A Life in the Slow Lane

Oh no, not more Brick Gothic

We set out last night to find a restaurant selling good German fare and failed basically due to lack of vegetarian options for Sarah. The Germans do like their meat. We were left with a choice of Italian options and settled down outside one on Lubeck’s river. When our pizzas arrived they were excellent, which makes a change, but huge. They were the biggest pizzas we have ever seen, probably eighteen inches or more across and hanging over the edge of what were already very big plates. I manfully struggled through mine, with sausage – what else, and some of Sarah’s and had my first draft German beer of the trip. What a treat.

This morning we set off from our free overnight stop in downtown Lubeck heading for a campsite on the Baltic. We have decided to have a couple of days of rest and relaxation. However on the way we were going to pass through the town of Wismar, so we decided to stop for a quick look.

Wismar street with Marienkirke tower in the background

It is yet another Hanseatic League town, although being conquered by Sweden in the 17th Century severely curtailed their success. We found a free place to park Basil from the ever useful, if not very imaginatively named, French App, Park4night.

Wismar street scene

Our walk revealed yet another pretty little town, but in this case not yet discovered by mass tourism. Wismar has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status, but it is not such a big draw as Lubeck.

Window detail from Duke of Mecklenburg’s residence.

There were more fine Brick Gothic and half timbered houses and a Marienkirche much influenced by the one in Lubeck. Wismar’s example had been less fortunate in the second world war and all that now stands is the splendid brick tower, the rest having be destroyed by RAF bombs very late in the war.

The remaining tower of the Marienkirke. Notice how high the central aisle used to be.

The town square is one of the largest in Northern Germany and surrounded by an array of interesting buildings including on Art Nouveau example. Unfortunately the cobbles on the town square are being relaid and so it is currently much disturbed.

Dutch Renaissance Water Pavillion in the town square. In the background on the far left you can see an Art Nouveau facade on one of the buildings

For those of you hoping not to hear the words “Brick Gothic” as long as you shall live, you will be pleased to know that this is the last Hanseatic League port we plan to visit!

It puzzles me as to why Britain has retained so little of its architecture of this period on its old East Coast ports. Places like Kings Lynne and my home town of Boston were huge trading ports in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, but very few buildings from the period have survived, which is a shame, because these similar Baltic ports are fascinating places to explore.

Wismar is our first stop in what used to be East Germany and we were prepared for some ugly communist era architecture, in particular blocks of flats, but were pleased not to find any. There were some flats, but they looked to have been tastefully renovated so perhaps that is what is happening to the DDR’s legacy.

After and hour or so we carried on to our campsite, Camping Ostsee Rerik (54.112283, 11.630421). As we pulled up ourside Sarah was unfortunately hit by one of her, now thankfully rare, migraines and immediately went to bed. It’s very handy having a bed to climb straight into!

At reception I was met by a man who was not fluent in English. His English was better than my German, but we helped each other out, both using Google translate and we were eventually given a pitch. It is a €17 a night ACSI site, which is surprisingly still quite full. We’ve got a large pitch and tomorrow the weather promises to be even better than today, although in reality I mean hotter, because today has been perfect with barely a cloud in the sky.