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  • Writer's picturePeter Antonucci

Kiel, Germany

Tuesday | May 31, 2016

My day began with a visit from a professional carpet stain remover, who was brought in all the way from Hamburg to address the large and unsightly orange tea stain in the carpet in my living room. He immediately reported that the stain could not be removed because it had set deeply into the natural fiber and the entire carpet had to be replaced. He was unable to speak any English at all and, as a result, the housekeeping assistant supervisor who was there was unable to understand when the man explained that had the stain been properly addressed when it first happened, the carpet may have been salvageable. As it is, the person who stayed in our apartment will be responsible for a $1,500 deductible, and the ship will be making a claim with our insurer, Marsh, to recover $52,000 for us to replace the carpet in two rooms. Ugh, just like land-based problems, only a lot more expensive at sea.

Finally, it was time for us to go out and about in the city. Kiel is the capital of Germany’s northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein, and as such, is the jumping off point for the eponymous canal linking the Baltic with the North Sea. Kiel retains very little of its medieval origins thanks to heavy damage during World War II; the entire town was rebuilt after the war. Because of its unique location on the Baltic Sea, and it’s characteristic as a major shipbuilding city in Germany, the Allied forces inflicted heavy damage on Kiel during the war.

Today, Kiel retains its identity as primarily a shipping town. Interestingly, we learned that it has several malls, each posting more than 100 stores, and that prices and tariffs here are so low that massive ferries come from various Scandinavian venues carrying shoppers with their wheeled suitcases to be filled during their shopping expeditions before traveling back home the same evening.

We began the day with a long walk along the waterfront. Interestingly, the first section we came to in the city appeared to be a red light district.

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Notwithstanding the protestations of a single lothario in our group, no one else in the group wanted to linger there.

I found it both interesting and practical these little replica fruit baskets that are resident on top of posts throughout the city.


It appears apparent, at least to me, that they have been placed where they are in order to prevent people from sitting on these posts while having a smoke or cup of coffee.

And what did the citizens of Kiel look like, you might ask? First, one would observe a higher proportion of smokers in Germany than anywhere we have seen in the world– even in Asian or South American countries. Second, no matter how long we sat there – or how long we sat outside having lunch – and watched hundreds of people walk by, we saw no one who was remotely attractive. The population of Kiel seems generally overweight and not terribly concerned with the way they look. Short hair remains the fashion among German women, and it is not very becoming. Interestingly, one of the things I did observe was a fascinating collection of eyeglasses. Even in New York, I have never seen so many interesting glasses; this gentleman (one of the more attractive people we saw) presents one such example.


For lunch, we settled upon the Kieler Brauerei, but only because we saw friends sitting outside and they told us the food was quite good. We had no idea this was the second highest recommended restaurant on the concierge’s list of places to go. The restaurant featured delicious Northern German food and a fun, casual brewery cellar atmosphere where beer is carefully incorporated into many of the plates. We sat outside, across the sidewalk from the main entrance. From our vantage point, we were able to see several groups of residents going to the restaurant; yet we retained our privacy in our location until we finished lunch.


So this new wheat– free diet I have been directed to follow (for what purpose, I have no idea), is becoming quite challenging. Fortunately, the waiter understood English fairly well and they were able to rustle up something I could eat. They made a nice broiled chicken, with some French fries and salad on the side. I get the feeling I will be eating a lot of broiled chicken, fresh fish, and salad.

We passed by the church of St. Nicholas, but did not stop inside.


Across the bay, we witnessed a new German warship. But even more interesting was the massive sailboat shrouded in white plastic that hulked in the background. This sailboat, which boasts masts over 300 feet high, and cost 325 British pounds to build, is owned by a Russian billionaire and is the largest sailing craft ever built on this planet.


Back on the ship, I took a quick 15 minute nap before we showered and walked to Langengrad. This restaurant, which is situated on the fourth floor of the Stena ship terminal is known for a mix of traditional and simple cuisine, including meat, fish, and pasta. It has several tables on the deck which looked wonderful in terms of overseeing the marine traffic; however, my dinner companions both have flowing hair that did not respond well to tonight’s aggressive winds. We sat inside where we enjoyed the special Loup de Mar. Fortunately, the walk back to the ship was a short one.


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