Cheers,
Alaina

Dresden- Evening 1

The train ride to Dresden was pretty easy. I had an hour layover in Berlin, which was pretty neat. The Hauptbonhof there is HUGE! I was shocked! I decided I should venture outside a little, since I had been cooped up so long in a train from Luebeck/Bad Kleinen. And boy, was I glad I did! From the door of the Hbf, I could see the Reichstag, a new gov’t building that wasn’t there the last time I was in Berlin and the big radio tower. Cool! The station was also crawling with riot police, though I’m not quite sure why. As I was getting off my train, however, I did see them ushering out a huge group of what may have been Neonazis? I’m not sure- they all had Mohawks and dressed real strange… But all the riot police made me a little nervous! Then on the train trip from Eltherswede, a crazy guy got on and started bugging the poor guy sitting across from me. When the guy tried to leave, the crazy guy went to hit him on the head… I don’t know, it was all very dramatic, but the situation ended fine.

Once I got to Dresden, I was tired and a little overwhelmed, but the station is gorgeous! From the Hbf, I was recommended (by the hostel brochure) to take the tram to get to the hostel and I’ve very glad I did. For one thing, it was way too far for me to walk with all my crap. For another thing, I got a nice little tour of the city as we went over the Elbe. See, my hostel, Lollis Homestay, is in the “Neustadt,” which is actually older than the “Altstadt” (the place that has all the sites). I had a little trouble finding the hostel because I was looking on the wrong side of the road (duh…) but I found it with ease. The place is amazing! The outside is painted and the inside is decorated so eclectically, I immediately took to it! The lady behind the desk has major dreadlocks- I was impressed and a bit jealous that she can pull them off. Then, just as I was thinking this place couldn’t possibly get any cooler, I walk towards the door to the stairway. AND THEY HAVE A “HOSTEL” (the movie) POSTER ON THE DOOR! Ha. Ha. Ha! For those who don’t know, “Hostel” is the movie in which foreigners kidnap innocent, traveling Americans from hostels and torture them. Wow! I thought that was hilarious.

Anyway, again as I’m thinking, “this place is the shit” it again outdoes itself as I open my dorm room door. The place is decorated like my dream room- magazine cutouts all over the wall, yellow wall painting (like my bedroom actually is at home J) and just awesome. Beside my bed there is a little Hinduism symbol painted on the wall, and it makes me feel rather peaceful. And! Again, as it things couldn’t get any better here, there is a little stuffed animal tethered to my bed to keep me company at night! J Ahhh!!! Perf!! My dorm is a “girls only” room, so I wonder what the “guys only” rooms look like… Anyway, it’s awesome. I wish you all could see it! I took some pictures of the room, but it just doesn’t convey how COOL it is.

Alright, so I changed real quick and headed out to explore the Neustadt and to get something to eat. The map they provide us is “made by locals” so I went by it instead of the stupid guidebook (which hasn’t help me too much thus far). One of the funny things it says is: “Waiting for ice cream here on a summer evening is like waiting for bananas in the old GDR days: the queue goes from the shop until around the corner.” Hahaha! I took a class on the GDR, so I find this especially funny and I like that they are kind of poking fun at their history. As in Luebeck, the cross walk signs are all the Ampelmaennchen (so it IS a GDR thing) and I think that’s cool. So I used the map’s advice and went for Indian food! Yes, Indian food in the old GDR- does anyone else find that as comical as I do?? Anyway, the place was sweet and the food (I got something that I don’t remember the name of, but it was baked cauliflower) was great!

From there, I went to the ice cream place that had the funny advertisement in the map and it was good, as ice cream always is. Then, I become more “local” by going into the Alaunpark (conveniently about 5 minutes from my hostel) to eat it and just chill. It was getting pretty dark by then, but there were still a lot of people out there grilling and having a good time. And now I’m here! I still have to pay for internet, so I won’t be updating tomorrow and I’ll just wait until I’m in Freiburg…

So far, I like the place. The Neustadt is the “trendy” neighborhood and “some Neustaedter only cross the river to the Altstadt five times per year, because their aunt happens to live there.” Hahaha. But I’m a little intimidated by it. By “trendy,” I’m not sure what they mean because this is not my idea of “trendy”- this is definitely my idea of hippie, Haight-Ashbury kind of stuff. But it’s cool. Thus far, this is the one city I really wish I had come to with a group of friends. It seems like it would be a lot more fun to share the eccentricities of the Neustadt (and I assume the amazing sites of the Altstadt) with someone other than myself…and a camera. But tomorrow is going to be a long day as I try and squeeze in all the required sites of Dresden to make it out of here Saturday morning and back to Freiburg by Saturday night!

Hope all is well at home! Love you all!
Until next time…
Cheers,
Alaina

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