Sunday, December 19, 2010

Small Trip: LÜneburg

The next stop in my Small Trip was Lisa's hometown: a town called Lüneburg.

Well, as I wrote before, the focus of this small trip, besides experiencing new things, was to see how Lisa lives her daily life.
Her hometown Lüneburg was a part of her daily life for about 20 years.
Lisa was born in Lüneburg and her parents lived in the same house for around 22 years now.
This town is a really big part of Lisa's and her family's lives.

I was very excited to come to Lüneburg, actually.
One of the reasons was because my dad was there before.
There was one time when my dad had a business to do in Germany and he took a day off to visit Lisa and her family.
So, whilst I am the one with the biggest connection with Lisa (I lived with her, in the same room, for a year!), my dad was the one who visited her and her family first.

Lisa and I arrived in Lüneburg very late. I think it was almost midnight, or even past midnight.
It was a cold, cold night.
Lisa's father, Peter, came to pick us up in the train station, in which later I too met up with Lisa's mother, Christine.

When I got to Lisa's house, I was, honestly surprised.
The house, like other normal houses in Europe-I should say, was fairly small.
And Lisa's parents had a bad news for me: it had been a very cold week and their heater was broken.
I was worried.

But it surprised me, Lisa's family welcomed me very warmly.
They turned on their electric heater under the dining table, just for my visit.
They offered me tons of food.
Christine cooked all sorts of delicious food that I won't be able to enjoy anywhere else in the world.
Peter was very psych that I was there he showed me EVERYTHING! From his book collections to his family pictures. From his birthday presents to the applications on his iPhone.
In much simple words, Lisa has GREAT parents!

Anyhow, back to the tales about a more-than-1000-year-old town called Lüneburg.
I was extremely curious to see what the town looks like.
For one thing, I remember the time when Lisa and I was still in Canada. That time, we met a lady who visited Lüneburg once and she loved it so very much. Plus, I was with Elisa and her parents a few days before I got to Lüneburg. They all have visited Lüneburg and they all gave the same expression: a long sigh, a smile, a hand in the chest, and praises
They went, "Awww... it's so beautiful..." or "Lüneburg, isn't it beautiful?" or "Lüneburg, you're gonna like it!"
I mean, how could I not be curious to see the whole town after getting those responses?
For another thing, I was really there to proof my dad's point: "The town is very small. It's almost like a village."

Thus, to proof other people's points regarding the town, I was ready to explore the city.

The first 'big' stop in the city, on my first day of exploring Lüneburg was 'the runway'.
In the picture below is an area around Lüneburg's city center that Lisa called 'the runway'.

I remember when Lisa and I were in Canada, Lisa was telling me that her town maybe the town with the most cafes in Germany.
As I lived in Bandung before my Canadian experience, I felt that we had that much thing in common. Bandung has tons of cafes, even though I'm not sure if it can accept the title of being the city with the most cafes in Indonesia.

In the picture above tables and chairs can be distinctively seen.
The area called 'the runway' was one area with cafes galore.
Along the city center, much more cafes can be visited.
People, like Christine and her friends, found cafes behind a store or all sorts of hiding places.

As for 'the runway', Lisa specifically named it for people like her mother.
Lisa said, if Christine walks through the area, she would be waving hands and saying hi to everyone at every table. Just like a model in the runway, only a lot more friendlier.
That made her think the place deserves to be called 'the runway'.

So, I was in Lüneburg for few days.
The time which I should have been able to proof the two points that I was after: whether or not it's beautiful and whether or not it's very small.

The picture below would be the proof of the first point: Luneburg is indeed beutiful!

The minute I walked on the bridge in the city, looked over to the view like the picture I took above, I immediately said this to Lisa,
"Wow! it's really beautiful! It looks just like postcards. Postcards from Europe!"
I mean, really. Go look through postcards from Europe, I bet many of the postcards would have pictures with a view like this. Old buildings, cafes, river: the combination of ancient and modern time.

Then it hit me.
Lüneburgg is a town to remember.
The buildings within the city were mesmerizing.
They were very old, but yet beautiful.
They looked very medieval-ly and it made Lisa talked a lot about how she imagined the time when people were really living in there, primitively.

I put some pictures of the houses here. scroll down, if you may.
These are some of the oldest building in the town.

The picture above is a house with a very medieval look in it, notice the paint and the pattern.
the interesting part is the pulley at the top of the building.
It was used to lift heavy things to get into the house, specifically into the storage room within the house which is marked by the green door.
Isn't it interesting?

The picture above was interesting too.
When I first got there, I was surprised that normal people still use these old houses to live.
I, of course, managed to peek into people's windows to see how they live inside these pretty medieval-ly buildings. But I think it was too rude to took pictures of the inside of strangers' houses.
So, to show you that people, normal people-nevertheless, still do live in those postcard-y look houses, look at the picture above. A normal person is at the door, greeting her normal guest.

Other interesting thing about Lüneburg is that they actually hold a medieval festival annually.
Unfortunately, the festival is usually in October, very near to Halloween, when-unfortunately-I was there on the last week of September.
However, Lisa said that in the festival, people do dress up like they used to dress in medieval time and the town was decorated to build a medieval-ly feeling.
So, if you are a medieval freak, I would recommend you to come visit the town and check on the town festival.

Eventually, we came to the second point that I was trying to proof: is Lüneburg VERY small?
The answer, as it turned out, no.

Look at the picture of Lisa and I standing on top of Lüneburg's water tower below.
You can basically see one part of the town.
It doesn't look that small, isn't it?

Well, it's a small town, true, because (almost) everything is on walking or biking distance.
I was lucky that Lisa and her parents lent me one of their bikes, so I got to bike all around town.
but it is not a VERY small town.

It is definitely bigger than Pomalaa (I should maybe improve the wikipedia page) in South East Sulawesi, where I used to live as a child.
It is definitely bigger than Stettler, Alberta, in Canada, Helen's (my Canadian hostmom) hometown.
It has a forest (although, if you have seen Indonesian tropical forest, you wouldn't call that a forest *wink*) and a river that runs through the city. It also has a street with plenty of fashion stores like H&M.
So, I wouldn't call it a VERY small town.
Judging from my origin, which is Jakarta, Indonesia, I would call it a small town.
therefore, my dad's point was not proven to be true. *smile*

The last thing I wanna say about Lüneburg is about the 'purple flower'.

Again, to tell you about the 'purple flower', I had to tell you a story when Lisa and I was still in Canada.
We were in our room, browsing through our pictures, which we brought from home to remind us about home at all times.
Lisa was showing me a picture of a field, filled with the 'purple flower' and she told me about the famous 'purple flower' that draws tons of tourist to come to her town.
Later in that year, we met the lady (look up!) and she said that the 'purple flower' was very beautiful.

When Lisa and I was on Skype, planning our trip, Lisa was confused at first, with what I meant by 'purple flower'.
She asked me if it was lavender and it even took her sometime to realized that I was talking about Heide. The Lüneburger Heide.

On the second last day of my stay in Lüneburg, Lisa, Christine, and Peter (her boyfriend, not her father) took me to the Heide.
Unfortunately, it was autumn when I was there and Heide usually blooms in summer.
So, this below would be the best picture of Heide field that I took.
You can't really see the flowers, but the purple dots were there.

I took a picture of Heide in the market, just to show the 'purple flower' that I meant, more clearly.

The funny thing about going to the Heide field that I didn't have the chance to get a good look on the actual Heide.
But on the other hand, I got a good look of this mushroom below.

That very cool and colorful mushroom was all over the Heide field.
It was very interesting because I had never seen such poisonous mushroom grows wildly and beautifully. Lisa and I ended up taking tons of pictures of the mushrooms.

The time that I had in Lüneburg was awesome.
Even awesome might be an understatement.

I mean, the weather was beautiful when I was there: the sun was shining generously.
Until it got to the second last day in Lüneburg, the day when we went to see the Heide: rain was pouring.
Lisa's family was extremely nice.
I'm telling you: my friends and I have agreed that meeting a local family when you're traveling is the best way to cope with home sick.
And Lisa's family was very wonderful to be around with.
I also met Max, Lisa's brother who's now studying in Gronigen, The Netherlands, and Morla, Lisa's best friend who's now spending a year in Zaragoza, Spain for Erasmus.
And the city was stunning.
I now understand why Lisa was homesick when we were in the boring Regina.*d'oh!*

In simple words: I wouldn't mind coming back to Lüneburg anytime!



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