Ready, Set, Teach

15 08 2012

I have a couple hundred other things I need to be doing right now instead of writing this blog.  Today was the teachers’ first day back to school, well, first OFFICIAL day back, anyway.  Some of us have been working at school for a good part of the summer.  But today was the first day we HAD to be there, and it was taken up with meeting after meeting of what needs to be done and how to do it.  Only thing missing was the time to do all these things, and registration is tomorrow so I’ve got to have all my ducks in a row.  Then I got home after running to Food Lion for chocolate bars to put in treat bags for the students’ first day ( “We need S’more good readers…”) and forgetting to  stop by the bank to cash a check, to find a message that I had a church meeting this evening.  There went two more hours of my time.  I started getting dinner ready and found out that I didn’t have the main ingredient to the new recipe I was making: chickpea and fennel pasta salad.  I chose this recipe initially because I had some fennel growing in my garden for the first time and I didn’t know what to do with it.  So today I stepped outside to get it and, come to find out, my luxurious-looking plant had a root the size of my pinkie.  Certainly not big enough for the salad.  So off I went to Kroger to get some fennel, putting dinner about half an hour late.  Did I mention that I had a lot going on today?

But my trip to Kroger had an unexpected outcome.  Walking through the store, a beautiful young lady approached me with a questioning look on her face.  Did I recognize her?  Of course I did.  It was Isabel, a student who was in my class some six years ago!  And right behind her was Stella, another student from the same class.  So I stood in the bakery section, right beside the sliced Italian bread, listening as they reminisced about their time in my class.  And Stella broke out in a recitation of Jabberwocky, a poem that I had taught the class so many years ago.  And I was reminded of the effect that teachers have on their students.

But that’s not all.  Last week, as I was sitting at this computer making plans for the school year, the doorbell rang.  I assumed it was the neighbors next door, but no, when I opened the door, there stood Brian, a boy from my last year’s class (and one who reads this blog religiously).  Brian lives two blocks down, and had walked over to give me a back-to-school gift:  two apple-shaped Post-it note pads that he had picked up for me while he was shopping.    And I was reminded of the effect that teachers have on their students.

But that’s not all.  The very next day, I was working in my classroom when in walked Maggie.  Maggie was in my class two years ago and has regularly corresponded with me by mail and through notes delivered by her mother, our cafeteria manager.  Maggie had come to help me in the room and while cutting out laminated cards, she filled me in on everything happening in her life as a rising seventh grader.  And I was reminded of the effect that teachers have on their students.

And so, on the cusp of a new school year, I got the message loud and clear.  I am right where I need to be at this moment, doing just what I am doing.  As I have left my mark on these students, so too did they leave their mark on me.  And for that I will be eternally grateful.  Some may attribute the chance meeting of four former students within a week’s time as happenstance.  I know otherwise.

Yes, I have lots I need to be doing right now.  I haven’t finished my lesson plans.  I need to write down all I need to tell parents tomorrow.  I need to consolidate all my “to-do” notes to even begin to figure out what needs doing.  However, nothing is more important than thanking God for the privilege of serving Him through teaching our children.  I hear you, God.  Thank you!

Germany Part 8: A Fitting Fourth, and The End

4 08 2012

Day 14, Monday, July 2
We caught the morning train to Hannover (which, according to Wikipedia, can be spelled with one n or two), arriving by 10:30 so there was plenty of time for sightseeing.  Unfortunately there weren’t many sights to see.  We did go through one church that had been rebuilt after WWII.  We also found several church ruins that had been left after the war.

church ruins

Hannover was almost flattened ; even the Altstadt is new, rebuilt by moving whatever old houses remained in the city into the city center.  We sought out and found the Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures.  Last summer I had been introduced to this artist in Washington, D.C., where several of her sculptures grace the street in front of the National Geographic building.  Niki had a special connection to Hannover.  There is even an art museum with a section devoted to her.  Her sculptures were a welcome change to the usual fare of staid military statures that dot many of the altstadts in Germany.

The Nanas

Fortunately, we only had one afternoon in Hannover.  We ended the day with a somewhat stereotypical German meal, down to the apple strudel dessert.  Not the most exciting day, but not bad either.
Day 15, Tuesday, July 3
Maybe I wasn’t so impressed with Hannover, but the breakfast buffet at the City Hotel:  mmmmmm!  Rolls, meats and cheeses, bacon, scrambled eggs, cereals, fruits, yogurts, pastries, juices, and coffee; I tried my best to eat some of everything.

We landed back in Berlin today, checked into our hotel conveniently located near Tegel airport, and spent the afternoon riding the U-Bahn to the Stasi Prison in East Berlin, home of the notorious secret police of the Cold War era and then to Kunsthaus Tageles, a former department store turned into an artists’ collective of graffiti-style art.
Day 16 Wednesday July 4
I’ve held back on the history part of this trip so far.  I’ve let Annalise drag me out of museums before I’ve had a chance to read every exhibit.  I’ve bitten my tongue when she suggested going in a store when a perfectly good historical sight was just around the corner.  So I didn’t feel too bad booking a walking tour through Sachsenhausen Concentration camp.  That’s what happens when you go back to the room, leaving me in charge of scouting out attractions for the next day.  Which is how we ended up going to a concentration camp on the Fourth of July.

Not the original gate. Much of the camp was torn down during the “de-Nazi-fication” that took place in Germany after the war.

Our guide, a European Studies student from England who had lived in Berlin for five years, navigated us through the maze of U- Bahn and bus routes, landing us in about 45 minutes at the gates of the camp.  She took us through the history of the camp from a “wild camp” where political prisoners were kept in the early 1930s to its use as a concentration camp from 1936 to 1945 , to its use as a Soviet prison camp, to its final use as a memorial.  While the eyes of the world were on Berlin for the 1936 Olympics, slave labor was being used just outside the city to build this camp.  She helped us understand the psyche of the prisoners as well as their SS guards.  All in all, it was a very meaningful way to spend the Fourth of July.

The crematoria

Prisoners would be marched down this ramp, lined up against the logs, and shot.

On the train ride back, we learned the meaning of “ugly American.” One of our fellow tourists was a young man from Minneapolis, Minnesota .  Very talkative, we soon learned that he was an attorney who traveled often to Florida to spend time at his parent’s second home there.  As we were traveling back to Berlin, another passenger made his way to sit on the seat in front of him.  “Minneapolis” had his leg up on the empty seat, which apparently is a huge no- no.  The newcomer told him roughly to get his foot down, which Minneapolis didn’t take kindly to, loudly accusing him of being drunk and threatening to call the police, and forcing an apology from the German.

When we were planning for this trip, Annalise presented me with a paper outlining how to not be an ugly American.  I was told I had to wear dark colors.  New white athletic shoes were off- limits and I was coached in how to tip so that I wouldn’t appear to be a filthy rich American throwing around my money.  And until I had to open my mouth, I think I fit in fairly well.  There was even one elevator companion who thought we looked “a little bit German.” We found Germans to be very kind and helpful to us, coming to our rescue on more than one occasion.  So you can see why I cringed when this jerk from Minneapolis mouthed off to the German.  This guy is the type who gives Americans a bad name.  It has nothing to do with clothes or how you look.  It has everything to do with how you treat those around you and how you assert your power over others.  Maybe I should send that paper to our state department.

Back  in Berlin, we spent our last few hours wandering around downtown.  We strutted past the building housing the “fashion week” events, but unbelievably no one spotted Annalise and pulled her in to be the next top model.  They must have been looking the other way.  We loaded up on chocolate at the Ritter Sport chocolate outlet, and walked through the controversial Jewish Memorial site.

Finally back at the hotel, exhausted physically and mentally, we replaced our bags and consolidated, somehow managing to get all our purchases into our backpacks and purses so that we wouldn’t have any checked luggage.
Day 17, Thursday, July 5
After a hot, virtually sleepless night (windows closed/hot and stuffy, windows open/street noise), we left the hotel at 6:30 AM so we would be at the airport three hours ahead of time, the time recommended for international fights, only to find that Lufthansa wouldn’t process us through for another hour and a half.  Hurry up and wait.  Finally we got on board and made the connection in Frankfort with no problem.  A seven-hour flight with no reading material gave me plenty of thinking time, so here are a few lists:

What I’m glad I brought
Gum…useful for take-offs, stale breath, and thirst issues
Extra ziploc bags…comes in handy for storing food for lunch
Extra nylon bags…for carrying groceries or other purchases
Euros…one less thing to have to take care of when you arrive in Europe
Clothes for cold rainy weather
iPad loaded with books and a travel app for Germany
Open mind, sense of humor, patience
Annalise…a great travel partner who doesn’t complain, is undemanding, makes great hotel  and train reservations, and most of all, likes MONKEYS.

What I’m glad I didn’t bring
Checked luggage…not fun to catch up with in the airports or lug around on trains
Too many clothes…it’s amazing how long you can go on just a few shirts and pants

What I learned
Load twice as many books on the iPad or e-reader as you think you will read.
Do research ahead of time.

People are people.

Germany Part 7: Words for the Wise

4 08 2012

Germany 2012 360       I tell myself I won’t forget.  I won’t forget the fields of wind turbines glinting in occasional sunshine as they slowly spin, each producing enough electricity for 50,000 households.  I won’t forget the steeply pitched, red or brown tile roofs on the houses as we pass through the towns, or the small garden plots each with their own small house crammed close together on the outskirts of every town .  Or the disembodied voice declaring ”  Nächster halt, Elmshorn” as we near the next station.   And I certainly won’t forget to make seat reservations next time we are traveling by train in Europe.

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Thatched roofs are not uncommon.

The first two legs of our trip went smoothly.  Then came Hanover.  Apparently we weren’t the only ones thinking of traveling by train…It was crowded, with people pushing through narrow aisles from both directions.  And apparently we were the only ones to travel without seat reservations.  We pushed our way through two cars until we came to the end of the train and had to turn around.  Finally someone took pity on us and pointed out two empty seats…at opposite ends of the car.  And of course my seat- mate took up well more than his half.  But anything can be endured for an hour, and soon we were in Bremen.

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The statue that memorializes the story of the Bremen Town Musicians

A short search found us at the Gasthaus Backpacker Hostel/ Hotel.  Where they had no record of our reservation.  They didn’t have any room in the hostel, but did have one in the hotel.  Of course, it was for twice the price. By this point, though, I didn’t quibble about costs, which is how we came to reside in Paris.  Other rooms were named Rome, Istanbul, London, and Amsterdam.  It was a small room but clean, quiet, and cheerfully decorated.  And there was no innkeeper lurking around every time you opened the door.

We left our bags and went exploring.  Another advantage to this hotel is that it is close to the Altstadt, or old city.  I find myself picking up a few German words here and there.  For a long time, for example, I marveled at how many streets were named einbahnstraße. Now, I know that means “one way street.” It’s good to know a little German (unless of course, he is your quirky innkeeper).

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    We made our way to the first sight, a Dutch windmill set on a red flowered hill by the canal.  Schön.  Which means beautiful.  We walked around the marketplace.  Since it was Saturday, venders were selling fruits, veggies, meats, and many other treats.  It was fun just to see what everybody was selling.  We saw some beautiful shiny red berries which we identified as currants, but passed then up, remembering the consequences of eating too many when we bought some several years ago in Zurich.   We watched street performers play the accordion and the violin, and break-dance.  Annalise had a hard time herding me to our next spot as my head kept swiveling at all the sights along the way.

We walked through Schnoor, which means pearl, for the string of small shops lining an impossibly narrow street like a string of pearls.  We went on a tour through the Rathaus, which doesn’t mean what you would think, or maybe it does:  city hall.  This particular Rathaus was quite old (1200s) and quite ornate.   We learned about the key to the city, which can be found everywhere, even on sewer covers, and has a story behind it that is important to the city but didn’t stick in my overloaded brain.  Germany 2012 455

This statue perfectly describes how I felt in this narrow street choked with shoppers.

The ratskeller, or basement, housed Germany ‘s oldest barrel of wine, dating back to the 1600s.  We saw four brides:  three weddings and one couple getting photos made.  ‘Twas the season!   We walked down Bucher Straße  (book street?  or maybe Mr. Bucher’s street?) to the Haus des Glockenspiels (easy, house of the glockenspiels), where at 5:00 the bells started ringing and a side wall spun open revealing  in turn different explorers and inventors important to transportation.

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The rounded section showing “Leif” rotates to show different scenes.

Who thinks of these things?  So many things to remember; I don’t want to forget a thing.
Day 12, Sunday,  July1
Gotta love these days we don’t travel!  We slept in a bit and walked around the deserted marketplace, it being Sunday morning.  Hunger finally drove us into a Starbucks for breakfast.  This was our first time in an American chain ( TK Maxx didn’t count) , although they are everywhere: Burger King, KFC, McDonalds…  We’ve been eating at bakeries  mostly.  Annalise won’t eat meat so most traditional German food is verboten  (self- imposed, of course) .

Here is just a smattering of the German I’ve picked up: ausgang und eingang ( exit and entrance ) , geöffnet (open), numbers 1-10 ( I can’t spell them, though) , schloss ( castle) , and  WC ( restroom) .  I’ve been able to get around fairly well knowing only these words.  And of course, having a German – speaking guide doesn’t hurt either.Germany 2012 515


We poked our heads in a few shops that were open and then watched a street performance of The Bremen Town Musicians.   We watched a soap box derby and i couldn’t help thinking how much more appropriate this activity was than some my students participate in, namely motocross racing.

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The derby on the left was decorated as a bed, driven by a man in a long sleeping cap. He lost.

We bought some drinks and food and went back to the hotel.  I sampled a Beck ‘s beer ( sorry folks, it was non alcoholic) and was not impressed. Annalise was more impressed with hers.  Beck’s is brewed right here in Bremen, although the tour was closed today.

After a short nap, we hit the streets again.  We had a delightful walk through the Dom (cathedral) of St. Peter.  So, so beautiful and awe- inspiring.  On the way back we spotted some booksellers on the sidewalk, so I picked up some antique books for only a Euro a piece.  Can’t have too many words!

Germany Part 6: Goethe, Glücksburg, and Gaffes

4 08 2012

By seeking and blundering we learn.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Every U.S. city worth its salt has a road named after Martin Luther King.  King was an important man who did important things and still to this day is inspiring people. Germany’s King is Goethe.  So far, we have not found a city in Germany that doesn’t have a Goethestraße, or a Goetheplatz, or a Goethesomething.   In Lübeck, we went to the Thomas Mann museum ( didn’t know who he was either) and found out that in his writings he often referred to Goethe’s ideas.  So I finally got off my duff and Googled him.   Turns out that I already knew Goethe, or at least his sayings, many of which are written on plaques and sold in gift shops.

“There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.”

“There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.”

      And the quote I started with, which should very well be our trip mantra.  For we are seeking and doing more than our fair share of blundering, but at the same time we are learning.  Mostly, we are learning how to ask for help.

We left Lübeck this morning after a quick breakfast in our room courtesy of Aldi’s.  We boarded our train and made the connections without any trouble.  We have learned that much.  We got to Flensbug about noon and looked around for the bus station since our hotel was a couple of miles away, but without any luck.  Then I picked up a sweet sound, a woman speaking American.  I went up to her with our inquiry.  Turns out she was from Steamboat Springs where Brian and I had honeymooned.  She and her mother were visiting the city where her mother grew up.  She told us how to get the bus tickets, but then suggested that we share a taxi since they were going the same direction.  We did, and learned a lot about the city sights as well as information about a boat ride through the fjord that went through Danish waters.  The taxi dropped us off at the Gästehaus Seewarte and we went on in.  That’s when the sitcom began.

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Gästehaus Seewarte


Once inside we were confronted with a set of stairs, down which tumbled a smallish man with a lisp and a stutter.  “Follow me, follow me”.  So we did, going up the stairs to a hallway with several doors and a tiny office where an old woman in a wheelchair played video games.  The smallish man couldn’t find our reservation, but “no problem no problem,” and he led us to a room.  “130 euros for night,” he said, at which point I became the stutterer as I tried to point out that their website said 100 euros for two nights.  “Ja ja ja,” he said, “Ok,” making this the most profitable bargaining I’d ever done.

If you Google “Fawlty Towers” you’ll get some feeling for the quirkiness of this place.  Each time we came out of our room, the smallish man appeared around the corner.  We took to sneaking around to try to avoid his curious looks.

We boarded a bus at the bus stop across from the hotel and headed, we hoped, for the city center.  Relief: we got there.  Then on the advice of the cab driver, we bought tickets for a two hour tour of the Flensburg Fjord on the good ship Viking.  Germany 2012 382We passed sailboats, yachts, huge container ships, sailboarders, kayaks, and even a lone paddle boarder making his way across the fjord.  More than once I caught Annalise zooming in with the viewfinder of my camera to get a better view of his Scandinavian good looks!

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We passed over into Denmark.  From what we could see, Denmark is a very wet country.  Back on dry land, we walked through the Altstadt ( old town) and ate a late lunch at a cafe.  By the time we located a museum, it was too late to go in, so we made our way back to the bus station.  Not knowing which bus we should take, we fumbled around for a while before I got tired and asked a bus driver.  Success!

After freshening up in our room, we headed back out for a walk at the water’s edge, it being too early to stay inside.  Finally, our legs could take no more and we snuck back into our room.  Voices followed us, but we saw no one, probably due to pre-game warm-ups as Germany played Italy this evening.  Yes, we had blundered around but we learned from our blunders.  Goethe would be proud.

Day 10, Friday,  June 29
We broke our fast at the bäckeri across the street from the Seewarte hotel, then caught the bus heading for the city.  We got off before we got to the city and started out on foot to find the university. Flensburg University has an arrangement with Winthrop University for a  Study Abroad  program, so we figured that we would check it out while we were so close. Got lost again.  Darn.  An older woman saw our confused looks and tried to help but knew no English, and Annalise couldn’t make herself understood in German.  We somehow managed to get on the right street and passed the bahnhoff so we stopped to pick up our train tickets for Bremen, tomorrow’s destination.

That done, we kept on walking.  In spite of, or because of, the thunderstorm the night before, it was uncommonly warm and muggy.  Off came my scarf.  We kept on walking.   Off came my sweater.  It was a good thing we got to the campus or things might have gotten ugly.  Annalise asked a hapless bystander for directions to the admissions office.  He directed us to one office who directed us to another office.  We spoke to a woman about the program but she couldn’t do a tour as she was quite busy.  We decided we would take a bus back, but couldn’t  find the bus stop.  Once again we looked so confused that two girls came up and asked if they could help.  They directed us to the bus stop so soon we were back at the city center.

We walked over to the ship museum, which would have been more interesting had there been English captions on the exhibits.  As it was, we learned that there was a thriving slave trade based on the Danish colony on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas.  Denmark had ruled St. Thomas from 1666 until 1917 when the U.S. bought it for $25 million in gold.  Who knew?  Sugar cane plantations were used to produce rum, which was exported to Flensburg.  Entry in this museum also gave us tickets to another museum, so we walked up a breathless hill to see an exhibit of Grimm”s fairy tales as shown in art nouveau tapestries.  Even more interesting to me was the building, an old castle- like mansion.  It being 2:30 by this point, I insisted we stop for lunch, which for me was a plate of curry worst mit fries.  Annalise pretty much exists on air.

    Next we boarded a bus for Glücksburg Castle, in the town of Glücksburg about half an hour away.  The castle, or schlosse, built in the 1500s was magnificent, from the attic where the many servants lived, to the large gathering hall where we had to don huge felt slippers to protect the wooden floors, to the basement housing the prison and torture chamber.  The docent was quite friendly and even took us behind the scenes to show us the water closet installed in the early 1900s.  By the time we left, it was 6:00, the museum was closing and it was pouring rain.

    Of course we had no idea of the bus schedule, having neglected yet again to check before we got off.  Fortunately, there was a covered bus shelter, where we waited in the pouring rain for about half an hour, making nervous jokes about spending the night on the wooden bench, before asking a couple passing by if they knew when the next bus would be.  They didn’t, but the man helped us figure out from the posted sign that a bus should be arriving in another twenty minutes, which it did, delivering us safely back to our quirky hotel about 7:30.  For the third time today, we were helped by the kindness of strangers.

Yesterday, traveling through the dark forests by train, I had envisioned stern soldiers seeking out frightened groups of Jews fleeing the Nazi cruelty.   As our train sped us smoothly from one city to the next, I imagined the rough, clattering ride of Jews crammed into smelly, cold cattle cars.  Yet today that vision has changed as we have encountered friendly folk at every turn, stepping out of their comfort zone to help two confused travelers.

Germany Part 5: Friendly Hostels and a Mann Twinn

4 08 2012

We were up early this morning so we could get to breakfast and out by 8:00.  We had placed our ball in the 7:00 slot of the hotel’s breakfast tracking system, so they were expecting us.  We ate a good breakfast from the buffet: various rolls, cold meats, cheeses, fruit, yogurts, and cereals.  We both made sandwiches for our lunch on the train ride.  After a brisk 25-minute walk to the train station, we waited half an hour before boarding.  We are getting pretty good at this train thing; we switched four times without a problem.

We got to Lübeck around 1:00 and used the map on the iPad to navigate to our hotel.  Unfortunately, the map showed the wrong location for our hotel/hostel (the Rucksack Hotel) so we walked in circles for a while trying to find it.  My ears perked up at the sound of a family speaking English, so I approached them and asked for directions.  It turned out that they were visiting from Canada and didn’t know the address, and their grandfather who had lived here for 50 years didn’t know the street either.  However, they did point us to a taxi driver, who pointed us in the right direction.  Lesson for the day:  when needing directions to an address, taxi drivers always have the answers.

We got to the place just in time, since the owner, a very talkative and friendly Estonian who also worked as a family counselor, was leaving for a break until 5:00.  She gave us the keys and a pile of sheets had a girl lead us to our room.  It was certainly not like any of the places we had stayed before.  For one thing our room was decorated like a rain forest complete with a  four- foot long dried crocodile hanging from the wall.  It was clean, though, and at 88 Euros for two days, it was about half what we had been paying.  We dropped our bags and headed into the historic district for a look around.

    We stopped in a couple stores where I bought a scarf and Annalise bought a pair of funky pants, a purse, and a couple of scarves as gifts.  We then stumbled upon a huge cathedral, St. Marienkirsch, and went inside.  It was truly spectacular, with an extremely high vaulted roof.

 Germany 2012 281   Also interesting were the bells.  Although, as a Red Cross city Lübeck had escaped most of the bombing in WWII, it had been hit by one bomb in November of 1942 that burned this church.  The intense heat had caused the bells to ring until they fell.  Eventually, the church was rebuilt, but the bells were left where they fell, a quiet reminder of the tragedy of war.

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The bell remains where it fell more than 60 years ago.

Outside the church was a more light-hearted tale:  a statue of a devil sitting on a stone next to the church.  Legend has it that the devil saw this church being built (1250-1350 AD) and was told it was to be a drinking hall, so he let the construction continue.  When it was finished and he discovered it was a church, he tried to tear it down, leaving claw marks on the wall and a large stone next to it.

We continued our meandering and went through another, smaller church, St. Jacobi Kirsche.  Not as large, it still was charming, with a huge dark organ with ornate wood carvings and plaster arms jutting from the columns to hold candles.      Back at the hotel, we settled up with the owner, gathering tips from her on what we should do and see while here.  We ate our remaining rolls and apples for dinner and spent considerable time catching up on goings on in Aiken while we had unlimited free wifi usage, one of the advantages of staying in a hostel.

The next morning we had the luxury of sleeping in, relatively: me until 7:00 and Annalise closer to 8:00.  After traveling for eight days, I found I was having to remind myself what day it was: Wednesday, June 27.  Although we probably could have had a free breakfast at the hostel, we decided to eat at a cafe instead.  Annalise had a large pretzel and I had a spinach and cheese strudel and käsebrot (cheese bread) along with our coffee.   We were enjoying the heck out of our breakfasts!

We spent the day wandering around the old town, tramping through the northern city gate, the burgtor, built in 1444.   It started raining, something we weren’t prepared for (you’d think by now we would have known better), so we ducked into some stores to dry off.  I picked up some cash at an ATM and then we headed for the Holstentor, the largest and most impressive of the city gates.  We went inside and found a wonderful museum with a huge diorama of the city.  I could almost hear the clatter of hooves on the cobblestones and the din of the medieval marketplace.

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After this, we headed over the bridge to the haufbahnhof to get tickets for tomorrow’ s train ride to Flensburg .  Street performers made sightseeing easy:  jugglers at the HB, a mime statue of John Lenon by the Rathaus (city hall), and two guys singing opera accompanied by an accordion at the other end of the Rathaus.

Trying to avoid a crowd of street people, we ducked down a narrow street and found an interesting puppet museum.   At 15 euros, it was a bit on the pricy side, but it was interesting to see the extensive collection of puppets from all over the world.

Back on the main street again, we went in a marzipan store, finding our way to the upper level where a room had exhibits showing how marzipan was made (sugar, almond paste, molds, and paint brushes, if you are curious).  We’d be hard pressed to find a store in the United States that sells marzipan, but here was a huge store/museum/factory that sold nothing but!  We made it out with all our money intact, but just barely as the temptation to buy was terrible.

Although not Annalise’s choice, we made our way to the Buddenbrooks House and found out more than we wanted to know about Thomas Mann, the novelist, Nobel Prize Laureate, and local boy done good from Lübeck.  There was also an exhibit about his daughter, Elisabeth, who had a passion for protecting the oceans.  Throughout the exhibit, I had a niggling suspicion that I had seen her before.  It wasn’t until I stood beside a large poster of Elisabeth Mann that my suspicions became clear:  Annalise commented that we could be sisters.  There was a startling resemblance between this Elisabeth and me, Elizabeth!

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Elisabeth Mann——————————————Elizabeth Eberhard

At 4:15 , it was too early to call it a day, so we went to the Behnhaus, an art museum housing several of Edvard Munsch’s pieces.  The cashier indicated that we wouldn’t have enough time since the museum closed at 5:00 , but we set a new museum record and were done in 15 minutes.  More than a little embarrassed by our touring efficiency, we feigned interest in several paintings until another ten minutes passed and we could slink out of the museum.  I bought some lovely raspberries from a street vender on the way back to the Rucksack and admired them with much more interest than any of the paintings.  We stopped by Aldi’s and stocked up on groceries for our evening meal as well as for breakfast and lunch for tomorrow.   From our first stay in a hostel to the Holstentor, from marzipan to Mann to Munsch, our stay in Lübeck had been lovely.

Teachers Lament

2 08 2012

When I stepped outside this morning to walk my dog, the first thing that struck me was the pink-tinged clouds and the relatively cool air. 

The second thing that struck me was that it was now August, August 2 to be exact, and my mornings like this were numbered.

With these thoughts and the rhythm of my steps as inspiration, I pounded out this poem.  And yes, I meant to leave off the apostrophe in the title.




Teachers Lament


August, where’d you come from?

   The summer’s just begun.

The ocean waves me onward,

    My reading’s yet undone.


My dresser still is piled

    With books and papers high.

My cluttered closet stuffed

    With sizes well gone by.


My winter belly bulges

    From food both fast and fat.

The diet plan’s just started.

    Oh, August, you’re a rat.


Time stretched long and lazy

    Way back, just yesterday.

Now summer’s almost over.

    Come back, my old friend May!