7 a.m. Just up to have breakfast, suddenly the telephone rings. It never rings, I nearly jumped from the seat. First thought: something happened. A hesitating answer from my side, the other a nice female voice full of energy: Good morning Heidi, what do you think about going to Wismar this lovely day?
That’s the way my day started today. Of course, I said yes and in some minutes I finished breakfast, got dressed and on the way to pick up my friend.
Wismar – how to get there and what do I know about the place? Not too much. A Hanseatic League city like Lübeck and Schwerin, situated on the Baltic Sea shore and not too far away from Lübeck (around 45 minutes drive).
On the way through Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – one of the ‘new’ German regions in the East – we enjoyed a beautiful landscape with nice little villages and an amazing middle European nature, green and luscious.
We arrived just for a mid morning coffee and started with it, making a plan where to go, what to see. As my friend knows the place she made the proposals, I agreed with it. For me all was new and exciting.
First impression: again these brick houses, a lot of water ways and cobbled streets. But the town has not so many tourists like Schwerin which makes it more comfortable.
Always an attraction like in many places in the world: the little sightseeing train. I immediately thought about my friend in Graz, the train geek.
My friend suddenly laughed and draw my attention to a sign over a street. It took me a while to read it as I always have problems with these long German words consisting of three and more together. But then it put a smile and a light blush on my face too. I was there and reading it for a while, people observing me for sure amused. The sign means: road where to touch tits. It’s obvious what kind of road it has been once. Today there is a shopping center with souvenirs (of no indecent).
I didn’t see too many nice decorated facades. Don’t know way. That is different to the other cities but maybe because it was a less important and rich town during the Hanseatic League period. Or just smaller.
Well, it’s time to say some words to the history. Wismar is included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites’ list since 2002. It has around 45.000 inhabitants today.
The place was founded by the Polabians, a Slaves population. 1229 the city received the civic rights, 80 years later it got into possession of Mecklenburg and 60 years later it was part of the Hanseatic League. In the mid 17th century it became Swedish and only 150 years later it came back to Mecklenburg after paying more than a million riksdaler for liberty.
In the second world war the town was heavily damaged and after the Yalta Conference part of the Soviet Occupation Zone. In 1989, it became again part of the Western German zone, today all Republic of Germany.
Some famous people from Wismar are Klaus Störtebecker (privateer and known as a pirate) and Johan Carl Wilcke, a physicist. Curiously: it was the setting of the vampire movie ‘Nosferatu’ in 1922 and the remake of 1979 ‘Nosferatu, phantom of the night’.
We entered a nice church in restoration, the St. George church. Here – my friend told me – they do concerts and other events. The acoustic in churches is so amazing as they were always built in a way that the preacher was heard till the last row. I liked its simplicity. The church is from late 13th century and the biggest sacral building of the city.
Different is the ruin of St. Mary’s. This building was destroyed completely in the last world war and only the bell tower ‘survived’. They didn’t reconstruct the church and let only the tower to restore. This is seen from far in the lands as the country surroundings are completely flat. And the tower is 82,5 m high. There is only one room to enter and where to have a look how the church once was.
On our way back to the car I saw a nice sign for a wine house and a bed&breakfast. ‘The Grape Vine Louse’ – I thought it a funny name as it has a double sense.
Of course, I was scrolling through the city center with a special eye on doors! And I found some nice once but not too special.
We had a short look into an old monastery in the hope to find a herbal garden that disappeared unfortunately. My friend has seen it years ago.
Back to the car we headed out of town to the seaside and to drive back through the hinterland of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.