Treasure Hunt in Lübeck, Northern Germany

Have you ever heard about the city of Lübeck? It's a picturesque small town in northern Germany listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, home of the German author Thomas Mann and many of my childhood memories. My aunt and uncle have lived there most of their lives and I try to fly back to visit them, as well as other relatives, once a year. Much of the old town has kept a medieval appearance with old buildings and narrow streets, which adds another layer of German Gemütlichkeit.

After 12 years in the US, going back to Germany always makes me think and wonder about where I came from, who I am now, and how to define home. With my German accent and taste I will never be a true American, but due to the many years in other countries I am also no longer a real German. And so every trip is a little bit like homecoming while at the same time I feel I discover an unknown universe. 

Part of the unknown universe this year was an afternoon at the Schatz Café (Treasure Coffee Store). When my aunt suggested to go out for coffee and cake, I had no expectations. The place is hidden in a quiet neigborhood and only open two days a week. They are famous for their homemade cakes that often sell out within two hours after opening. 

 

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But let me tell you, there is so much more to this place than their truly delicious cake. The moment you enter the courtyard from the street, you have just crossed into another world. What awaits you is an incredible collection of gorgeous, yet strange impressions, antiques, friendliness, and all things belonging to the past. 

 One of the many cozy corners that make you want to hang out a little longer and order another cup of coffee while dreaming and time traveling. 

One of the many cozy corners that make you want to hang out a little longer and order another cup of coffee while dreaming and time traveling. 

 Looking up into a world of all things music.

Looking up into a world of all things music.

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After looking around for what felt like hours I needed to find out who created this magical space. And so I was introduced to Imke, who, together with her husband Jan, first rented and later bought the property. Over the last years they turned it into a world of their own. 

 Imke Dürken, a master of many trades, soul and owner of the café is also working in the back of the place as a carpenter. 

Imke Dürken, a master of many trades, soul and owner of the café is also working in the back of the place as a carpenter. 

 A look into her kitchen where coffee and cake are prepared for customers

A look into her kitchen where coffee and cake are prepared for customers

 A little touch of color that adds to the overall feel of being welcome is found everywhere

A little touch of color that adds to the overall feel of being welcome is found everywhere

 Past and present in multiple frames

Past and present in multiple frames

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 Reserved emergency seating for Hubertus. Who is Hubertus? I did not meet him, but sure loved the sign. Maybe next time...

Reserved emergency seating for Hubertus. Who is Hubertus? I did not meet him, but sure loved the sign. Maybe next time...

 And who is this moose? 

And who is this moose? 

To help digest the cake I went outside where Jan's universe, the Schatzkammer - in many ways also the other half of Imke's world - waited for me to be explored. 

 Jan and his Schatzkammer is a great resource for anything related to the past. From antique dolls to random knick-knacks, you can literally spend hours in his kingdom of forgotten treasures. 

Jan and his Schatzkammer is a great resource for anything related to the past. From antique dolls to random knick-knacks, you can literally spend hours in his kingdom of forgotten treasures. 

 Big red barn doors welcoming you into the Schatzkammer (House of Treasures)

Big red barn doors welcoming you into the Schatzkammer (House of Treasures)

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 Collection of signs from all over the world

Collection of signs from all over the world

 Everything you see is for sale; even the bike hanging from the ceiling. 

Everything you see is for sale; even the bike hanging from the ceiling. 

 If only this bear could tell his story. 

If only this bear could tell his story. 

 Once loved. 

Once loved. 

 These guys are ready to report for work!

These guys are ready to report for work!

Thinking about why I felt so at home at this place of random connections, I realized that it looks a lot how I feel: a good mixture of cultures, decades, and colors. Welcoming in its strangeness, and at the same time a little odd in a world of order and rules. I think this sums up how it feels to come back home once a year and realizing it no longer is home, but still a place where I feel very comfortable. 

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Thank you Imke and Jan for a wonderful afternoon. I hope to come back one day and enjoy more of your art of welcoming strangers and all things odd!

So long, Germany, it's time for me to go. Leaving the old and known behind, returning to  my home far away from home. 

 

This blog post is part of the blog circle I joined in January. We are a group of Lensbaby enthusiasts from all around the world. Each month we share a blog post of Lensbaby images. Every blog in the circle will end with a link to the next member. I hope you enjoyed reading about my Lübeck adventure with the Lensbaby Burnside 35. Please continue your journey and head over to Keri's blog "Walking with the Burnside" at Keri's photo adventures. Thanks for reading and see you soon again with more stories from my upcoming trip to the Turks and Caicos!