Two Teutonic Train Trips

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Europe » Germany
April 15th 2017
Published: April 18th 2018
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Escaping the clutches of a satisfying city for a day trip was worked into the mix even prior to arrival in the form of pre-booked rail journeys to both Bremen and Lubeck, on consecutive weekend days, just to see how the smaller German city vibes measured up against the larger metropolis of Hamburg. First up was Bremen, and an over-ambitious plan of action meant that the intended route had to be trimmed down to size pretty much at an early stage in the day to make room for the important elements of the Bremen visit. Calling in at the Universum Science museum, located out of the city centre near the University, yielded a whole array of treats in the form of the greatest physics lesson you never had, as sound, light, gravity, imagery, and electronics play a role in demonstrating the joys of discovering just how science can prove insightful and mermerizing. Worked into the mix is a zone designed to simulate blindness, an identical concept to Hamburg's 'Dialog am Dunkel', where pitch black surroundings force the visitor to hear and feel their way around their environment. Moving on from this, the similarly vast Overseas museum is an impressive and satisfying collection of artefacts from 3 of 4 continents, handily separated into displays located on separate floors, so as to be able to distinguish between the origin of one museum piece over another. Bremen city centre unfolds in a kind of 'modern fused with traditional' way, the modern being the shopping areas, the traditional being the earliest-established buildings such as cathedrals, churches, town hall and quaint-looking narrow streets. Two areas of note are prime examples of this, namely Bottcherstrasse, and the colourful and whimsical area known as the Schnoor district, where narrow streets wind their way through one ornate-looking building after another, and pricier-than-average souvenir shops gain revenue from the camera-toting tourists whose tendancy to be charmed by the surroundings forces a casual purchase or two out of them. The following day, and Easter Sunday, so entering the sedate city of Lubeck on a day on which city centre shops were closed, and visitors were thin on the ground helped to create a much-needed mellow atmosphere, which felt like a different world from the bustle of Hamburg, within a 50-minute train ride away. Lubeck's first landmark as you enter the city confines is the twin-turreted entrance gate that is Holstentor, and the building styles are mostly of the finely-tuned medieval architectural variety which hints at the city's history and origins, mostly by being put on the map as the birthplace of Thomas Mann, the acclaimed German write of 'Buddenbrooks' fame. Thomas Mann declared that he spent his happiest times in his youth combing the area of Travemunde, a nearby coastal town a short train ride away from Lubeck, although the Buddenbrooks house in Lubeck proper serves to commemorate his association with the city. In season, it appears as if the waterways surrounding Lubeck are popular among visitors who benefit from scenic canal tours along local waterways, although in the case of this visit with a highly 'off-peak tourism' atmosphere, it took 2 men adeptly playing synchronized glockenspiel tunes in the city centre to slice through the ghost town nature of the city's atmosphere. Back on a train Hamburg-bound, these two train trips came across as worthwhile escape routes from business-crazed Hamburg, and as an overall package, the errant thoughts in my mind of future visits to Dusseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt clearly had some kind of reliable catalyst behind it.

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