No photographic update this morning everyone, but I can report that the windows and doors are just about done on the dozen new buildings that comprise my Baltic German town center. Just the university/palace to do, and then a final few small surprise details, and the project will be complete. A scant month plus a few days since it began.
Today's photograph is of Thomas Mann's boyhood home in Lübeck, Germany. I am unsure what is in it now, but there was a bank in operation on the premises way back during the winter of 1986 when I first visited the town. I cashed a traveler's check (Remember those?) there the morning I left heading north to Copenhagen.
In 1990, when I spent another week in Lübeck, the bank had gone, and there were various doctors' and dentists' offices in its place. Oddly, although the Grand Duchess and I walked by the house in 2009, when we spent a long weekend in the small city to celebrate our third anniversary, we did not think to stick our heads in the door to see what businesses were in operation at that point. I wonder what we'll find the next time we visit?
Lübeck is one of those places I could happily reside. Pretty quiet and sleepy, steeped in history, yet not always one of those places to which throngs of tourists flock. A bit off the beaten track you might say. But I don't think I could ever tire of seeing it, being there, or breathing in the air. For me, Lübeck has always been a place where I have felt instantly at home, ensconced, and, perhaps oddly, rooted.
Anyway, although the Lübeck was badly bombed during the Second World War, the old center was rebuilt, restored, and I simply fell in love with the winding, cobble-stoned, medieval, fairy tale-like layout of the town when arriving for the first time on a cold, snowy winter's day in early February 1986. That impression was helped, no doubt, by the numerous tall spires, red brick North German variety of Gothic architecture, and the charming gabled merchants' houses all around.
Coal smoke still hung in the air at that time, and a few days into my stay that first visit, I happened upon a very tall, very blonde young man dressed in traditional chimney sweep clothes with a tophat and the tools of his trade over his shoulder walking along a side street in the snow. Sadly, I was out of film in my camera at that point, or I would have asked to take his photograph, but that brief encounter remains one of my very best travel memories all these years later.