Treasures of Scandinavia & Russia

Wismar, Germany

Thursday July 24, 2008

Wismar’s history began in the distant past, in the times of Wendish tribes. Situated near the legendary Via Regia, a Roman road and the former east-west trading route, Wismar has been a well-known trading destination for hundreds of years. It was founded in 1229 and was among the first cities established in Mecklenburg.

Merchants, guild-members, barrel makers, picklers, sailors, fishermen, traders and builders were drawn in to create a flourishing commercial center humming with friendly hustle and bustle. As a consequence of the thriving trade, pirates too were present. Klaus Stoerebecker, a legend in his own time and a well-known freebooter, lived in Wismar from 1370 to 1386, and is rumored to have been born here. (Courtesy of Holland America Line – tour description)
Barbara and I boarded our very nice touring coach, together with our table mates; Lorin and Bonnie. (Lorin and I were along only for the beer). It was a one hour drive through the farming countryside over mostly very narrow, well maintained paved roadways. Although the countryside seemed prosperous enough, our guide, informed us that this part of what to be East Germany, was still in the process of “catching up” economically with the rest of Germany (the former West Germany.)

Upon our arrival to the town square, we were treated to Baroque buildings and Renaissance facades. The Classical Rathaus (Town Hall) dominated one side of the square, with the beautiful Water Tower in one corner on the opposite side of the square.

In the Hanseatic period, the citizens of Wismar drank Mumme, a strong dark beer. Of course we were assured the good beer is still available in the Wismar of today. At the end of the tour (walking for two hours) we were promised a visit to Brauhaus am Lohberg – a brewery and pub that started in the Middle Ages.
The beer would wait while we strode the cobblestone streets, attempting to keep up with our very fast walking German guide. Our fast pace took us to the St. Georgen Church. This church was destroyed in WWII and today Wismar is collecting money for its reconstruction.
On and on we wandered (would we ever get to the pub?) along old canals and narrow streets, we finally arrived at our final destination, but somehow we had taken a turn that Barbara had not noticed, as she took her pictures.

Image courtesy of

As we waited in the pub and were served our beer, Lorin, who sometimes finds himself in the same position as Barbara, went looking for her (while Bonnie and I drank our beer and feasted on the yummy pretzels). Soon Barbara and Lorin appeared and all was well. Thank you Lorin! Before we left the pub we were told that we could buy some of their freshly brewed delight so I purchased a liter of Wismarer Pilsener that I eventually brought home to share with Jon.

Image courtesy of

While we waited for the driver to return with our bus, we waited along the waterfront shown in the opening picture. As we waited we were fascinated by what was going on in the boat on the right hand side of the picture. The lady was selling freshly prepared seafood of all types and sizes. Most of us slept on the hour bus ride back to our beloved ship.

Since the main dining room was closed for the evening, we headed up to the Lido for the Biergarten Fest. We were entertained by the Warnemunde Brass Band while we ate a typical German meal, and I drank the bottle of beer I had purchased at the grocery store in Warnemunde. What a way to end a perfect day.

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