Monday, 31 March 2014


When I arrived in Germany, I had the privilege of language. Although some things seemed strange and I still am horrified by the amount of paperwork everything requires at least I could ask in people's own language if I did not understand something. The international students arrive differently. With some of them I wonder what they were thinking, coming here. Flensburg is quaint in its own way, but it is not the most brilliant place to be if you don't speak German. My main reason for not coming would be that the university offers very few courses in English and although most students are willing to learn German chances are they won't master the language past an intermediate level in the 6 months they are here. 

The International Center is very committed to helping them and besides conquering bureaucratic mountains we also organise fun excursions. One such excursion took us to Lübeck, which has most of its original architecture because during WWII 80% of the town was untouched by Allied bombs (in contrast to cities like Dresden and Berlin which became rubble and ash).  As we learnt from our very friendly guide, Lübeck was a very rich city and could thus build with dark bricks and add unnecessary walls to create the illusion of height in order to appear even more grandiose.

Touchable replica of the city for visually impaired people. 

The trip started out with a bit of drama since one of the students accidentally pulled the emergency brake. I saw his hand moving in slow motion as he did it and then immediately felt the train stopping. It was dreadful. Luckily the conductor accepted that it was an accident and I don't think the young man will have to pay any fine (although admittedly I think he deserves to, gosh). 

We walked around with our guide as she explained interesting facts about the city and its heritage, most of which I can't remember. Admittedly, I was stressing most of the time about not losing anyone. The city is rather pretty though because of all the old buildings and courtyards. Also, if you are into marzipan this is the place to be since Niederegger Marzipan is made there (and has been since 1806). I bought some for my mother and sister although they both don't like it that much either, but I got overwhelmed by the assortment and had to burn the money in my wallet. 

Wall in Niedergger
Inside Nierdegger. 

On our way back a group of four students didn't show up and it turns out they did not change the train when they were supposed to, ending up in Hamburg (2.5h from here by train). When we got home I was exhausted and glad to be back, but there was a monster in the harbour so I walked to the other side and tried to photograph it. It is some enormous crane that stretches higher than the Flensburg skyline (admittedly, not a huge achievement, but still). I wonder why it was here. 

Matador-3-monster by day

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