Saturday, July 15, 2017

Europe 2017 (July) Trip Notes # 7

Europe 2017 (July) Trip Notes # 7


Many passengers on the cruise had "mixed emotions" about visiting Germany and more specifically Berlin. There was excitement, anticipation and a little trepidation.  Visiting Germany has not been a problem for us. We've been to Berlin twice and Germany many times. We decided to tour (instead) the local port town - Rostock. 

It is impossible to really "see and understand" Berlin on a cruise tour simply because it is a three hour bus ride to and from the port. This only allows an hour or so to drive around and look at buildings.

Rostock WAS a medieval town in the northwest part of Germany. We write the word "WAS" because (other than a fascinating church, a convent and part of a medieval town wall), the entire town was obliterated by the allies in WWII.  The reason for the destruction was due to the town's huge Nazi naval shipyard, industrial factories and other German armed services support activities.

Entering the Rostock harbor was like going back into time.

Following the war, the Russian army (as part of the East-West Germany compromise), took control of Rostock. It wasn't until "recently" that the town was built back up to look like it did before the war.

The entire town is much like Disneyland. The front of the amusement park buildings are designed to look like a "Fairy Tale Land." Behind the park's front is typical, modern-day construction. Rostock is no different. 

The church - the only building left standing is known for its 1472 (still working with original parts) astronomical clock. The device indicates time, moon/sun rise and other solar/zodiac system events. Following 2017, a new clock face (designed using modern/hi-tech techniques) will replace the old one. 

"Pit stops" are always important. Our "stop' was at a local brewery.

This town has a university that goes back to the 1500's.

Interesting Parts Of The Town:
Bell concert at noon.                                              Nanny's and their care

Sand castle contest: Moby Dick Theme

Foreign sewer covers are often interesting. 

Dinner themes on board are common. Hearty German food was this evening's theme. 

 Yes, this is (was) a real pig! German beer and Riesling wine goes well with the food. 

Weisswurst (the white color sausage which we love) and other sausages, sauerkraut, ham, roast port, beef and, of course pretzels made up (in part) the menu. 

The evening finished with a 4th of July ship party.

*     *     *     *
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

We signed up for this specific cruise because it was one of the few Baltic cruise itineraries that included these three countries at one time.

Lithuania: Musical Greeting

Local Art At Pier

There were several commonalities about these three countries:
From the 1200's onward, these countries have been trampled by Finland, Poland, France, Russia and Germany. It has only been since the 1990's that these countries have started the rebuilding process.

For each of these countries, there was one specific aspect that kept the post WWII surviving people together - culturally and historically. By singing their folk songs, dancing their folk dances and passing on to their children, stories about "fairies, witches and other strange folk," the survivors remained spiritually alive to the point that there has been huge growth in these countries during the last 10-20 years.

Lithuanian fairies were carved out of tree trunks primarily in the 1960's. Besides the historical meanings, there was underlining anti-communist messages.

Most of these statues were quite large! 

The Lithuania tour included a visit to a special beach via a ferry.

We also visited an old Lutheran church and nearby village

Drinking amber wine and looking at amber jewelry was fun.

Beautiful forests: Where is everyone! Smell the flowers! 

While walking through town, we came across an old building that was shot up - perhaps during WWII!?!?! 

We used this small pedestrian bridge to return to the ship. Based on a schedule, it opened and closed  to let boats get through a canal.

To be continued...

1 comment:

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