Hamburg was our last port of call on our 16-day Baltic Cruise. We did another all-day tour with a 90-minute drive into the countryside to the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had a two-hour walking tour of the Old Town. One would almost think you were in Dubai with all the unusual shaped buildings. Lübeck is still very much like it was in the late 19th century when the Hanseatic League of Merchants was in full bloom. The League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds. The league began in a few towns in the 1100s and dominated the Baltic maritime trade for three centuries. They protected economic and diplomatic privileges in their affiliated cities and worked with other communities to regulate and protect trade routes by land and by sea. They had their own legal system and private armies. The Holsten Gate St. Mary’s Church was built between 1250 and 1350 and has always been a symbol of power and prosperity in the city of Lübeck. It is built on the highest point of the island so dominates the city from all directions. We had time to wander the city streets and check out some of the shops. The Hospital of the Holy Ghost was built in 1280 and is one of the oldest social institutions in Europe. It was still in use in the 1960s. It was founded by the Lübeck merchants as a home for the poor, the sick, and the orphans.
These were the tiny little rooms occupied by the widows. We had lunch at the Maritime Club; a very posh place. Beautiful woodwork. It was a good lunch too. Back in Hamburg we relaxed before dinner and our sea days back to England.