Tallinn, Estonia

Panorama of All-linn (Lower Old Town) taken from Toompea (Upper Old Town), Tallinn, Estonia

Panorama of All-linn (Lower Old Town) taken from Toompea (Upper Old Town), Tallinn, Estonia

 

“Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km (50 miles) south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg.  Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 square miles) and has a population of 440,597.  Approximately 32% of Estonia’s total population lives in Tallinn.  Founded in 1248 but the earliest human settlements date back to 3000 years BC, making it one of the oldest capital cities of Northern Europe.  Due to its important strategic location the city soon became a major trade hub, especially between the 14th to 16th century when it grew to be a key center of commerce within the Hanseatic League.  Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved and intact medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.” – Wikipedia

 

The Tallinn Song Festival Grounds is where in 1988 the Spring Revolution set Estonia on its road towards independence; the site now hosts the “Song and Dance Celebration" every 5 years with 24,000 singers and 200,000 spectators

The Tallinn Song Festival Grounds is where in 1988 the Spring Revolution set Estonia on its road towards independence; the site now hosts the “Song and Dance Celebration” every 5 years with 24,000 singers and 200,000 spectators

 

St. Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, completed in 1900, sits atop Toompea Hill (upper Old Town); it was built to reflect Russian dominance over the territory at that time; Tallinn, Estonia

St. Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, completed in 1900, sits atop Toompea Hill (upper Old Town); it was built to reflect Russian dominance over the territory at that time; Tallinn, Estonia

 

The highly decorated Russian Orthodox interior of St. Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia

The highly decorated Russian Orthodox interior of St. Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia

 

A rare example of a 19th century building with the limestone blocks exposed – the later construction method was to then cover the facades with plaster painted in a variety of bright hues, Toompea (upper Old Town), Tallinn, Estonia

A rare example of a 19th century building with the limestone blocks exposed – the later construction method was to then cover the facades with plaster painted in a variety of bright hues, Toompea (upper Old Town), Tallinn, Estonia

 

A portion of the old town wall in Toompea (upper Old Town); the walls, constructed in the 13th century, covered a circumference of 1.9 km (1.2 miles) and are one of Europe’s best preserved Medieval fortifications; Tallinn, Estonia

A portion of the old town wall in Toompea (upper Old Town); the walls, constructed in the 13th century, covered a circumference of 1.9 km (1.2 miles) and are one of Europe’s best preserved Medieval fortifications; Tallinn, Estonia

 

Tallinna Raekoda (Town Hall), dates back to the early 15th century (the weathervane atop the spire was first placed there in 1530); it is now used for concerts and select political events; Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinna Raekoda (Town Hall), dates back to the early 15th century (the weathervane atop the spire was first placed there in 1530); it is now used for concerts and select political events; Tallinn, Estonia

 

In Old Town (both the upper section, Toompea Hill, and the lower section, All-linn) cobblestone streets wind along the remnants of a powerful medieval city wall, past its gates and guard towers and spread out in between narrow row houses.  Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square) is surrounded by sunny, pastel-colored structures, leaving the center open for the market, as it has been since the 11th century.  St. Katherine’s (Katarina’s) Passage has galleries set up in vaulted cellar rooms.

 

A close-up of the spire of Tallinna Raekoda (Town Hall); the tower is accessible for climbing for a view of the city during the summer; Tallinn, Estonia

A close-up of the spire of Tallinna Raekoda (Town Hall); the tower is accessible for climbing for a view of the city during the summer; Tallinn, Estonia

 

A long row of shops and cafes along one side of Raekoja Plats (Town Hall square), Tallinn, Estonia

A long row of shops and cafes along one side of Raekoja Plats (Town Hall square), Tallinn, Estonia

 

An old shop on the corner of the Raekoja Plats (Town Hall square), dating back to the 15th century, Tallinn, Estonia

An old shop on the corner of the Raekoja Plats (Town Hall square), dating back to the 15th century, Tallinn, Estonia

 

An outdoor cafe in Raekoja Plats (Town Hall square), Tallinn, Estonia

An outdoor cafe in Raekoja Plats (Town Hall square), Tallinn, Estonia

 

Home to St. Catherine’s Guild, St. Catherine’s passage is one of the most picturesque sites in All-linn (Lower Old Town); 15th to 17th century rooms for artisans line the lane, adjacent to the Dominican Monastery; Tallinn, Estonia

Home to St. Catherine’s Guild, St. Catherine’s passage is one of the most picturesque sites in All-linn (Lower Old Town); 15th to 17th century rooms for artisans line the lane, adjacent to the Dominican Monastery; Tallinn, Estonia

 

The old town wall at the eastern side of All-linn (Lower Old Town), Tallinn, Estonia

The old town wall at the eastern side of All-linn (Lower Old Town), Tallinn, Estonia

 

A fantastical dining scene tableau at the storefront window of the 2-year old, all local products restaurant, “Farm”, near the Viru Gates [see next photograph] where, with friends, we had an incredible Estonian dinner; Tallinn, Estonia

A fantastical dining scene tableau at the storefront window of the 2-year old, all local products restaurant, “Farm”, near the Viru Gates [see next photograph] where, with friends, we had an incredible Estonian dinner; Tallinn, Estonia

One of the two Viru Gates towers that were part of the larger and more complex defense system that once protected All-linn (Lower Old Town), built in the 14th century; Tallinn, Estonia

One of the two Viru Gates towers that were part of the larger and more complex defense system that once protected All-linn (Lower Old Town), built in the 14th century; Tallinn, Estonia

 

 

Riga, Latvia

Doma Laukums (Dome Square in Vecriga (Old Town), Riga, Latvia

Doma Laukums (Dome Square in Vecriga (Old Town), Riga, Latvia

 

Riga’s architectural landscape is rich with a fascinating mix of medieval and Jugendstil/Art nouveau architecture characterize Riga, Latvia’s capital city on the banks of the Daugava River, where we docked near the Vecriga (Old Town).  Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member.  The Vecriga (Old Town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  On Elizatetes and Alberta Streets are pale pink, blue and cream-colored facades decorated with figures.  The sprawling city now number approximately 700,000 inhabitants.  Latvia has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and adopted the Euro on 1 January 2014.

 

Rigas Doms (Riga Dome Cathedral) had its foundation stones laid in the 13th century in Vecriga (Old Town); it is a busy music venue and has one of Europe’s largest pipe organs, Riga, Latvia

Rigas Doms (Riga Dome Cathedral) had its foundation stones laid in the 13th century in Vecriga (Old Town); it is a busy music venue and has one of Europe’s largest pipe organs, Riga, Latvia

 

Vecriga (Old Town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Riga, Latvia

Vecriga (Old Town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Riga, Latvia

 

“It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest and the largest collection of art nouveau buildings in the world.  This is due to the fact that at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, when Art Nouveau was at the height of its popularity, Riga experienced an unprecedented financial and demographic boom.  In the period from 1857 to 1914 its population grew from 282,000 to 558,000 making it the 4th largest city in the Russian Empire (after Saint Petersburg, Moscow and Warsaw) and its largest port. The bourgeoisie of Riga used their wealth to build imposing apartment blocks around the former city walls.  Local architects, mostly graduates of Riga Technical University, adopted current European movements, and in particular Art Nouveau. In that period around 800 Art Nouveau buildings were erected. The majority of them are concentrated in the central part of Riga and a few more in the Old Town.” — Wikipedia

 

House of the Blackheads, built in 1334 -- destroyed in World War II and fully rebuilt in 1999 -- is the temporary home of Latvia’s president (while Rigas Pils is renovated); it is a popular venue for concerts and events, Riga, Latvia

House of the Blackheads, built in 1334 — destroyed in World War II and fully rebuilt in 1999 — is the temporary home of Latvia’s president (while Rigas Pils is renovated); it is a popular venue for concerts and events, Riga, Latvia

 

Close-up of the upper level of the façade of House of the Blackheads, Riga, Latvia

Close-up of the upper level of the façade of House of the Blackheads, Riga, Latvia

 

Constructed in 1209, Sv Peteara (St. Peter’s Church) is an excellent example of Gothic architecture from the 13th century; it has Riga’s tallest church spire and is included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Riga, Latvia

Constructed in 1209, Sv Peteara (St. Peter’s Church) is an excellent example of Gothic architecture from the 13th century; it has Riga’s tallest church spire and is included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Riga, Latvia

Residences and a restaurant in Vecriga (Old Town) with the spire of Rigas Doms (Riga Dome Cathedral) in the background, Riga, Latvia

Residences and a restaurant in Vecriga (Old Town) with the spire of Rigas Doms (Riga Dome Cathedral) in the background, Riga, Latvia

 

11 p.m. sunset at Vansu Tilts (Vansu Bridge), a cable-stayed bridge that crosses the Daugava River in Riga, opened to the public in 1981 as the Gorky Bridge (after Maxim Gorky Street, under the USSR controlled government), Latvia

11 p.m. sunset at Vansu Tilts (Vansu Bridge), a cable-stayed bridge that crosses the Daugava River in Riga, opened to the public in 1981 as the Gorky Bridge (after Maxim Gorky Street, under the USSR controlled government), Latvia

 

Schwerin, Germany

Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle) is located on Schwerin, Germany’s main lake, the Schweriner See, dating back to the original castle on the site in the 10th century; today it’s both a museum and the home of the state parliament

Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle) is located on Schwerin, Germany’s main lake, the Schweriner See, dating back to the original castle on the site in the 10th century; today it’s both a museum and the home of the state parliament

 

“Schwerin Palace, or Schwerin Castle is a palatial scholss located in the city of Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state, Germany.  It is situated on an island in the city’s main lake, the Schweriner See.  For centuries the palace was the home of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg and later Mecklenburg-Schwerin.  Today it serves as the residence of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament.  It is regarded as one of the most important works of romantic Historicism in Europe and is designated to become a World Heritage Site.  It is nicknamed “Neuschwanstein of the North”.   Major parts of the current palace were built between 1845 and 1857.” – Wikipedia

 

Schwerin State Art Museum and Meclkenburg State Theatre, Schwerin, Germany

Schwerin State Art Museum and Meclkenburg State Theatre, Schwerin, Germany

 

Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle), seen from the west, has 653 rooms (most of which are used today by the parliament), home of the Grand Duke of Mecklengurg-Schwerin until 1918 wen he abdicated, Schwerin, Germany

Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle), seen from the west, has 653 rooms (most of which are used today by the parliament), home of the Grand Duke of Mecklengurg-Schwerin until 1918 wen he abdicated, Schwerin, Germany

 

The newer 19th century additions to the castle (including the Russian-style turret) surround the older 16th century portions of the castle, built by Duke Albrecht, who turned the earlier defensive, fort-like structure into a palace, Schwerin, Germany

The newer 19th century additions to the castle (including the Russian-style turret) surround the older 16th century portions of the castle, built by Duke Albrecht, who turned the earlier defensive, fort-like structure into a palace, Schwerin, Germany

 

 

A peaceful, tree-lined pond in the gardens on the southern end of Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle), Schwerin, Germany

A peaceful, tree-lined pond in the gardens on the southern end of Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle), Schwerin, Germany

 

 

The close-in gardens now house a beautiful restaurant; the view of Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle) is from the south, Schwerin, Germany

The close-in gardens now house a beautiful restaurant; the view of Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle) is from the south, Schwerin, Germany

 

 

The Duke’s throne room where he received state guests, Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle), Schwerin, Germany

The Duke’s throne room where he received state guests, Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle), Schwerin, Germany

 

 

German spargel (white asparagus) were in season when we visited Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle) and had a nice luncheon at Weinhaus Wohler in Schwerin, Germany

German spargel (white asparagus) were in season when we visited Scholss Schwerin (Schwerin Castle) and had a nice luncheon at Weinhaus Wohler in Schwerin, Germany

 

Schwerin, Germany “is the capital and second-largest city of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.  The population is 91,583… It is known for its romantic Schwerin Palace, crowning an island in the Lake Schwerin.  The city also has a largely intact old town, thanks to only minor damage in World War II.  Schwerin is located within the metropolitan region of Hamburg and close to that of Berlin, and to nearby regiopolises of Rostock and Lübeck.” — Wikipedia

 

A square in Altstadt (Old Town), Schwerin, Germany

A square in Altstadt (Old Town), Schwerin, Germany

 

 

The beautifully decorated nave of Schweriner Dom (“Brick Gothic Cathedral”), Schwerin, Germany

The beautifully decorated nave of Schweriner Dom (“Brick Gothic Cathedral”), Schwerin, Germany

 

Tile patterns in the intersection of the nave and transept of Schweriner Dom (“Brick Gothic Cathedral”), Schwerin, Germany

Tile patterns in the intersection of the nave and transept of Schweriner Dom (“Brick Gothic Cathedral”), Schwerin, Germany

 

The pipe organ of Schweriner Dom (“Brick Gothic Cathedral”), Schwerin, Germany

The pipe organ of Schweriner Dom (“Brick Gothic Cathedral”), Schwerin, Germany

 

A contemporary columnar sculpture about the 12th century Saxon duke Henry the Lion, who ruled over a vast area from the North to Baltic Seas, in the Markt Platz (plaza) in front of the Schweriner Rathaus (Town Hall), Schwerin, Germany

A contemporary columnar sculpture about the 12th century Saxon duke Henry the Lion, who ruled over a vast area from the North to Baltic Seas, in the Markt Platz (plaza) in front of the Schweriner Rathaus (Town Hall), Schwerin, Germany

 

Eat local: Café Niederegger (marzipan), Lübeck, Germany

Master confectioner Johann Georg Niederegger established Café Niederegger, specializing in marzipan, in the heart of Lübeck, Germany, in 1806

Master confectioner Johann Georg Niederegger established Café Niederegger, specializing in marzipan, in the heart of Lübeck, Germany, in 1806

 

In 1806, master confectioner Johann Georg Niederegger established Café Niederegger in the heart of Lübeck — today it is located across from the entrance to the Lübecker Rathaus (town hall).  The company is now run by the seventh generation of the same family. Café Niederegger is claimed by the family to be the unofficial hallmark of the Hanseatic city, such is the world renown of their marzipan confections.

 

The current, contemporary building housing the café, museum and some of the marzipan production is located across from the entrance to the Lübecker Rathaus (town hall), Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

The current, contemporary building housing the café, museum and some of the marzipan production is located across from the entrance to the Lübecker Rathaus (town hall), Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

 

Marzipan was invented far from Germany, where almonds and sugar are grown.  Rhazes, a Persian doctor who lived from 850 to 923 A.D., wrote a book in which he praised the curative qualities of almond and sugar paste.  When the crusaders returned from the Orient, they brought with them a host of spices and Oriental secrets.  In 13th century Venice, Naples and Sicily, spices and confectionery were generally traded  in tiny boxes.  The enchanting word “Mataban” (box) gradually came to be used for the contents of the box:  Mazapane (Italian), Massepain (French.), Marzipan (German).  In the 13th century, the renowned philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas reflected upon the indulgence of eating Marzipan.  In his doctrinal teaching, he reassures inquiring and anxious clerics: “Marzipan does not break the fast.”  In his stories, the great novelist Boccaccio clearly describes the correlation between passion and marzipan.  In those days, marzipan was topped with gold leaf to crown the sweet temptation. — source: Café Niederegger

 

A wooden mould for marzipan confections, based on a lithograph of the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall) by Carl Schroeder, in the Niederegger marzipan museum (upstairs), Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

A wooden mould for marzipan confections, based on a lithograph of the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall) by Carl Schroeder, in the Niederegger marzipan museum (upstairs), Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

 

Great Hanseatic merchant boats brought spices and other prized ingredients to the North.  Initially, however, only apothecaries were allowed to trade with sugar and spices.  Not until confectionary became a trade in its own right were so-called ‘canditors’ allowed to produce marzipan.  The first Europeans to indulge in marzipan were kings and rich people.  It has been reported that Queen Elizabeth I of England, who lived from 1533 to 1603, was addicted to all things sweet.   The saying ‘regal enjoyment’ was coined.  Later, at the French ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV’s sumptuous feasts, huge tables laden with marzipan were the order of the day.  Marzipan reproductions of all sorts of fruits, poultry and game were created – anything you desired could be made.  In the first half of the 19th century, the general population were now able to sample the almond delicacy to their heart’s content in coffee houses.  Now that sugar could be extracted from sugar beet, the costly luxury became slightly more affordable.  Marzipan was also particularly popular and prized in Lübeck.  Master confectioner Johann Georg Niederegger established Café Niederegger in the heart of Lübeck in 1806.  Café Niederegger’s reputation grew thanks to excellent quality.  Their recipe for marzipan – as many almonds as possible, as little sugar as necessary – is secret, and has been passed on from generation to generation since the founder’s death.  Thus, Niederegger Marzipan remains what it has always been: a delicious speciality made from the very best almonds. — source: Café Niederegger

 

A sailing ship made out of marzipan in the retail store at Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

A sailing ship made out of marzipan in the retail store at Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

 

After a guided tour of the museum, we had the opportunity to eat homemade marzipan cake with coffee/tea in the Café Niederegger.  We had lots of time for shopping for delectables for the ship and some presents to bring home to the family in the U.S.  A small group of us then attended a marzipan modeling class to learn the basics of how the various hand-crafted designs are created (see the sailing ship photograph above, for example!); the photographs from our class are at the end of this blog post…  Of course, the bulk items are all created in moulds (see the photograph of the historical wooden mould, earlier in this blog post).

 

Petit fours and other marzipan confections for sale at Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

Petit fours and other marzipan confections for sale at Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

 

Not exactly Homard Bleu from Normandy, but tasty lobsters (marzipan), none the less, Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

Not exactly Homard Bleu from Normandy, but tasty lobsters (marzipan), none the less, Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

 

The intrepid explorer took a marzipan modeling class at Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

The intrepid explorer took a marzipan modeling class at Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

 

Your intrepid blogger’s attempt at marzipan creatures – a mouse and an elephant (not to scale!), Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

Your intrepid blogger’s attempt at marzipan creatures – a mouse and an elephant (not to scale!), Café Niederegger, Lübeck, Germany

 

Lübeck, Germany

The Holstentor city gate, 1477, in Altstadt (old town) is the emblem of Lübeck; it is inscribed with “1477 S.P.Q.L. 1871” where S.P.Q.L. is modeled on the Roman “Senātus Populusque Rōmānus” (the Senate and People of Rome), Germany

The Holstentor city gate, 1477, in Altstadt (old town) is the emblem of Lübeck; it is inscribed with “1477 S.P.Q.L. 1871” where S.P.Q.L. is modeled on the Roman “Senātus Populusque Rōmānus” (the Senate and People of Rome), Germany

 

Lübeck is a city founded in 1143 on the Baltic coast of northern Germany.  It’s renowned for its Brick Gothic architecture, dating to its time as the medieval capital of the powerful Hanseatic League trading confederation, a league of merchant cities which came to hold a monopoly over the trade of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.  In the 14th century Lübeck became the “Queen of the Hanseatic League”, being by far the largest and most powerful member of that medieval trade organization.  In 1375 Emperor Charles IV named Lübeck one of the five “Glories of the Empire”, a title shared with Venice, Rome, Pisa and Florence.  Lübeck’s symbol is the 1477 Holstentor city gate, which defended the river-bounded Altstadt (old town).  Markenkirche (St. Mary’s Church), completed in 1350, widely influenced Northern European church design.  The current population is just over 200,000.  The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  More recent famous literary citizens of Lübeck include Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann and Günter Grass along with chancellor Willy Brandt.

 

The Heiligen-Geist-Hospital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit), one of the oldest social institutions in Lübeck, Germany, built from 1276 - 1286, is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, Altstadt (old town)

The Heiligen-Geist-Hospital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit), one of the oldest social institutions in Lübeck, Germany, built from 1276 – 1286, is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, Altstadt (old town)

 

Originally a civil social institution, The Heiligen-Geist-Hospital was later run by the Catholic Church; a church with remarkable mural paintings also belongs to the large complex in Altstadt (old town), Lübeck, Germany

Originally a civil social institution, The Heiligen-Geist-Hospital was later run by the Catholic Church; a church with remarkable mural paintings also belongs to the large complex in Altstadt (old town), Lübeck, Germany

 

A public square near the Heiligen-Geist-Hospital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit) with buildings from three centuiries – the 18th, 19th, and 20th, Lübeck, Germany

A public square near the Heiligen-Geist-Hospital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit) with buildings from three centuiries – the 18th, 19th, and 20th, Lübeck, Germany

 

“Lübeck – the former capital and Queen City of the Hanseatic League – was founded in the 12th century and prospered until the 16th century as the major trading centre for northern Europe.  It has remained a centre for maritime commerce to this day, particularly with the Nordic countries.  Despite the damage it suffered during the Second World War, the basic structure of the old city, consisting mainly of 15th- and 16th-century patrician residences, public monuments (the famous Holstentor brick gate), churches and salt storehouses, remains unaltered.” – whc.unesco.org

 

Note the three-tiered, top façade of one of the buildings is strictly decorative, in front of a very steep A-frame roof in Altstadt (old town) Lübeck, Germany

Note the three-tiered, top façade of one of the buildings is strictly decorative, in front of a very steep A-frame roof in Altstadt (old town) Lübeck, Germany

 

Quite a variety of architectural designs in the homes along this alley in Altstadt (old town), Lübeck, Germany

Quite a variety of architectural designs in the homes along this alley in Altstadt (old town), Lübeck, Germany

 

 

St. Mary’s Church in Altstadt (old town), Lübeck, Germany

The brick Markenkirche (St. Mary’s Church), completed in 1350, in Altstadt (old town), Lübeck, Germany

 

A beautiful, highly-decorated bay window on a medieval home in old town, Lübeck, Germany

A beautiful, highly-decorated bay window on a medieval home in old town, Lübeck, Germany

 

We docked in Wismar, on the Baltic Sea, just east of the former country dividing line that separated the western half of Germany from what was called the German Democratic Republic (“East Germany”) after World War II, until reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990.  Lübeck lies just across the former country dividing line in what was “West Germany” (or just plain “Germany”).  As we drove across the former demarcation point (during separatioin, there was no wall – as in Berlin — but some road checkpoints), we had an eerie feeling, witnessing the current unified country but thinking back to the former division and the deprivations in the eastern half of the country under Russian Communist rule.  The current state of buildings, roads, parks, etc. in Lübeck and Wismar quite clearly shows the impact of the latter having been relatively deprived from 1945 until 1990.

 

One side of the the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall), Lübeck, Germany

One side of the the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall), Lübeck, Germany

 

 

Highly decorated façade and spires of the the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall), Lübeck, Germany

Highly decorated façade and spires of the the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall), Lübeck, Germany

 

Kiel, Germany

Known as the city that hosts the world’s largest sailing regatta (18 – 26 June, this year), Kiel, Germany has a multi-kilometer Embankment that is home to hundreds and hundreds of sail boats

Known as the city that hosts the world’s largest sailing regatta (18 – 26 June, this year), Kiel, Germany has a multi-kilometer Embankment that is home to hundreds and hundreds of sail boats

 

Kiel, the capital of Germany’s northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein, is the jumping off point for the eponymous canal linking the Baltic with the North Sea [see our previous blog post].  Keil retains very little of its medieval origins thanks to heavy damage during WW II; the entire town was rebuilt after the war, with broad avenues and small parks replacing the narrow warren of streets.  Each June the city hosts the world’s largest sailing regatta; many sailboats can be seen along the multi-kilometer Embankment and the piers beyond.

 

Looking beyond the end of the embankment to piers and many more sailboats, Kiel, Germany

Looking beyond the end of the embankment to piers and many more sailboats, Kiel, Germany

 

Some of Kiel’s sailboats are from the golden age of fine wood craftsmanship in the construction of sailboats, Kiel, Germany

Some of Kiel’s sailboats are from the golden age of fine wood craftsmanship in the construction of sailboats, Kiel, Germany

 

Because the city was so heavily bombed and destroyed in World War II, many of the apartment buildings are of interesting modern design, Kiel, Germany

Because the city was so heavily bombed and destroyed in World War II, many of the apartment buildings are of interesting modern design, Kiel, Germany

 

The excellent view of the embankment and sailboats from our table at lunch at the Kiel Yacht Club (KYC), where we enjoyed deliciously prepared fresh, local fish, Kiel, Germany

The excellent view of the embankment and sailboats from our table at lunch at the Kiel Yacht Club (KYC), where we enjoyed deliciously prepared fresh, local fish, Kiel, Germany

 

Eat local: traversing the Kiel Canal (connecting the North Sea to the Baltic Sea), Germany

The freshwater Kiel Canal saves considerable time going from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea (not sailing through the rough waters off the Jutland Peninsula) across northern Germany (from near Hamburg to Kiel)

The freshwater Kiel Canal saves considerable time going from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea (not sailing through the rough waters off the Jutland Peninsula) across northern Germany (from near Hamburg to Kiel)

 

Originally constructed between 1887 and 1895 and named in honor of Kaiser Wilheim, the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee Kanal), which links the North Sea at Brunsbuttel (near Hamburg) with the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau, is the world’s busiest artificial waterway.  Its initial purpose was to facilitate movement of the German fleet.  Although the canal is just a distance of about 62 miles (100 kilometers) in length, it saves roughly 250 nautical miles (460 kilometers) for ships and small or vessels moving between the two bodies of water.  Entrance is gained at a lock at either end, with small boats and ships often sharing passage.  Expanded to a depth of 36 feet (11 meters) and a depth of 328 feet (100 meters), the canal accommodates fairly large vessels, although megaships and tankers must take the longer route around the Jutland Peninsula.

 

A hotel and homes along the side of the Kiel Canal, Germany

A hotel and homes along the side of the Kiel Canal, Germany

 

A railroad bridge, one of several crossings of the canal (the automobile-truck bridges are free), Kiel Canal, Germany

A railroad bridge, one of several crossings of the canal (the automobile-truck bridges are free), Kiel Canal, Germany

 

Trivia about the Kiel Canal:

  • It took 9,000 workers eight years to dig the Kiel Canal.
  • Though originally named the Kaiser-Wilhelm Canal, Germans used to refer to it as the Nord-Ostsee Kanal.
  • During 2015, 88 ships passed through the Kiel Canal every day – a total of 32,091 vessels for the year.
  • Though there are two locks in the canal (at either end), these were designed mainly to protect the structure against movements of the tides.

 

 

Close-up of the railroad bridge crossing the Kiel Canal, Germany

Close-up of the railroad bridge crossing the Kiel Canal, Germany

 

An appetizer of homemade crab cakes, asparagus, mache and tomatoes for a dinner party in our apartment on the ship for friends while transiting the Kiel Canal, Germany

An appetizer of homemade crab cakes, asparagus, mache and tomatoes for a dinner party in our apartment on the ship for friends while transiting the Kiel Canal, Germany

 

The entrée, prepared by our co-hosts, of filet mignon with wild mushrooms and a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce with Dauphinoise potatoes & haricot verts for a dinner party in our apartment on the ship for friends while transiting the Kiel Canal, Germany

The entrée, prepared by our co-hosts, of filet mignon with wild mushrooms and a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce with Dauphinoise potatoes & haricot verts for a dinner party in our apartment on the ship for friends while transiting the Kiel Canal, Germany

 

The dessert was a chocolate-caramel tarte based on a Parisian family recipe from our friend, Paule, for a dinner party in our apartment on the ship for friends while transiting the Kiel Canal, Germany

The dessert was a chocolate-caramel tarte based on a Parisian family recipe from our friend, Paule, for a dinner party in our apartment on the ship for friends while transiting the Kiel Canal, Germany