Today was the first time that I stepped foot in Germany. We were in Germany when I woke up this morning and it was delightful. The sun was shining and we docked right next to an adorable seaside village called Warnemunde, which is undoubtedly geared toward tourists.The train station was just a short walk, so we decided to take the train into Rostock, which was a short twenty minutes away, unlike Berlin, which is nearly three hours away. Berlin is a city that we do want to visit, but instead of trying to survive a 12-hour "tour", we are going to fly there after the cruise for several days instead.
Once we arrived in Rostock, we found a friendly, yet extremely hard-to-understand taxi driver. In some countries, it is easier to communicate than in others, but it was not for lack of effort on both of our parts. He quickly understood that we wanted to see as many highlights of his city as he could show us in a few hour's time frames.
We visited the University of Rostock, northern Europe's oldest university established in 1419. It is built in the Italian Renaissance style. It was situated across from a cute little square of shops, restaurants, and coffee houses and was full of life. This area has flourished since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. There were buskers entertaining, and families enjoying the sunshine by running through the fountain that was chock full of bronze sculptures.
I could certainly see spending more time there, it was quaint and charming.
|it's a cute water closet, but if you don't have euros, no dice!|
Even though much of the city center was destroyed during the Second World War, you are still able to find many historical buildings, such as the medieval 15th-century town hall. The town hall has seven turreted Gothic towers and an 18th-century Baroque front structure. It was stunning.
It was situated across the street from a small park, with a lovely fountain, and a tree-lined walkway. Here we also asked our taxi driver about the eagle-looking tiger, which turns out to be a symbol, of Rostock. It is a golden griffin, with an eagle-like head, wings and talons, and a tiger body. You will find these bronze statues throughout Rostock.
I would have to say that St. Mary's was the highlight of the day, with its characteristic red brick, built as an early -gothic hall church. In 1290 it was rebuilt into a church with three naves of different heights. The church was completed in gothic style by 1454.
The main altar, which was built in 1721, was massive and breathtaking. The pulpit is in renaissance style with stations of the life of Jesus. The pipe organ was magnificent! I am pretty sure it can hold its' own with the best of the best! Once again, massive, with so much to see, my eyes could not take it all in.
The stained glass windows were lovely, and I loved seeing how they were beginning to restore the hidden murals, under paint and plaster, from days gone past. So much history, so much beauty.
As we were walking toward the very back of the church, we came upon an amazing astronomical clock. It was built in 1472, and consists of three partitions; the top Apostle-go-round, the middle has the daily time, zodiac, moon phases, and month, and the bottom calendar, which is valid until 2150, when the table will be replaced. This clock is the only one of its' kind still in working condition with its original clockwork.
I could have stood in front of it for hours, as there was so much to see. How fortunate are we to have been able to see this clock, as well as the one in Prague? Blessed, and grateful for my life.
By this time, maybe three-ish hours, we were all tired, me, exhausted and starving, as I hadn't been able to eat before leaving the ship, so we had our guide for the day bring us back to the train station and went back to Warnemunde.
We walked around for a bit, looking for a place to have some food and a beer for the guys, with little luck! People were milling around everywhere; it was lovely, with a canal and boats, and shops and bratwurst stands.
We ordered a bratwurst but found they would only take cash; bummer. Went to the next one and they accepted credit cards. I know I was starving, but that bratwurst was delicious!!! I was so hungry that I burned the roof of my mouth.
After eating, I did a quick jaunt around another old church and found a lovely fountain and a street that likely had exactly what we were looking for, but I was so doggone tired, I didn't care!
We all headed back to the boat to rest for a few hours before heading to dinner....to eat AGAIN!
Night y'all; tomorrow is a sea day! Whoo hoo!