As I recall our MBC group first met at JFK airport for our overseas flight. I no longer remember our specific destination, but I believe it was Hamburg. My first memories are of that city anyway. I think the flight was a charter although we were not the only folks on it. Although I was less than the drinking age in the US, those rules didn't apply overseas, and I was delighted to sample all the free booze on offer on the plane.

Once we arrived my first order of business was to buy a camera. I had never owned or used an SLR, but based on comments from friends I was determined to purchase a Pentax. For reasons that are lost in time I wanted an Asahi branded Pentax rather than the Honeywell branded versions available in the US. I suppose that is the reason that I waited until arriving in Europe.

Even more obscure was my decision to forego a built-in light meter, which was a relatively new feature at the time. Instead I bought a stand-alone light meter and regretted that decision for the rest of the time I used that camera. The light meter was erratic and cumbersome and much of the time I simply relied on a guess as to the proper exposure. As a result it is a wonder that any pictures came out at all!

A very odd purchase in Hamburg was an alto recorder (blockflöte). I no longer recall why I wanted one, but I went out of my way to find it. I never really learned to play the thing even though I carried it around for many years. I think I still have it.

Ah, youth!

Picture

Narrative

Holstein Tor, Luebeck

My first picture was in the city of Lübeck -- the Holstein Tor (Holstentor) or Holstein Gate. It was built in the 15th century and is the only remnant of the original fortified gates at this location. I don't recall if we visited the museum or not. Nowadays you couldn't keep me out!

It's not the camera -- the towers are not straight.

Buddenbrook Haus, Lubeck

The Buddenbrooks House, the home of the family of Thomas Mann and the scene of the acclaimed novel is now a museum, but was a bank at the time of our visit. Only the facade and the cellars survived WWII Allied bombing.

Thomas Mann moved with his family to Munich when his father died. He left Germany altogether when Hitler came to power. He lived in Switzerland for a while, but eventually moved to the US and became a US citizen.

The only one of Thomas Mann's works that I remember reading is Tonio Kröger.

Rathaus

My new camera lacked a wide-angle lens, which severely limited my ability to get urban sights. This is the Lübeck Rathaus or city hall. To see a complete picture, with a fish-eye lens, check the link. It is an impressive building.

Timmendorfer Strand

Our next stop was Timmendorfer Strand (Beach) on the Baltic Sea (Ostsee). The little cabanas are still available for rent and would be quite welcome on chilly days.

As it turned out the summer of 1968 was notorious for its chilly and rainy weather. It was a disaster for wine production. I don't recall seeing much sun after the first couple of weeks.

Wading in the Baltic

Most of us took the opportunity to go wading in the sea. It was cold!

Herr Kerr in the Baltic

Even Herr Kerr, normally quite dignified, got in the action.

Looking back from an increasingly informal time, it is striking how we consistently "dressed up" for our travel. Including the ubiquitous London Fog raincoats.

Michaels Kirche

Our next stop was Hildesheim, where we visited an amazing Romanesque church complex. Of all the places that I saw in Germany, this is the one I have dreamed of revisiting. I've never made it, but there is still time.

St. Mary's cathedral is known for some bronze doors dating back to the early 11th century.

These aren't them.

My slide has the note "Michaelkirche, Hildesheim," but this isn't it either. I have found nothing like these doors online -- although they are very nice. Maybe if I ever get back....

St. Michael's Church, Hildesheim

This is St. Michael's church, which dates to 1020. The slide, however, is labeled "Peterskirche." Seems that I had my churches, and perhaps my doors too, mixed up.

Romanesque churches are much more massive than the Gothic ones and feature round arches.

The church was damaged during WWII, but has been restored.

St. Miichael's Church, Hildesheim

Another view of the church. The interior is stunning.

There is a video at the UNESCO site reached by the link above that describes a legend that the original cathedral was originally built at the site of a wild rose tree (listen to the story there; I'm not repeating it here). For this reason roses are a prominent feature at Hildesheim.

The cathedral, which I don't recall visiting, was originally founded in the 9th century although the current building dates from the 12th.

Goslar Street

Our next stop was Goslar. I have several pictures, but unfortunately don't remember much about it. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site for its nearby mines and water management system, which makes me want to revisit it too. None of that would have interested me at the time, but it really would now!

What made me take this picture was the typical medieval construction technique of making upper stories larger than the ground floor. That allows more room in the street while providing additional living space.

Glockenspiel

What attracted me much more in my callow years was something like this glockenspiel, which put on a performance of several minutes. This is just the beginning with the king and his horse & groom. Eventually laborers shuttled material from one side to the other and maybe knights came out and jousted as well.

Lunch

We weren't exactly starving students, but we didn't dine in high-end restaurants or stay in 4-star hotels during our initial tour. We spent the nights at family-run guest houses. They are where I learned to love the typical German breakfast of brötchen and cold cuts.

This was a typical lunch: bread, cheese & yogurt with something to drink.

I assume we ate supper.

University of Marburg

This is the University of Marburg, our next stop. It was founded in the 16th century as a Protestant institution.

I can't remember if this was the school I would have attended for a junior year abroad or if it would have been Freiberg.

Marburg prison (karzer) cell

German universities had detention cells called karzer, back in the day. Students would be sentenced to spend time there, but it soon became rather dashing to do so. The cells were heavily decorated with graffiti.

To see better pictures of this cell visit the university write-up (in German).

Marburg Castle

After the War of Thuringian Succession, the Landgraves of Hesse established their dynasty in Marburg in the 13th century. The existing fortress was enlarged as a residence and this was their seat until the 17th century.

(The seat of Thuringia is Eisenach, the home of one of my ancestors in the 18th century. Didn't know this at the time.)

Marburg Overlook

Marburg and environs from the castle heights.

The spires belong to St. Elizabeth's church. She was married to Louis IV , Landgrave of Thuringia, at 14, and they had three children. He died when she was 20. After his death she moved to Marburg and devoted her life to the poor. She died at 24 and was canonized four years later.

Kirchhain Cranes

From Marburg we traveled to Kirchhain. A notable sight there was this crane's nest on a chimney.

It looks like the homeowner has constructed a platform for the nest to allow the chimney to be used in winter without demolishing the nest.

Kirchhain - our bus

The half-timbered styling is very typical of the area, but I kept this picture mostly to show our little bus. We spent two weeks traveling the highways and byways in this little gem. Our driver was expert at fitting it into the tiniest alleys.

View from the Amoneburg

This is the view from nearby Amöneburg located on a dramatic mountain rising from the plain.

The only one of these ladies I can name today is Suellen Harris, on the left, who was my roommate for these two weeks. We had a great time together, but unfortunately lost touch after we graduated.

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