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Monday, June 14, 2010

Trip to Germany

Last Monday I received a publication in the mail from the Göinge Historical Society, containing different articles. It's their annual publication with articles relating to the history of that area (northeastern Skåne). The travel diary of Nils Nilsson, my relative who emigrated to Australia in 1909, was transcribed in it. Also with some details about his family and photos. I was involved in the process of putting it together, but most of the work was done by someone else. I read the diary again, and it's really amazing that he was on this journey for two months with wife and four small children.

Last week was student graduation week for the high schools. There were quite a lot of noisy teenagers in town, waving flags and singing that "school is out". There were parties and balls in town also. Several times I saw young women in ball dresses taking the bus at 7.15 AM home from the party.

Wednesday evening my mother came to stay here over night. Early Thursday morning we drove to a bus station near Malmö. We were going on an arranged bus trip to northern Germany. This was my mother's birthday gift from her daughters. We were 43 passengers, mostly elderly people from Skåne. We went over the bridge to Denmark (it was the first time my mother had done that - it has been there for ten years)! Further down to Rödby, where we embarked on the ferry to Puttgarden (45 minute crossing time), and then on to a small town in Schleswig province for lunch. It was a quick stop also in another town, Mölln, with houses in medieval style. We arrived at our hotel in the evening. It was a small rural town named Fallingbostel. There were sheep grazing outside our window, and chickens in a field in front of the building. Very nice place. Dinner was three courses; asparagus soup, chicken stew and raspberry mousse. Very tasty. In the evening we went kegel-playing. Kegel is similar to bowling, but the bowl was smaller. It was the men against the women, and it was a tight game. We had to play one extra round to get a winning team - the men won. It was great fun.

Friday morning we went to Lüneburg, a town further northeast. We visited the salt museum there. Lüneburg was a Hanseatic town and had for a long time, 950 until 1980, been exporting salt. The water from the ground contains 26% salt. In the early days they extracted it by heating the water in leadvats, which meant that the workers died from poisoning usually before 30 years of age. A tough job.

After the museum tour, our guide Malin took us on a trip in the center of town. There were many old buildings made of bricks with wooden frameworks. We also visited the Johannes church. The ground had become unstable because of the salt works, so the tower was leaning two meters. My mother and I went for lunch at a restaurant where the waitress didn't know one word of English. It was kind of interesting because it meant that I had to practice my German. I have spoken it on very rare occasions since I learned it in school more than 20 years ago. It seemed to work out though, because we got what we ordered - fish and potatoes. Very nice meal and also affordable. After some minor shopping in the touristy shops, we went back to the bus. At departure time one person was still missing, and it created some problems when seven people went out to look for him. He came back by himself 30 minutes later (he lost orientation in the town), but then one of the seven couldn't be reached (no cell phone). We got an hour delayed there, but we had a margin. In the evening there was yet again a three-course meal at the hotel; broccoli soup, a meat dish, and jello for dessert. My mother got a mushroom casserole. Very nice.

Saturday morning we went by bus to the other side of the town. There was a stable at an inn, where they had horse and carriage tours. We were about 20 people who went on a carriage, drawn by three large horses. We went out in the fields, they grow a lot of potatoes there. We stopped by at a sheep pasture, and the driver let his bordercollie out into the field to round up the sheep. He ran very fast and managed to get the sheep moving in whatever direction he was told. Impressive. We continued on the carriage to a natural preserve. This area is a part of the Lüneburger Heide, a large heath. Most of it is farmland now, and the only areas with genuine heath are preserves. We went for a walk on the heath. It was sandy soil with heather, juniper and grazing sheep. We had lunch outdoors, goulasch soup. They had forgotten the asparagus soup for my mother, but when the rest of us had finished, the chef came with it in his car. We returned to the stable and went on the bus again to another nearby town. We visited a bee keeper and he gave a short lecture on the history of his business and showed us old beehives made of straw. We also bought some honey products there. The dinner in the evening was tomato soup, three kinds of meat, two kinds of potatoes, chanterelle sauce, with icecream for dessert. Delicious. No risk of starving on these trips.

Sunday we checked out and left at 9 in the morning. On the way to Lübeck we handed in the bus company cross-word puzzle we had solved (it was difficult), and to our surprise we won the prize - a small marzipan pig. We arrived in Lübeck just before noon and Malin gave a short guided tour. It was yet another picturesque Hanseatic town with old buildings in different styles. We had lunch at Niederegger, which is really a marzipan shop. They also have a café with a large selection of cakes. We had a ham lunch and then we made some purchases in the store. We made a short visit to the museum, where we learned that Niederegger was founded in 1806. They export marzipan to 35 countries and is one of the largest manufacturers. There was an apprentice sitting in the museum, making small figures of colorful marzipan. It really is a handcraft. In the afternoon we continued north, and made it on to an early ferry (Malin rushed to the ticket office and back). It was the same way home, Puttgarden to Rödby and then through Denmark, over the bridge and on to the bus station. My mother and I made it back to Kävlinge at about 8 PM. It was a very nice trip, we had a good time and got to see beautiful places.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Såklart ni vann! Det är ju en tradition i er familj.