I have to admit that I hadn't actually heard of Lubeck before. I was in fact on my way to Berlin, and really only stopped in Lubeck because it was sort of halfway between Berlin and Amsterdam, and the Lonely Planet guidebook said it was a cute little town.
It turns out (and I only found this out weeks after being there) that Lubeck is where my best friend Rita Koch's parents were married and where her two older brothers were born. Which explains a lot about my friend Rita. Yesiree, like her voracious appetite for red meat and sausage. And her personality ... we always thought she was just, well, bossy, but I now realize that the direct way is just the German way! I mean, why bother saying something like "excuse me, would you mind moving please" when the simple command "MOVE" will do.
I also have to say that I'm a little upset with my parents. You see, they're of German descent, they speak German, but do you think they taught us kids how to speak any German? Noooooo, they used to talk in German amongst themselves when they didn't want us to understand what they were saying. As a result, I can count to 10 in German and can say a few other semi-useless words and phrases but that's about it. I mean, I didn't even know how to order a beer and sausage properly when I arrived in Lubeck for heaven's sake! It's a good thing pointing and smiling is a universal language. Mom & Dad, you have some apologizing to do when I get back!
Lubeck is indeed a lovely place. Not only did I encounter a new language here, but also saw buildings of a new architectural design. There are dozens of churches with tall green spires, old historic buildings, and of course numerous beer gardens. The old town area is surrounded by a river where canal boats slowly float around town. There are marionette shows, shops and museums. And let's not forget that Lubeck is known to be the birthplace of marzipan. Apparently, during the war when flour was scarce, someone for some reason decided to finely grind up almonds, make it into a paste ... and that's how marzipan was invented.
Now, speaking of the war, I hadn't realized just how much of Germany's cities and beautiful old buildings were damaged or destroyed by bombs. Even Lubeck lost a lot of buildings and most of its main church. In fact the church bells, which fell down during a 1942 bombing, are still to this day on the floor in the place where they fell ... as a wartime reminder I guess.
There is one more cute story associated with this church. Apparently (and I'm not making this up folks) when the people of Lubeck started to build the church the Devil appeared. He started clawing at the building in anger as the townspeople were supposed to have built a beer garden there, not a church. So the townspeople had to make a deal with the Devil that they'd build him a beer garden across the street if he left the church alone ... and that is in fact where a beer garden is today located!
Anyway, the next day I was leaving lovely little Lubeck behind and on my way to Berlin. Had I known my friend Rita hails from this area I might have called upon a few of the relatives ... just to see what other interesting characteritics might belong to the Koch family.