Monday, December 31, 2018


New Year's Eve 2018, and my 300th post since I started this blog over ten years ago. Yay!

Before I finish the ongoing series of marriage-, reception-, and guest-related posts, I figured I might as well post my Christmas pictures on time, if nothing else.

Three weeks ago we went to Lüneburg, an idyllic town not far from Hamburg that was, in medieval times, known for and made wealthy by its production and sale of salt. By the 1600's it was in decline, and it's not exactly an absolute must-see, but it is one of the German towns that escaped the extensive bombing and subsequent firestorms of the War, so that pretty much all of its charming buildings are intact. And wonky. Imagine the bulges, leans, and tilts that happen when you just leave thin stacks of bricks sitting for hundreds of years.
It's also a university town these days, with plenty of far-left and vegan stuff going on, and having found out about it because a mutual friend of ours got her Bachelor's and Master's there, I'd been dying to go. A number of people told me specifically that it's way cuter than Lübeck at Christmastime, so that wasn't a tough choice. Sorry, other bigger and more relevant Haseatic city. We'll get around to visiting you eventually.

Northern German Impressionism isn't something that gets a lot of attention, but I've decided I quite like this artist: Hugo Friedrich Hartmann. This is just a piece of one of the two murals of his at the main station, depicting travelling merchants coming into Lüneburg.

You can see where a number of water mills once stood, presumably powering salt mills within these buildings, which I can only imagine were once storehouses. (Obviously, apparently, it would seem, that) I didn't see a placard or ask a knowledgeable local or anything.

Charming ironwork bridge railing!

Oh, right, and speaking of public works and civic design: new city, new manhole cover.. that in this case reveals a probably-medieval emblem that looks more like it belongs to that of a real or fictional secret society.


Also yes

Pretzel pub sign with medieval brick gothic architecture all smushed together 
in a cute little row in the background? Obviously yes.

Quite a lot of the buildings throughout the town are labelled - in the way that European buildings often are, like they're wearing nametags - with their year of construction, and while most of the ones you see in Hamburg are 19th and 20th century, and specifically post-War rebuilt structures, many of these were 17th and 18th. Although, of course, this tile mosaic sign in front of this book printer's must have been made fairly recently.

(hard to read, but for example)

I could spend multiple lifetimes just taking doortraits in Europe.

This is St. Johanniskirche, a typical brick gothic structure dating from the 14th-century. 

This is a goddamn unicorn pub sign. Yes.

Oh boy, there's that lean I was telling you about, especially on those tippy-tops there. Most of the old buildings in Rostock also have seven points on top, but in a different style.

Eh, photos really can't do this justice. Look at that little dark brown one though! It's quite striking in person and lowkey makes you feel like you're not sober, which I can assure you we soon weren't.

Hot fresh potatocakes with lingonberries and.. hot Aperol?! 
Hannes hated it and stuck to Glühwein and Feuerzangenbowle but I think it works!

The city hall, which I would like to take a closer look at sometime

Beeswax candles in normal and festive shapes are typical Christmas market fare, but I'd never seen tiny round rose ball ones like this before. I was tempted, but of course, no one needs these. Or do they? ... No. Be strong.

I went to this chick's website because her paste-ups were unique but yikes, skill level weak, arms spaghetti. No, that was not nice. No, no one really reads this, so no, I'm not sorry.

Um yes I would like to go to the gay-friendly Hanseatic fish restaurant-pub-hotel thing

Hannes commented along the lines of pretzel pub signs being possibly one of the least special things one can see around these parts, but I remained undaunted.

This, for example, is a common franchise bakery.
But here they have an adorable pub sign!!1!1
(Hannes can only be seen a considerable distance down the street by this point)

Tiny, probably-antique grandma wrapping Christmas presents at her dining table diorama seen through a random window on a little cobblestone side street ;o;

Ginger camouflage

This building is stupidly adorable in person. Actually, pretty much all of them are.
We want to go to the Salt Museum with the friend who studied here next time, because even after having lived in Lüneburg for around 6 years, she never did go.

Urgh, this pub sign! With this backdrop! This one is Nikolaikirche!

Oookay, way less cute than the last doll display!

Just a random griffin or something on a random stone thing, hundreds of years old, like whatever. It reminds me of The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro even though I found that novel very mediocre.

Salt merchant ships in the center of town, surrounded by all those former warehouses and water mills..

.. and the Old Crane! If you look closely you can see the 
city's emblem in this bell-shaped part.

Charming! Interesting!

Hot apple brandy! Eggnog! Oh boy.. This is when things started sliding downhill for us, because it was raining, and so we just kept drinking while taking shelter at the little stands in the shadow of the crane. Calvados, the name of this apple brandy from Normandy, was new for both of us. And I had a lot of it. Sigh.

But these weren't a mistake! As expected, there was one totally vegan food stand, but it was really expensive. We settled for sweet potato fries with homemade vegan mayo, and they were great!

These views were really quaint, with the lights starting to come on and everything.

But, ah yeah, that means it must be around 3:30 P.M., time for it to start getting dark.. 
-rolls eyes-

We walked back the way we had come through the center of town and stopped at a funny little mini-market that was really just the small courtyard-like space through this tunnel of lights and situated between buildings. It was very crowded by this time but still not as bad as I had expected.


More hot spiced wine and hot Aperol! 
These ones were actually a really bad idea! :D

Pensive and kind of unhappy-looking, but I do like this one quite a lot. 
This is his "I'm getting tired and I want to go soon," face.

But it was just so pretty. Kind of looks like Disneyland or something, huh?

Pretty much exactly how we felt by this point

The medieval water tower, which may or may not have the Eye of Sauron 
perched atop it from time to time; survey points to "likely, yes"

And finally, these rainy nighttime cobblestone cityscapes. 
Oh, I love these ones! They look just like paintings.

10/10 would recommend this lovely town, and can't wait to go back!