This week I’m going back in time to 1995, the year we went to Wismar, Germany.
From the end of WWII until 1989, Wismar was behind the Iron Curtain, making travel there almost impossible. Even six years after the Berlin Wall had fallen, the rustic two lane road from Lubeck to Wismar catered more to donkey carts and tractors than cars and thus resulted in a frustrating three hour drive. Before the war, the towns along the southern Baltic were popular vacation destinations and the thought is evidently to revive them. However, in 1995 Germany still had a long way to go.
Aside from the lack of easy access, many of the coastal towns were heavily bombed by the Allies in 1945. Instead of rebuilding them, the Soviets simply moved the residents to cheaply-built, concrete-block apartments outside the city walls leaving their centers to sit in ruins for decades. When we were there construction cranes hung over the town as buildings that could not be renovated were destroyed.
Another challenge for Germany, the locals seemed to think making money off tourism was a tawdry business indeed. Certainly anyone caught speaking English on the streets was given the evil eye.
I believe this is St. Nicholas Cathedral but, because it was under repair, we couldn’t get near.
In case you’re wondering why we made a difficult journey to an obscure town on the Baltic, well, here goes: In 1663 (or around that time) a Swedish general conquered this important trade route and until 1717 it remained under Swedish rule. In return the general attained the noble title “Conqueror of Wismar.” According to a bit of family lore spawned by a Mormon missionary’s trip to the Swedish History Museum, my husband is one of his descendants. Didn’t know I was married to royalty, did you?
Check out other doors at Norm Frampton’s fun (and often challenging) #ThursdayDoors event.