The World celebrates its inaugural visit to Wismar
We docked in Wismar about 9 am to a warm welcome from this community of around 45,000 people. Their fireboat saluted us with their water cannons shooting powerful streams of water in a traditional maritime salute.
Wismar retains much of its charm and many reminders of its days as a member of the Hanseatic League and over more than 250 years of Swedish control (1648-1903).
It sustained limited bombing during WWII which preserved many of its brick buildings with gabled store fronts and half-timbered buildings.
Wismar was part of East Germany under Soviet Control until the Wall fell in 1989. Many of the buildings in the Old City (Altstadt) have been preserved. Our guided walk took us through the Old City and passed through several churches in various states of renovation including the Churches of St. Nicholas and St. George.
Our final stop was the Brauerei (brewery) am Lohberg which has been producing beer since 1452. It is a beautifully restored half-timbered building. We sampled 3 beers accompanied by really wonderful German pretzels (yes we split one).
After the tour ended, we walked to the Market Square with another Resident couple and had bratwurst, currywurst and fries from a local food truck. We also stopped for some blueberries, strawberries and some beautiful peonies to remind us of “home” back on the Ship.
The next day was beautifully bright and clear with promises of temperatures in the high 70’s. Our plan was to visit the city of Schwerin (schvear – ine) and Schwerin Castle (Schloss) about 45 minutes from Wismar.
This 653 room castle is exquisite from the outside. It was first a fort in the 1100’s and much later, in the 16th century, the fort was slowly transformed into a castle but it wasn’t until the 1800’s that it was completely rebuilt into what it looks like today. It is situated on an island in a beautiful lake (Schweriner – the 2nd largest lake in Germany) and this 5 sided castle fairly glowed in the beautiful blue skies.
The castle is currently a museum and also houses the State Assembly of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. During its life it was a college for kindergarten teachers and was also occupied by the Russians for a short period during their occupation after WWII.
We first toured the gardens of the palace which were quite beautiful.
We then when into the Museum portion of the castle where we toured about 30 rooms, including the Throne room, dining room, library and various meeting or sitting rooms.
The men and women did not “live” on the same floors so the decorations were quite different from one floor to another. The floors were of intricately inlaid wood and the ceilings and wall panels were quite ornate.
After our castle tour we walked to the town of Schwerin where we had lunch and some free time to shop or browse the area.
Since the Ship leaves tonight, we were entertained on the pier by a local group called the Shanty Choir. As we watched from our deck on the Ship, this group of about 30 men very enthusiastically performed sailors work songs dating back to the days when seafarers had to maneuver heavy sails by using only ropes. Many Wismar residents were also on hand for the performance.
It concluded with a cannon salute. At least we think it was a salute since they weren’t aiming at us!
This was an inaugural visit for the Ship to Wismar, and we always enjoy this local entertainment and welcome we receive from smaller cities that appear to be quite curious about the Ship and grateful for the business we bring to their community.