The German & Austrian section held its annual fly in weekend in the north German city of Lübeck, a delightfully pretty and bustling city that was known as “Queen of the Hanseatic League” for 500 years. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987.
A great gathering with members from the Benelux, Scandinavian, Swiss and UK sections joining our German hosts -over 40 of us in total. From the UK, Tony and Rosi Flinn (the only UK participants to fly into Luebeck Blankensee airport themselves) probably took the prize for the longest journey, coming from Sandtoft, Lincolnshire (EGCF) via Midden Zeeland (EHMZ) with a total flying time of about 6 hours for the 600 miles.
The weekend began with a gathering at Lübeck Blankensee airport (EDHL) on Friday 7 July and an excellent barbecue lunch. The airport having had an eventful history including as a base for the Berlin Airlift.
After heading into the city to our hotel, we had a fascinating guided tour of the old town (Altstadt). The English speaking
group were guided by Dutchman Jan, a Lübeck resident, and engineer with a comprehensive knowledge of architecture, engineering and history- valuable knowledge for such a diverse city brimming with medieval and renaissance architecture.
Dinner that evening was in the Schabbelhaus zu Lübeck.
Saturday saw us on a boat trip down the Trave river from Lübeck to the Baltic resort of Travemünde where we experienced the delights of a popular beach resort in glorious sunshine with 30+ deg C. temperatures. The brave (or foolhardy) swam in the Baltic Sea. The rest of us enjoyed the waterfront, the beach, the shops, cafes and restaurants offering “fish sandwiches”, the delicious local delicacy. Ice-creams finished, we cruised back to Lübeck in the late afternoon sun.
The day was capped with our Gala Dinner in the Schiffergesellschaft restaurant- one of the oldest (if not the oldest) restaurants in the world. The Schiffergesellschaft is more than just a restaurant: it is the former guild hall which dates back to the beginnings of commercial seafaring and was originally obligatory for all skippers in the Hanseatic city. It advertises itself as offering “robust, homestyle German dishes & beers” and it did not disappoint. The most popular dinner choice was the Schnitzel – so massive that German IFFR President Fritz Breitenthaler remarked after “I thought we were having Cow Schnitzel – I didn’t realise we were having Elephant Schnitzel“. But they were indeed truly delicious and it was a great evening – thankfully short on speeches and long on fellowship.
Departure home was on Sunday after another excellent weekend, in fine and sunny weather. A little watching for thunderstorms en route, but otherwise an easy run home.
Special thanks to the German & Austrian section especially President Fritz Breitenthaler and Ingo Neufert – and to Tony Flinn for his write-up for IFFR UK on which this post is based!