If someone would have asked me to guess where I would spend my 30th birthday, I’m sure I would not have guessed Europe. Nope, not in a million years!
And yet here I am, able to spend the big 3-0 among friends and my family in a place that is full of adventure and intrigue (at least to me)! I am so blessed!
We left Hamburg with our friend Claudia, who drove us to Lübeck, a beautiful town on the North Coast of Germany…right on the Baltic Sea. In fact, it is the largest German port on the Baltic sea.
We went to go stay with Claudia’s sister, Andrea, who I had never met before. Andrea and her husband have 2 beautiful boys, and let me tell you…they were amaaaaazing hosts! Is this typical German hospitality? Or are they just exceptionally gracious hosts? Maybe both? I don’t know! But they put me to shame…and inspire me to want to be a better host to friends in the future.
For starters, I woke up on my birthday and found the breakfast table set like this.
Did you see that chocolate? And those brownies for my birthday breakfast?
CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST?!!
A typical German breakfast, I’m told.
YUP!!! A typical German breakfast will include fresh bread rolls, meats, cheese, and yes…chocolate. We had this lovely spread every morning for the 5 nights we stayed here!
Claudia & Andrea gave me a Germany picture guidebook, since they discovered I had no guidebook whatsoever for our trip here!
After breakfast we went out into the yard and watched the kids play on the swing-set.
But wait…I started feeling nauseated and sick to my stomach…and made a quick dash to the bathroom to throw up.
UGH! Was it the chocolate for breakfast? No…I had been feeling a little yucky all night…
I was not feeling too hot…but at least I felt/hoped that the worst of it was over…now that whatever that was, was out of my system!
I determined to make the best of the day, so we headed out to the beach in Lübeck for a day in the sun! This area is called Travemunde, and is right on the mouth of the Trave river which empties into the Baltic.
First, we walked the little streets of the nearby shopping district.
Well, some of us danced through the streets…
These are what menus look like in Germany. I feel a little over-my-head with all of this German…
Andrea treated us all to ice cream at Niederegger, a local (but well-known over all of Germany) chocolate company that is famous for its chocolate-covered marzipan. Have you ever tried marzipan before? It is basically a sweetened almond paste. I stuck with something I knew I’d like…lemon ice cream (I know, I know…I’m still stuck with some of my taste buds I developed in Mexico…although it would have been lime ice cream there!).
We made the seemingly-small trek from the shopping street to the beach, which would normally be fast…but with 5 kids in tow (Andrea has 2), it was very slow-going. But you can’t blame us, with views like this…
Something cool must have happened here in 1837! :-)
Do you know what those are? Jellyfish fill the bay, but they don’t have stinging tentacles, so you can touch them without fear.
The red ones, however, DO sting. We were warned NOT to touch those! Apparently these jellyfish swim up the river from the Baltic, and somehow get stuck in the bay (now I can’t remember…was it the lack of salt water? Or the water was too warm? Why are they stuck there?!).
One thing is for sure…the ducks like to eat jellyfish. Who knew?
And my kids like to eat ice cream! Can you tell?
Those ducks provided a LOT of entertainment for our slow-moving group!
We finally reached our destination…the beach!
Can you believe this awesome public sitting area on the beach?!
Ella dug in…
I loved seeing the German beach baskets that they use for sitting–otherwise known as a strandkorb.
They were designed in the late 1800′s, and still are alive and well on German beaches! You pay to rent this little bit of comfort with arm and footrests, and then have protection from the sun and wind, and you have a sand-less place to park your bum. They even lock up, if you’re going for a swim. The odd thing? All of the seats were facing away from the beach…
Oh, and speaking of that beach…forget the water…it was probably nice…
…but what did WE do?! We enjoyed the playground!!
Is that not an awesome playground right on the Baltic Sea?! Complete with a shipwreck!
All in all, besides having awesome company to visit with, I think Lübeck is a fantastic place to visit on your journey around Germany. And if you are traveling with kids, I can’t recommend this playground enough! We spent hours here, sprawled in the shaded area while eating fresh raspberries, while the kids had a ball on the sands of the Baltic Sea!
Also, I can’t imagine a better way to have spent my 30th Birthday!