This is an off-topic post where I will not write about a game, but about something concerning the rest of my life. It will have a tiny part related to gaming, though.
As some of you may know, bookahnerk and I had gone to spend a week in Northern Germany. We usually go there (to Hamburg, to be more precise) over New Year’s to spend some time with his family, but this year, I decided that a short city trip around my birthday would be nice. We decided to get to Hamburg first, then visit Lübeck (which is located east of Hamburg for a few days. In my region during middle school, it is common for students to go to either the German Baltic Sea or the German North Sea for a week. When I had gone to the Baltic Sea with my school, we also went to see Lübeck. The only thing I remember from that town back then was some brown brick towers and how half of us had gone into the Burger King restaurant because we had not been able to see a McDonald’s. One of our classmates ran into the place behind us and yelled: “Leave! I’ve found the McDonald’s!” – At which point, about 20 students left the restaurant as fast as they could. :p I can happily report that this time, we went to neither of those two places to eat. ;)
I did, however, see lots of brown brick buildings and towers. But more on that in a bit, because I first want to give you some details about the area as I am pretty certain that I have lots of readers not familiar with Baltic Sea, North Sea, Lübeck etc. First of all, if you hear “Northern Germany” and think of Lederhosen, Octoberfest and beer tents, then I have to disappoint you. Northern Germany has nothing to do with that (neither does any other part of Germany other than Bavaria, by the way). Northern Germany even has its own English wikipedia entry, in case you want to read more about this region.
I will now move on to the area around Hamburg and Lübeck. As you can see on the tiny map there, Lübeck is in Northern Germany. The ocean part north and north-east of Lübeck is the Baltic Sea. The ocean part on the north-western side of the map is the North Sea. Lübeck has a very pictoresque old town and in fact, this is the only part of the town that we saw during our stay there. We arrived on Wednesday early afternoon and left Friday early afternoon. When we arrived at the hotel on Wednesday, we were handed a map of the old town with a round trip printed in which leads you to all the sights the old town has to offer. I don’t remember the exact time it took us, especially as we made a break to eat some Flammkuchen in between. We skipped the part with the harbour, though, and went to that area of the old town on Friday instead. The round trip was great, though! It led us through several of the smaller passages which we quite often actually missed, so we had to walk back several times. It’s really no wonder, since they basically lead you into an area “behind” the houses and you end up in the parallel street again. But the way they are build in, they are basically just a “part of the house” only that there is no house, of course, but this path instead. And the back yards were really great to look at, too, as almost all of them had plants and tiny little chairs and tables and it just looked very comfortable and cozy. No traffic noises there either.
Thursday was spent with less walking to look at the town and more… shopping, actually. We also went to the Niederegger café. Lübeck is famous for its marzipan and Niederegger is the company that produces said marzipan. Since I happen to love marzipan, we just had to go to one of their cafés. We also went to their shop twice, but only because I had not been able to decide what to buy for friends and family the day before. Bookahnerk does not like marzipan, but thankfully, they also have nougat. And the café also served non-marzipan food. I had a piece of nougat cake which came in a thick layer of marzipan. Bookahnerk had chosen a piece of some tiramisu cake. It was a miracle that we could still walk after that visit and did not have to roll back to the hotel. :p
Now here comes the gaming part! Some time ago, I briefly talked about board games on Twitter and Pandemic got recommended to me. In Hamburg (before we drove to Lübeck), we went to a game store which we only knew existed since a guy who works there was at the Foostival 2014 and he told bookahnerk about that place. The last game store in Hamburg, apparently. So, we went there to have a look at the games they had and when I saw Pandemic, I remembered that conversation and it was impossible to get the game out of my hands anymore afterwards. We had no choice but to buy it then. :p In Lübeck, we played the game in the evening and since it was so much fun, bookahnerk decided to get me one of the expansions for my birthday. On our trip through the old town that day, we had seen a game store, so we went there on Thursday. I prefer the game store in Hamburg if you ask me, because their focus is more on board games than on mangas. The one in Lübeck had tons of manga comics… so if you prefer that, go to Lübeck instead. On the other hand, why would anybody plan a vacation based on quality of game stores? Never mind me then… ;) Luckily, in a smaller back room, they also had board games and happened to have that expansion as well. We did not get around to playing it yet, though, as I was too tired to read the rules that evening.
Still, as you can see, even when we’re away from our computers, we just enjoy playing a game in the evening. I have always loved board games because they give you an opportunity to play, have fun and talk with each other. Since Pandemic is also a cooperative game, there is no competition and we were instead trying to agree on a strategy to win against the game.
Back to the old town of Lübeck now: As you can see on the pictures, it still has so many old buildings left! But what I found most interesting and fascinating is the pure fact that those buildings are still standing strong. You may notice the one tower above, part of the Holsten Gate. No, I did not hold my camera in a weird way. This gate really is askew. The towers of the Lübeck Cathedral are just as bad to look at. A steel bar was constructed between the two towers, so they would gain some more stability. Though considering construction started in 1173 (a good 300 years before the Holsten Gate), this cathedral is in great shape.
Before we drove back to Hamburg, we made a short trip to the Baltic Sea, as bookahnerk had wanted to show me the Timmendorfer Strand. It was far from warm enough to go swim and it started raining a few minutes after we had left the beach again, but it was still amazing to stand there. I always tend to forget that Germany does have beaches. We just simply don’t have the weather for them most of the time and they are very far to the north (well, depending on where you live, but if you look at the map, most of us Germans live rather far away from there). Still, I loved feeling the sand below my shoes and hear the waves of water come and go. After that quick detour, we went back to Hamburg and two days later, we drove back home. But not without lots of nougat and marzipan, of course. And pictures taken with my mobile phone’s camera for you to enjoy. :)