A Travellerspoint blog

April 2014

Fontainebleau: The Forest and the Climbs

rain 10 °C

Summary of boulder areas:
Saturday: Gorges d'Apremont at Apremont, at main forest area
Sunday: Roche aux Sabots at Les Trois Pignon, near Noisy-sur Ecole
Monday: 95.2 at La Croix Saint Jerome at Les Trois Pignon

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So, an introduction to Fontainebleau, pronounced fon-tan-blow, where tan is as in tanning in the sun. Fontainebleau is also colloquially known as font to English speakers or bleau to the French. It's a forest an hour South East of Paris with a lot of big rocks ie boulders, supposedly brought by glaciers a certain long time ago. There are various areas in the whole forest where there are specific problems (routes or climbs) on boulders that have been cleaned and prepped mostly by local climbers over the years. These problems and areas are listed and mapped out in many guide books, along with difficulty level. So yeah, lots of people come to font to climb, but it's also a very popular hiking destination.

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In reality when you get to font you realise that there are many roads cutting through the forest. That's kind of sad, it's habitat fragmentation and it's really bad for the organisms living there. Filled tall trees (pine?) with almost no undergrowth in typical European fashion. And since it's really spring, it actually felt like a forest already with leaves and stuff. Besides the roads there are also paths through the forest, most originating in the various scattered carparks. To get to the boulder areas you need to check your guide book carefully.

The forest is indeed the expected forest in most areas, but towards the south end it's more like a desert or a beach. The sandy area is an interesting and surprising feature, we bouldered there as well as in the forested area.

I want to describe the boulder areas, because before I went and saw I could not imagine what it would really be like. Boulder areas look like fields of big rocks strewn around the place. Like the aftermath of a stone giant battle haha. Or the boulders like in Frozen. These boulders can be pretty spectacular in terms of shape, feature, overgrowth, and potential, and no picture I take can show how pretty and exciting it is to be there among them.

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To borrow from Pocahontas, every rock and tree and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name. When I began to look at them from the perspective of a climber, I honestly felt like each boulder had a different personality. Some were slabs, wet and tall and forbidding. Others had friendlier jugs but invisible footholds, and still more had sneering crimps and finger-breaking dead points. All, however, are of the Font pedigree, in which each problem is respected for its own specific personality and style, and not to be judged solely by the difficulty rating.

I can't remember many of the specific problems I attempted or topped, partly due to my, err, 24 hour memory but mostly because that's just me and not remembering problems happens a lot. What I do remember is that many boulders were too wet (some actually ponded or puddled) and some were too dangerous, like there was another rock near or at the landing zone. What limited us even more in our choice of problems was the difficulty. Noob as we are and ill-conditioned too, there were a lot of routes we simply didn't bother attempting. Font grading ranged from 2 to 8, we kept to the 3s and a few 4s. Which is about V2 to V4. NOOB. MUST TRAIN. ARGHHH.

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One of my few flashes, probably a 3c in La Roche.

What I didn't really like was that outdoor bouldering basically always involves a top out, in which you actually climb to the top of the boulder, which involves mantling and probably a heel hook, almost every time. Why should I have to do that all the time. Huh. But what's worse is the coming down. Scared of heights as I am, finding the best and safest way down usually takes me twice as long as for everyone else haha.

Another thing I realise I don't like about outdoor climbing is that everything gets dirty. Next time I climb outdoors I'm going to bring hotel slippers so I can walk around without taking off my shoes and without getting them too dirty either. The dirtier and wetter the shoes, the more difficult to climb (and heart-pain too. Oh, my pearls.) Also when outdoor climbing you're susceptible to the vagaries of the weather so you don't get to climb crazy hard the entire day like at camp 5 haha.

Although I couldn't do a lot of the routes, I think I had a lot of fun. And my footwork may have improved, due to the famously small and poor footholds. Got to trust those footholds and stick! And quite possibly I feel a bit more inspired to go out and climb now, where before climbing in Nordwandhalle was like meh. Got to try the harder routes, and not push myself so much so as to get really pumped all the time. I should work on technique and certain moves rather than strength all the time.

I also now definitely want to go climb outdoor somewhere again. Font, yes, that place with which I have unfinished business. But others too, and in better weather! South Africa anyone? : )

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Farewell to the forest

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The deadpoint I couldn't do. 95.2, route 34, 4c. Start two hands on left, single finger-section crack, right foot on small but nice ledge thing. Lock off on left and reach for crack crimp side pull with right, cross-step into rubber-marked foothold, very careful and controlled. Deadpoint with right hand for quite nice single-section crimp? To stick, must have a really strong right hand to take the momentum away from the wall. Otherwise, attempt to match feet on first foothold first, then step right foot over for better balance, but it's not much better.

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95.2, route 22, 3c This one was a second attempt top for me. Involved a really fun left hand cross over. Worked my way to right hand in the big undercling/sidepull, left hand on the jug. On my first attempt I tried to use the slopers but they're really bad. So later, with right foot on the good ledge below the big hole (and not heeling in the hole, that's too far in for balance) I reached up with my left hand into a really good stretch for the jug right on top. Shiok. This route was fun. Credit to wj for the beta! Haha.

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Unmarked but heavily chalked overhang, looks really really fun. But the chalk was wet and slimy, did not want to hold that. Unfortunately. Sigh.

Posted by seaskimmer 15:54 Archived in France Tagged rain paris france forest climb outdoor Comments (0)

Fo(u)ntaine-bleau: Transpired events

rain rain go away?

rain 10 °C

Excited! Good sandwiches. Weird sleep. Good conversation. Cool girl. Excited to re-meet people. Unsure about similarity of past and present. Pleasant and not-so pleasant re-meeting.

Excited to climb and see boulders. Depressed about cold and rain. Many frustrated attempts. Triumphant first top. Proud first flash. Annoyed about noobness. Unsure. Annoyed. Unsure about validity of annoyance. Musing on group dynamics. Tired. Hungry. Wet. Cold. Unsatisfied. Full. Good food. Food production line. Future trip discussion. Trepidation about new group dynamics. Sad about departures. Peacekeeping. Mirror lake. Sunset. Awkward silence. Early mornings. Better weather. Better climbing. Failed dead point. Successful traverse. Hug for last boulder. Farewell forest. Mad cleaning showering packing rush. Bad directions. Awkward farewells.

Early for train. Ben hur. 6 women. 2 Danes, 2 French, 1 German, 1 Singaporean. 2 pairs of mothers and daughters. 2 lone travellers. 1 passed ticket inspection. Window-watching. Carrefour discount pain au chocolate. Ben-Hur again. Early night at ten. Late morning at 8.10. Rushed out of train at 8.15. Hope nothing forgotten. Home again.

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with German girl K and other guy in our cabin. He was on the way for a Northern Spain road trip by himself : ) I want to do that too!

Well! The long awaited trip to the mecca of bouldering arrived, with plenty of rain to boot.

The overnight city night line round trip tickets were the first tickets I bought after my round trip from Singapore to Frankfurt. So obviously I was pretty excited about it. I'd gathered all the nus climbers on exchange in Europe to go on this trip together, that's yz, yk and p. Wj, yz's friend, an mir guy joined us too. After planning stuff over fb chat, the car and accom etc was settled and all that was left was to hop on the train. After a 3 month wait, away to Paris I went!

Met p in gare d'lest, then we went over to wagram to meet yz and wj for our awesome one Michelin star lunch hehehehe. We ordered the L'agape cheapest set lunch for 39 eur per person, with a glass of wine (12) and P and I shared the cheese platter at the end (19/2). The whole meal was so good and high class haha. Everything cooked to perfection, tons of appetisers, the pork so tender and juicy, the imaginative rosemary ice cream THE BOMB. And lovely sabayon, just amazing. Free flow of good bread and butter. Mmm. And the cheese was lika whoo whoo. Most expensive meal I will ever pay for on exchange, probably the best too. Very nice restaurant, they had the Japanese toilet and spiced handsoap, not to mention actual fabric towels to dry your hands with.

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yz caught unaware at the restaurant

Got the car, got groceries, had pizza dinner, picked yk up, drove to font! Settled in for the night, I almost worried about sleeping arrangements but in the end pulled out the spare mattress for the bed of my own lol. Packed sandwiches with tomato, lettuce, ham, with sautéed mushrooms coming in the morning.

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random leaf insect in the house. It occupied a dining chair for the entire evening.

Saturday morning arrived at 6am. It was a relatively long breakfast. Lots of toast with one of the following spreads: butter, Nutella, crunchy ovaltine alternative, mousse de canard. Also on the menu were soft boiled eggs, initially meant to be hard boiled but lucky for me the time was underestimated haha.

Out then into the cold, we drove around, got a bit lost here and there despite gps (French roads are not very good. Furthermore the places we wanted to get to were merely green spaces on the map, no paths included), and by the time we got to Gorges d'Apremont it was maybe about eleven?

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night shade? Flowers along the wrong way to La Roche, but the right way to Saint Jerome which we went to on the last day.

It was raining and all the holds were wet and basically nothing really could be done. So we returned to our bnb to eat our packed lunches haha. Out to Carrefour where we bought bread, and then cheese and butter and mousse to bring back to our respective places haha. Drove out at 3 maybe to rekky La Roche aux Sabots, the desert area. From 3 to 7 was a drier period, but the rocks would still be too wet to really climb. Thus we tramped around looking at the problems, more excited for the next day.

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p can sleep anywhere, anytime

Back to bnb to cook dinner. P and wj are pretty much amazing cooks so yz and I admitted to noobery and did manual labour haha. While they cooked, we helped to pack sandwiches for Saturday's lunch. That involved washing lettuce and cutting mushrooms and tomatoes, and buttering the bread. Compared to p and wj, who made the carbonara and baked chicken respectively. Dinner was great, I was super full because we wanted to finish the packet of Ja! pasta. We also had a bottle of Borsdeaux that the owners bought for us! That was nice. And after we washed up and showered I got out the cheap port I bought at Carrefour haha. I love port. Then sleep.

Sunday we attempted to get out a little earlier. It was a cold cold morning of maybe 7 degrees. I was wearing the clothes I'd intended to wear only for the train rides (tank and long sleeve) below my rockmaster top. And my windbreaker over that, but the rockmaster top was off once I began to climb. And wearing both my adidas tights and my long grimpe climbing pants! We were out til about 1 or 2 when it really started to rain, so we just left. We went back out to the town to look for postcards and find a boulangerie or patisserie. I had a Grand Marnier Crepe : ) Then we went back so yz and p could pack and stuff while wj, yk and I cooked a very early dinner of pesto spaghetti and sauteed pork.

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Thus had dinner at 5 plus, then we sent yz and p to the train station to catch their respective trains out of Paris. Both had to leave Font a day early due to school stuff (Monday exam, and unmissable Monday class). After that yk and I just used the wifi til before sunset, and wj took a nap. Then at 8.30 we drove out to catch the sunset at the Chateau gardens. In the end not much of a sunset could be seen, but the sky was very pretty and I saw a weird frog in the water. Slept v early that night (okay, 10pm).

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We rose at 5am on Monday, cooked onion omelette and sauteed the mushrooms for lunch. Okay, it was mostly wj who cooked. But quick breakfast, and we were at 95.2 at a record time of 7am. Weather today was much better than previous days, although still capricious and given to change at a moment's notice. Drizzle, sun, and the occasional rain (rain in Europe is equivalent to drizzle in SG). I suppose the unpredictability of the weather was forecasted when every internet source gave a different forecast! But yeah, overall weather was good. Climbed til 12.15, when yes, I really did give the last boulder a hug. I'll miss Font : (

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Last boulder :"( Route 8, a 5a haha. Probably involved a crazy high step on left hole, with handholds at the same height, then pull for high handhold. wj almost finished it, but too tired.
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Farewell to the forest

Rushed to return the crashpads to the previously stoned Brit at the Gites (it was The House, free advertising now), then back to the bnb to clean the car and house and shower. The car was extremely dirty, if you can imagine the amount of stuff 5 people tramping through wet woods can bring in. I was vacuuming with the vacuum cleaner stretched from the powerpoint at the entrance of the door. Even shifted the car a few times so I could get the vacuum on both sides of the car, and the boot. After that we went off back to Paris to return the car by 5pm. Despite some poor directions, we got there early and none worse for the wear. Thankfully wj studies in France and has data (and thus google maps and gps).

Yup, said our goodbyes. I bought pain au chocolate (seems a staple to me now) for dinner and breakfast, and headed over to Gare d'lest to catch my 7.58 train. Again, I actually felt some withdrawal symptoms. Travelling with friends is so different from going to school here, just because I don’t have close friends here. Oh well that is travel. Switz is in 2 weeks, and Berlin/London/Scotland the week after. Then Munchen. Lol. Non-stop action from now.

OH AND LAST THING. Less related but not less awesome. So remember how my internet was supposed to be up on Friday? Well I got home, and checked with my laptop but it didn't work. Then checked with S's internet (hers worked). Was sad cos I still didn't have internet. But then went to school and downloaded a LAN driver and got home and VOILA internet is here! Best homecoming ever : ) okay not really but you know what I mean.

Posted by seaskimmer 14:58 Archived in France Tagged rain paris france forest climb outdoor Comments (0)

Yet another summary

I've been so busy, haven't had time to do any writing! This will be a summary of everything since then. Sorry I'm so lazy.

For reference, my normal school schedule (not including seminars) is Tuesday morning, wed morning, Thursday whole day with long break between, Friday possibly morning.

Summary of events:

14th Monday: Lüneburg
15th Tuesday: Cell!
16th Wednesday: uninspired climb session
17th Thursday: long day in school
18th Friday: Good Friday! Day in Lübeck

19th Saturday: day in Bremen, das Wetter war sehr schön. At S's place again that night for wifi and blankets for wh

20th Sunday: Resurrection Sunday service! Met cool guy who recommended the large park/small reserve at mittlerer landweg to cycle. Had a sehr schön afternoon stroll and read at Blankenese, met up with m and wh at the hbf. Accidental 7 eur Döner Teller dinner sigh.

21st Monday: Lüneburg again with m and wh haha. I brought them round as I did exactly a week ago, the difference was that m and wh were much more happy to sit and soak in the atmosphere. Sat at the top of the kalkberg for an hour or more, and later at a random cafe on schröderstraße for another few hours! It was a much nicer day than the week so many were out in the sun at the many cafes on that street. So nice to have long talks with friends! It's been a long time, since E and S in Ireland.

Went home, cooked nice dinner, then to T's place so m can have a long talk with him haha. Ended up leaving at 2 plus am Hahaha. Good times.

22nd Tuesday: woke up at 8 urghhh, earlier than usual so that I could get m and wh wifi in school! Also they don't have the transport pass so we walked to school, additional time there. Cool thing, eduroam. As long as you have an eduroam account you can use it in any school! C'est enorme.

Class, then went for lunch with them (poor people, they don't have cheap school food hehe) and then class again. Photo together and with t, then back home. Out to rewe to get sandwich material for their dinner in Amsterdam that evening, ostensibly also for m to buy a bunch of chocolates! Okay i bought a whole lot of rittersport you can't find in sg, with advice on which ones they were.

Back to pack and make sandwiches. Then I went with them to the hbf and saw them off to their train to the airport. Actually had one of those wave as they go off in the train moments. More on this later.

Back home again, I was just about sympathising with S since her bf just left at the same time (he'd stayed over a few days) but then suddenly he turned up again (we used the doorbell for the first time. That was exciting) because he missed his flight haha. So then I couldn't sympathise with her but ah well he's a cool guy.

23rd Wednesday: class then use wifi in school. I forgot to bring my credit card so I didn't buy anything but I did all the research for the buying. Off for another uninspiring climb, I need new tiles, new routes, and a new training routine, but mostly I think I need to set routes again. Haven't been doing that. Not enough tiles I think, but that's just an excuse. Headed back, cooked and ate dinner, talked with S some more. Went to the other S's place o return blankets and for wifi again so I could book various tickets, then back to pack a bit more.

24th Thursday: we've reached today! Hurrah. Woke up and rushed to school for morning class. In the end it was cancelled, I don't even know when the announcement was made, I checked studIp so many times. Went back early, packed, called parents, cooked lunch, made awesome sandwiches for dinner.

On the sandwiches: lettuce, tomato, red pepper, buttered bread, ham. And then this patty, or attempted patty. Should have learned from the previous day that one egg is not enough to glue together a whole chunk of minced pork. Nonetheless I tried it again. And failed. Then bright idea to used melted cheese, it worked somewhat! Cooled the meat down completely at room temperature and then in the fridge, then it was ready to be out together. 3 of those sandwiches and then 2 Nutella and ham sandwiches for breakfast. Seriously it's good, the salty and the sweet together. Mmmm.

Yesterday night I actually realised that I'd bought my ticket using D's credit card! Scared, and sent emails to deutsche Bahn. Because when you buy the ticket they say it's important to have the same credit card, and also I did get checked for the credit card on my first CNL (city night line) train. But today's train was the first train I actually bought so I didn't really know yet I guess. Today I printed out some details so that I can try to prove that I didn't steal the credit card or something. Was praying so hard haha. Thank God, they didn't check. Hopefully the one back home also won't (is Hamburg home now?)

Just met and talked to this cool German girl, K, for a few hours, she speaks English but I told her I wanted to practice German. She was very patient with me and really helped me a lot! Honestly I hardly speak any German in Hamburg cos everyone is so international. But anyway looks like I managed to get info and company for Lüneburger Heide! Yay! Fantastic. I've been wanting to go for a while now, just not enough info.

Old friends
Okay, and now some thoughts. As m and wh and I were having dinner on Monday, I commented on how a year ago I couldn't have seen us doing this. Having a home cooked dinner, us three together, in my dorm in Germany. How strange it is that we should be thrown together like that. Or rather they, cos they're in the same uni otherwise they'd never hang out together.

It was so nice to have friends to talk to again! I mean, I've made lots of new friends (okay maybe acquaintances) which is cool and fun and interesting, but it was so comfortable to talk to people I've known for a few years. It's the same as travelling for a long time and then returning home.

I was honestly really sad that they left. It's like I'd gotten used to not having old friends around, then suddenly they come and I remember what it's like and then I can't bear to have them go again! Like picking at the scab of an old wound, except not so serious and not so dramatic haha. But it's okay, I mean I'm on the way to meet old climbing friends. And I might travel with wh and m and L to Munich!! Just nice that the dates I was looking at are exactly the dates that they've already booked. That's thanks to the efficiency of L haha.

Connectivity Update
So. Agree several falsely, cruely raised hopes, I think I've finally got internet! S and I both sent another complaint letter to Baade haha. But it turns out that we've had a internet form sitting in our mail boxes for a few days now. Just that we both still haven't gotten our Post Schlüssels which is why we haven't seen it. But according to others in the dorm. Pulled out the form from the hole, signed it without reading (all in German. But I saw the word internet repeated many times) and passed it to A to help us submit.

Sooooo Internet should be here tomorrow! Of course I won't be there to see it, and actually neither will S, so now I have an incentive to return to Hamburg after this awesome Fontainebleau trip hahahahha. It's like Christmas, it's gonna be great, I can't wait to have wifi in my own room! Maybe you guys with 24h access to unlimited internet will think I'm like enslaved to it or something, but I've lived without it for enough time to appreciate it. Honestly I'm so excited. Hehehehe :)

Alright, it's 1230am and I'm halfway between Göttingen and Frankfurt now. Time to sleep, not because I need to get up early (930 eta) but because I'm simply tired and haven't had much rest lately.

Hope that this weekend will be crazy fun, that Fontainebleau will live up to expectations but not be too hard. And also that when I get back I'll actually feel like studying cos I really need to!! Furthermore pray that my mapping will go well and that Cecilia will give me what I want! Cos I really don't want to take air pollution, it feels like ese3201 again and it's on friday. I've planned too many things on Friday already.

Ciao.

PS I really should get my photos of everything up on fb. And look at my Lübeck and Bremen photos so I can actually remember what I did there. Promise to get a 'review' of each up.

Posted by seaskimmer 15:42 Archived in Germany Tagged germany hamburg daytrip summary Comments (0)

Good news!

I wanted to begin by saying that I now have Internet in my room!!!

But no it was a false alarm, the physical side is done now it's just the online issues that my privatbau has to deal with.

Obviously there's other good news! Because it's Good Friday : ) went to Lübeck today, will post about it another time. But I'm having these few quiet hours to myself to pray and spend time with God. : )

Tomorrow is Bremen, the rest will be going to kiel on Sunday :/ I'll be meeting m and wh and going for the first part of the Hamburg tour, then resurrection Sunday service!!! And then continue the day with them.

Alright! Will leave with just a reminder (maybe more for myself) that God is the author as well as the perfecter or our/my faith! Praise to Him who made all things possible through Jesus.

Posted by seaskimmer 14:21 Tagged goodfriday! Comments (0)

Worth its Salt

semi-overcast 8 °C

Today was Lueneburg day! [edit: that was Monday, today is now Thursday]

The day dawned bright and fair. No, just kidding, it was raining when I woke up and I checked the weather forecast: rain. Oops haha. Was partially afraid the others would be too lazy to go but in the end everyone who said they'd come came.

Met at HBF, took the 1100 ME to Lueneburg Station. Only half an hour! Yay.

Geography
Lueneburg became a major city because of its salt mining industry. It sits atop a huge salt deposit deep underground. This particular deposit has a surface of about 1sqkm, centered around the Kalkberg (Limestone hill). The deposit begins 40m into the ground and continues for at least another 4km. In fact, salt deposits can be found all over the world, but with one of the highest concentrations in Germany. They form in sea basins, in which seawater can flow in but only some can flow out through a narrow channel. Over time, the water in the basin gets more saline due to evaporation (and constant saltwater inflow). A deposit of different layers forms, with different levels of solubility:
1. Limestone (not very soluble)
2. Gypsum/anhydrite
3. Rock salt
4. Potassium nitrate (very soluble)
Tectonic movement leads to the uprising of a small hill and the sea basin becomes completely separated from the sea. It dries out, sediment is deposited, and a subterranean salt dome has built up. In Lueneburg's case, it's the Kalkberg.

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Salt deposits in Europe

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Different kinds of anhydrite

History
Lueneburg had already been inhabited since before the 900s, and saltwork had also already commenced. However, it was only until 1189 that the city was given town privileges, and in 1158 became part of the Hanseatic League (a northern German trade group; a powerful economic and defensive alliance). Lueneburg monopolised the lucrative salt production industry for many years. At that time salt was primarily used to pickle herring from the Baltic sea for Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Lueneburg became one of the most important cities in the region.

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salt trade

The downfall of Lueneburg can be attributed to a few events. The Hanseatic League ended sometime in the 17th century, and there was an absence of herring around 1560. Finally, refined salt was invented, a much cheaper alternative, which worked by drying seawater. As a result, Lueneburg lost much of its wealth and business and slowly spiraled into mediocrity.

The city center has remained largely the same since then, because hardly any new houses were built there from then onwards. This is a vast difference from much of Germany, partly because it did not suffer any damage during the wars, or from other disasters like the Great Fire in Hamburg. Lueneburg has been slowly restored since the 1970s, while the salt mine officially closed in 1980. Today, Lueneburg has a population of over 70,000 (not bad) and has a university and an industrial estate, not to mention quite a good tourism industry.

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Seems like typical Lueneburg architecture has a lot of red brick, with black or green patterns

Lueneburg can be remembered as the place the Reichfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler committed suicide in before he could be interrogated in 1945. Furthermore, it was also where the esteemed J. S. Bach grew up.

[admission: much of this was taken off wikitravel, which I used to research for Lueneburg before I left. It was a really really interesting read.]

Summary of Events
I'd planned out a rough walking tour of the city, hitting places of major interest. I was like the tour guide, haha, leading everyone around and giving brief descriptions of each place.

1. St Johanniskirche
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2. Am Sande (the main square)
3. The Rathaus am Sande (with porcelain bells!)
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4. Marktplatz (the market place square)
5. Old fishmarket (am Stintmarkt, but was nowhere to be seen)
6. Alter Kran (old black crane at the historical harbour)
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7. Hospital zum Roten Hahn
8. German Salt Museum

Most of these places was just a quick explanation and photo then continue walking. Just my style.

Lunch was after the Rathaus, 6.90 for buffet haha. Ate 2 full plates plus dessert to attempt to make it worth it. Felt like splurging a little after so much home cooked food!

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No one else wanted to pay 4 eur for the Salt Museum (the guys just kept complaining that the Brewery Museum was closed on Mondays) so I went in myself, excited to learn more about the industry that put Lueneburg on the map. I was given a folder of English text to read; basically English translations of all the German text up on the walls. The museum was interesting enough. It went over some basic scientific and geological principles of salt, explained the significance of salt in human history and culture, and also the history and process of salt mining in Lueneburg. Lots of maps nd infographs everywhere, and later lots of scary mannequins haha.

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Shall not bore you with too much of the details, so here's just one cool thing: at some point in time, the owner of the salt mine decided to mechanise the process of bringing up brine from the well. He made a hydraulic water wheel at the Elbe, then converted the round-and-round motion at the river into a back-and-forth motion system that spanned like 2km or something. Basically very far, considering that everything was still made out of wood and was pretty crude. Many people at the well itself lost their jobs, but men were now required to work day and night making sure the wooden system was always working. It was highly prone to failure (sick 8 days, working 1 day) and made a huge racket that could be heard quite a distance away. This story has no point to it, I just thought it was interesting to see the beginning of the mechanical age.

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Literally, Lueneburg is the salt in the soup, but as a phrase it means that Lueneburg is that extra something, the oomph haha.

I was done, and realised that the rest had gone shopping! So I told them I’d meet them at the Kalkberg (hurrah to data), and proceeded to wander around the Sendungsbiet (literally sunken region), which is an area that has sunk pretty badly over the years primarily due to the salt mining. Lots of buildings are clearly bulging or not straight. I went over to St Michaelis, the church of young Johann Bach, and attempted to get in but I didn't really see any open doors into the church lol. No matter, I'm not like his hugest fan. And at that time it had begun to rain (again) so I put up the hood of my (lovely lovely) goretex jacket. The wind was crazy strong and freezing, I could hear it rushing overhead, and the grass was rippling rather violently. Kind of funny because the wind pushed me towards the gate and out of the church, like it didn't want me hanging around! But as soon as it started, it was over, as temperamental as it had been the whole day.

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St Michaelis

This time I went up to Kalkberg, which was a wonderful green area probably frequented by joggers on better days. Went up a few paths I knew wouldn't lead me to the top because it looked pretty with the sun shining on it, but eventually climbed up the full 20m (est) to the top. Not very high, but still afforded a pleasant view of the town. About 10 minutes later, the 4 of them arrived and we began the customary phototaking session.

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Green sign says 'vorsicht einsturzgefahr' (danger of collapse), I be like, is that climbable?
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Back down to the town, went to the chocolate museum (it wasn't a museum, it was just a shop) where Y and I bought chocolates! By that time it was about 6 plus and it had begun to be really cold. Made a 1min side track to the Wasserturm (water tower) en route to the bahnhof, but it was closed already so we couldn't go up.

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On the train back, I saw interesting cloud formations from the window. Vertically striped clouds?? Took a photo over the random guy sitting on the window seat lol and then when looking at the photo realised there was a rainbow! (For some reason it's not turning up very well in this photo)

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T and I got off at Harburg and bought some groceries at Lidl. It was 8pm and really freezing then, 6 degrees with unrelenting wind. I was glad to get back to my room. Marinated my chicken and stuffed it into the freezer, baked my salmon and potato. While baking, I ate cold leftover mashed potato (it was in a plastic cup and I couldn't be bothered to transfer it to something microwaveable) and cleaned the kitchen and my room.

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People are moving in tomorrow! The apartment will be full. So I wanted to arrange everything in a safe and orderly fashion. Tomorrow maybe I will see about getting people to share the cost of the kitchen equipment. Hurrah to people in the house!

I also met K, a Thai guy living opposite. I thought he was Korean lol. He was nice enough to get my rubbish bin from my landlord, keep it for me, and put a post it on my apartment door telling me about it. (I didn't know we got rubbish bins. K only found out because another guy asked the landlord about it) He was in ACSI, then ACJC, did 2 weeks of double degree Chem Eng/Biz in NUS then dropped out to study in Hamburg. So he's been here for quite a while. Same year as my bro in ACSI, but hadn't heard of him. Sounds like a long conversation but really it was only 5 min and the entire conversation has been transcripted haha.

Alright! I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow (Tuesday, this will probably be posted on Tuesday in school so that's today I guess haha) so I'm going to sleep!

Posted by seaskimmer 04:12 Archived in Germany Tagged germany daytrip lueneburg Comments (0)

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