Thursday, September 24, 2015

Warder am See to Kiel to Schleswig, Wednesday, 23 September

It was a bit foggy this morning as we boarded our coach for Kiel. The coach was loaded on time and we were off the drive was shorter than anticipated and we arrived by 10:05. Martin, our guide was to meet us closer to 10:30 so a number of people got off the coach to explore the Mittwoch Markt.

With Martin on board, he outlined the day's itinerary and a brief history of Kiel and the surrounding areas. Kiel can trace its history to 1233 and Count Adolph IV of Schauenburg who had a settlement created at the tip of the peninsula called Hollenstadt tom Kyle, which means Keil wedge. This aptly describes how the firth protrudes into the sea.

Kiel was also a member of the Hanseatic League, but that did not assure its prosperity as other members of the league. In 1865 Kiel became part of Prussia when the Danish had to surrender the land. In 1871 Wilhelm declared Kiel a naval port and three shipyards were constructed in the port. Over the time period Kiel's population increased from 20, 000 to 225,000. After WWI and the Treaty of Versaille, Germany was not permitted arms and Kiel lost its reason for being. In 1933 rearmament was reinstated and Kiel underwent a resurgence. In 1936 Kiel was the site of the Olympic rowing competition. During WWII virtually all of Kiel was destroyed by the Allies' bombers. There were 622 air raids on Kiel. Its proximity to England and the shis that were being built there made it a prime target. In 1947 Kiel was named the capital of Schleswig-holstein and the city is now flourishing as a shipyard and deep sea water port.

Our first stop was the harbor where Martin explained all that was happening. We saw a non-magnetic steel submarine under construction, the largest ferry in Europe, and a sailing ship, the Hanse Kogge that dates back to the 15th century.

Out in the sea was the largest sail boat in the world that is being tested. It was commissioned by a Russian millionaire and is being built by the United Arab Emirates shipbuilding company.

From the harbor we proceeded to the naval quarter of the city. The buildings that had been used as a part of the naval training area have now been turned into administrative offices for the government. Also in the navy quarter is St. Peters church, the largest in Kiel, that seats 1000 people.

We crossed over the canal bridge and saw the longest lock system in Europe.

From there it was on to the light house at Holtenau, erected by Wilhelm II. It is an imposing structure that watches over the harbor. Above the door is a bronze casting of two mermaids representing the Atlantic Ocean on the left and the Baltic Sea on the right. The iron work on the door represents the empire. As oaks it is strong, destined to last 100 years and has radiating roots.

From there it was on to Laboe, the site of the Navy Memorial. First we stopped at the German U995 boat where Martin detailed how poorly it was designed and that 840 such boats were lost in WW II. This boat was use in the movie Das Boot.

The memorial was completed in 1936 to commemorate the sailors who died in WWI. It is representative of a flame touching the heavens from the earth. Inside are three dedications and The Hall of Commemoration.

We also were able to go up to the viewing platform at the top of the tower for a panoramic view of the harbor before we had lunch. Fish, roast beef, or cheese sandwiches awaited us at the Heimathafen Restaurant.

We said goodbye to Martin back in Kiel and then headed to Schleswig, where we arrive around 4:45. We had a brief tour, guided by the director of the Shanty Choral Group, around the small city. The Schloß Gottorf was an impressive structure that is now being used as a museum.

Former home of WW II soldiers have now been converted into civian residences.

Then it was on to the Hotel Hohenzollern where we would meet the Shanty Chor and have some liquid refreshment. After conversation and dinner (asparagus soup, fish or pork, tasty fresh green beans, boiled potatoes, and tapioca with a berry compote) the singing began.

The Shanty Choir was so full of energy, good songs, and lively voices. the sang a number of songs in English, including Anchors Aweigh.

Then it was Teutonia's turn.

The directors exchanged gifts and remarks about what a fun evening it was.

It was a most fun evening and a long late coach ride to the hotel.

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