ROSEMARIE'SFESTIVE TRIP

A STORY ABOUT SEARCHING AND FINDING OF PEOPLE

Every year, Lübeck's most famous mouse, living - as we all know - in St. Mary’s church, is visited by countless people who touch it, so that a secret wish may come true. But in 2020, only very few people came to see Rosemarie. No wonder the little mouse asks herself where everyone has gone this year. So she sets off in search of the people she misses so much.

Join Rosemarie on her journey through some of the Hanseatic cities where she meets crazy squirrels and dancing girls, experiences a wild chase and with each stage of the journey finds out more about where the people have gone. And rest assured: we will all be back in time for Christmas.

 

What is Rosemary’s journey?

Rosemary’s journey is a fairytale and a city walk at the same time. Choose your time to start your very own discovery tour until 31st December 2020. Take a look at the shop windows and read or listen to the stories. Given the current situation we encourage you to take the virtual tour. If you choose to enjoy the walk on the spot please remember to stick to all the Covid19-related rules.

Where do I start the journey?

You start the journey in front of the tourist information next to the Holsten Gate.

Holstentorplatz 1
23552 Lübeck

Where does the journey end?

Your journey with Rosemary ends in the courtyard of the European Hansemuseum.

What is the exact walking route?

Rosemary travels through some of the more than one hundred Hanseatic cities in Europe and through the Old Town of Lübeck. On your journey you will pass by the Holsten Gate, the Town Hall and the museums on Königstraße and finally reach the beautifully decorated courtyard of the European Hansemuseum. You can easily download the map to your smartphone.

Who is the journey designed for?

The city walk is suitable for everyone who likes fairytiles.

What kind of luggage do I bring?

Bring your smartphone and headphones, if available. At each window station you can read one chapter or have it read out aloud. All you have to do is scan the QR code that is placed at the station.

Travel conditions

Mice look out after each other, also while on the road. Do it like Rosemary and keep the minimum distance of 1 5 meters whenever you meet fellow travelers and use your mouth-nose protection. If you are not sure which rules currently apply in the Old Town, please check our FAQ-section in advance.

Who invented the journey?

ROSEMARY’Y JOURNEY - A STORY ABOUT SEARCHING AND FINDING OF PEOPLE
A production of Lübeck and Travemünde Marketing GmbH based on an idea by Jan Pfeuffer and Simon Urban
Read by Zsuzsa Bereznai
Text: Simon Urban
Illustration: Oliver Marraffa
Creative Direction, production and media: Jan Pfeuffer
Print production: Mirko Kröger
Light design: Carsten Sander
Construction logistics: Torsten Heinrich
Engineering: Christoph Struve

Rosemary's journey is supported by the Lübeck Management and the Lübeck Economic Development Agency

Initial situation

Mouse Rosemarie yawned. And then she yawned again. A long and contagious yawning, in fact. She stretched her little legs away and blinked. Glistening morning sun shone was shining through the windows of Lübeck’s St. Mary’s church bathing the high altar room in a warm light. Today someone will definitely finally come to visit and stroke me, thought the mouse and climbed out of its nest with a heart filled with anticipation. It ran hurriedly to the church door and stopped in disappointment. The number of churchgoers she discovered was exactly: zero.

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"Well," said Kurt, the sexton's age-old tomcat, who was just passing by, "no visitors at all?

The mouse Rosemarie shook her head sadly.

"At least we'll have our peace and quiet then," growled Kurt, jumped onto a pew and curled up.

"But I want visitors," cried Rosemarie. "And not just a few visitors, but a lot of them! For centuries all the people from Lübeck and almost all of the city’s guests have been coming to stroke me to have a wish come true! But not this year!"

"Maybe", growled tomcat Kurt, "the people are doing so well that they don't need any luck."

"No, you can never be lucky enough," Rosemarie said firmly. "There must be something else behind it. And we must find out what."

Kurt blinked tiredly. "And how will you do that?"

"By going on a journey, Kurt!" said Rosemarie and smiled with joy. "We'll both find out what people have experienced this year and why they couldn't come for a visit!"

"A trip?!" cried yelled Kurt in horror. "That's terrible! Getting out of this beautiful church where I get a bowl of milk from the sexton every day?! And a big spoonful of tuna fish on Sundays? And a soft-boiled egg once a month?!? And every two months..."

The mouse sighed. "Okay, Kurt," it said, "I'm off on a trip. And you stay here. All right. I'll be back for Christmas."

"Sounds much better ...", sighed Kurt, curled his tail once more and fell asleep. 

Rosemarie, however, was packing her bags - and looking forward to the big, adventurous journey that was waiting for her outside St. Mary’s.

Start

Rosemarie was so excited - her journey to some of the other Hanseatic cities finally got underway! The suitcase was packed, the daisies were watered, the small living cave was tidy. Kurt, the sexton's age-old tomcat, would have to do without the usual cat-and-mouse games for a few weeks, but he wasn't the most agile one any more anyway.

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"See you soon," Kurt puffed.
"See you soon, Kurt," said Rosemarie. "So few people have visited me in Lübeck this year that I am desperate to find out what they are doing and how they are doing in these difficult times. My first stop is Bruges. There ..."
But Kurt had already fallen asleep after the first words and was snoring his deep, humming tomcat-Kurt-snore. Rosemarie smiled. Then she set off.

It may be unusual for mice to book rides, but it's obviously not impossible. Barely twenty minutes later, Rosemarie met Anke, Olaf and Olaf's motorbike with sidecar at the meeting point in Glockengießerstraße, which unfortunately didn't start.

"Oh Olaf", said Anke.
"Is the motorbike broken?", Rosemarie asked.
"Well", said Olaf. "We have a problem with the screw nut. That means it has come loose."
"Oh Olaf", said Anke.

Olaf tried several times to start the machine, but it just wouldn't make any noise. He had no chance to tighten the nut. "The engine compartment is simply too narrow," sighed Olaf.
"Oh Olaf", said Anke.

"Maybe I should give it a try", Rosemarie suggested. "I am about eighty-three times smaller than you."
"That", Olaf said, "is an excellent idea!"

Rosemarie already climbed into the engine compartment and squeezed herself between all sorts of wires, metal parts and pipes, while Olaf described the way to the loose nut from the outside. It didn't take long until Rosemarie had found and tightened it.

As soon as she had climbed out of the engine compartment Olaf pressed the start button. And finally the motorbike engine started running.

"Oh Olaf", said Anke and beamed. She turned to Rosemarie and added: "You know, we'd rather get out of the city and into the countryside in these times. You meet less people there."
"Then let's get going," said Rosemarie and put on her grandfather Hartmut's old motorbike glasses, which she had fortunately found in the attic. 

Olaf, Anke and Rosemarie dashed off - passing by the coast and deep blue lakes, through flowering fields and fragrant forests. The little mouse was a little bit frightened. She had never been so far away from home before. "But I have to find out what people are doing at this time," Rosemarie said aloud to herself. "And I will manage to do that!" 

"Definitely," said Olaf.
"Oh Olaf", said Anke.

Bruges

Rosemarie reached her destination late at night. She was exhausted and crept aimlessly through the bumpy cobblestone streets, pulling her long tail behind her with her last ounce of strength. Such a tail is quite pretty, Rosemarie thought, but to be honest, quite impractical too. I'd much rather like to have a built-in handbag, like the kangaroos do, that would really be ...

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But before she could finish thinking this thought, her tired mouse eyes discovered a small gap in the wall. Even though Rosemarie was hungry and would have loved to have a piece of chocolate or bacon and a thimbleful of water in a proper mouse tavern after her long journey, she yawned: "First of all, I need some sleep...!
So she squeezed herself into the narrow gap.

But to her astonishment, there was no cozy cave behind it. Only a dark passageway. She followed the passage, which ran in strange twists and turns through the masonry, deeper and deeper into the stone. Rosemarie was about to turn back when she discovered a dim light, which she now headed carefully towards. Where on earth had she ended up?

She took two or three more steps forward.

Suddenly Rosemarie was standing in the middle of countless skyscrapers, which surrounded her in a dim golden light like a collection of mute giants. The skyscrapers grew into the sky in winding shapes, so high that the tops disappeared in the darkness.
"I am in New York!", Rosemarie said to herself in disbelief.

For quite a while she just gazed at them in wonder. How did she get to America on her motorbike in such a short time? But before Rosemarie could find an answer, she heard the sound of footsteps - and the face of a friendly woman looked through the skyscrapers.

When she discovered Rosemarie, she smiled: "How beautiful! At last we have a real bookworm in the house again!"
"I'm sorry," said Rosemarie, "but I'm not a worm, I'm a mouse."
"Worm, mouse, what difference does it make!" said the lady.
"Well, it does make a difference," Rosemarie replied. "But tell me - are we in New York?"

Now the friendly looking woman laughed out loud for about three and a half minutes. A very funny sound (basically like a chicken that’s being tickled), so Rosemarie had to laugh along.
"I am Juliette," said the woman and switched on the light. "And you are not in New York, but in the public library of Bruges."

Rosemarie could not believe her eyes. What she had thought to be skyscrapers in the semi-darkness, actually were stacks of countless books that reached almost to the ceiling. The librarian Juliette told Rosemarie that people had been borrowing books for weeks like crazy.

Rosemarie discovered many famous names on the spines of books: Thomas Mann, Günter Grass, Juli Zeh, Thomas Pletzinger, Karen Köhler, Roman Ehrlich...
"We can't keep up with the sorting," moaned Juliette.
But Rosemarie smiled. She really liked people who loved to a good book.

The next morning, the mouse waved farewell to Juliette and said: "I see that people are making the best of this difficult time. It's great that they read so many books - even if it means that you have more work. Now I have to move on - because I want to know, if all the other people in the other cities are doing just as well."

"Bon voyage, little bookworm," said Juliette and quickly corrected herself: "I mean, of course: bookmouse!"

Kampen

Is there anything more beautiful than waking up in the morning on the massive branch of an ancient chestnut tree, smelling the salty fresh air, rubbing your eyes for a moment, blinking, taking another close look - and marveling at a magnificent sunrise over the old port of Kampen?

By no means no! That's what mouse Rosemarie thought when she saw how the ancient gables of the town were bathed in warm light and the water began glistening in the sun.

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What a perfect start to the day! After Rosemarie had washed herself in a fountain and had a big walnut for breakfast, she looked around. And she was quite surprised to see all these people acting quite strangely.Instead of admiring the beautiful houses, the blue sky or the ships, the people were all staring at little flat boxes that they held in their hands all the time.

Women pushing prams were staring at their boxes. Grandmas and grandpas sitting on park benches also held boxes in their hands. All the people on the buses only had eyes for their boxes. And even the pedestrians did not watch out where they were walking, but looked at their boxes as they walked or tapped on them - some of them even tripped over curbstones and fell down.

Rosemarie had also seen this strange box thing in other cities. What was it all about? They were too flat to transport a decent piece of bacon in them. And they obviously didn't contain a pack of cards either.

When a little later Rosemarie discovered two girls who had placed a box on the floor and were now jumping about in front of the box, Rosemarie curiously asked them:

“What do you do with that box? What is it?”
"A mobile phone," said one.
"A smartphone," corrected the other.
"What the hell," said Rosemarie. "And what do you do with it?"
"Dancing," said the one.
Busting a move", corrected the other one.
"Taking pictures", said one.
"Taking selfies", corrected the other one.
"Writing texts", said one.
"Messaging!", corrected the other.
 "Using the Internet," one said.
"Surfing", corrected the other.
"And calling people by phone," said one.
"Nobody does that," said the other. "I'm Lina, by the way."
"And I'm Lena."

Rosemarie's head was in a whirl - was this box a wonder machine?
The two girls showed her how to use it and the little mouse was amazed. Slowly she began to understand why these things were so popular...

What Lina and Lena liked best was an app that allowed users to share films with the whole world. The girls asked Rosemarie to take part in a dance video and the mouse said yes, of course. Because Rosemarie danced in the front of the picture and the two girls in the back, they all had the same size on the video. That looked damn funny. Only minutes after Lina and Lena had posted the video tens of thousands of people had already liked it. And finally, the film was the most popular video of the day.
"Great!" shouted Lina. 
"Noice! ", corrected Lena.

Then the mouse said goodbye to the girls. She said: "I can see that thanks to this crazy box you are having fun even in hard times. Now I have to move on - because I want to know, if all the other people in the other towns are doing as well as the two of you." 

"Cheerio", said Lina.
"Cya! ", corrected Lena.

Bremen

"That smells incredibly phenomenally great here," thought the mouse Rosemarie and heard her stomach growling loudly. She had just crawled through a small hole in an old brick house to look for a cosy place to spend the night when a wonderfully intense scent of cheese filled the air. Just like in Gouda House, Buttercheese Village or Mozzarella city (all the mice talked about these places all the time, but nobody knew, whether they really existed).

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What Rosemarie did know, however, was that she was not in Gouda-House, Buttercheese village or Mozzarella-City, but in Bremen. To be more precise, she happened to end up in the kitchen of the passionate housewife Edith Opitz. Since Rosemary's stomach still wouldn't calm down, she did what good mice do. She followed the scent all the way to the kitchen table and enjoyed a good meal.

Edith Opitz was a very tall, very strict and very disciplined woman. Edith Opitz had just put a splendid piece of Tilsiter on the huge cheese platter she had prepared for her husband Eberhard and his musician friends.
The musicians were rehearsing Verdi in the parlour and, as everyone knows, Verdi makes you really hungry. For a moment Edith Opitz wondered whether she should perhaps nibble on a tiny piece of cheese. Just a tiny little one. A cheese atom. Or half a cheese atom. But then she decided not to do so, after all she was a disciplined woman.

At that moment, the housewife Edith discovered the mouse lady Rosemarie between camembert and gorgonzola - and screamed.

Edith's scream was so loud that the windows were shaking, the cucumber jars were shattering, the dog had goose bumps for the first time in his life and the house spiders were happy that they had no ears.

Rosemarie was also very frightened. Only Eberhard Opitz, who came running from the living room with his violin still under his arm, was beaming all over his bearded face, shouting: "Edith! I never knew you could sing so well!" 

"Neither did I", said Edith Opitz.

"Why are you suddenly singing Verdi in the kitchen?!", Eberhard asked curiously.

"That's the reason why...", said Edith, pointing with a trembling finger at the little mouse.

"Pleased to meet you," said Rosemarie. "How do you do?"

"It’s a privilege, gracious mouse," said Eberhard Opitz politely and took his deepest bow, even though he suffered from rheumatism. Then he turned to his wife:
"Come, darling - sing for us!"

Only a short time later they were having fun together in the parlour. The musicians played Verdi, Edith sang Verdi, Rosemarie ate brie. Eberhard gave her one piece after the other. No wonder - after all, it was only thanks to Rosemarie that he had discovered his wife's tremendous singing talent. That night they sat together for a long time, laughing, playing music and singing. A few jars of cucumbers broke and some dogs got goose bumps, but that doesn't matter, because goose bumps are part of life somehow.

The next morning the mouse Rosemarie said goodbye to Edith and Eberhard Opitz. She said: "I see that you are making the best of these difficult times. It's great that you make music together and... uh... sing. But now I have to move on - because I want to know, if all the other people are doing as well as you.

Edith sang "Time to Say Goodbye", Eberhard waved, the dog howled.

Gdansk

No wonder that Rosemarie reached Gdansk only late at night. She had walked to the bus stop in Bremen early in the morning, took the bus to the train station, got on the wrong train, fell asleep, woke up in Hagen, got on the right train quickly and finally arrived in Gdansk with a delay. And now it was already so dark that you could hardly see your paws in front of your eyes. Well, great.

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"Is there a dilapidated old house with cracks and gaps somewhere around here where a mouse could easily spend the night," Rosemarie asked a young raccoon who was just looking for his dinner in an organic barrel.
"Sorry," said the young raccoon, "but there are no more dilapidated houses here at all. People have been renovating everything blatantly in recent months. I'm always totally lost."
"Okay," said Rosemarie, "I'll just try somewhere."
"Good luck," replied the young raccoon and disappeared into the organic waste bin.

After Rosemarie had crossed the street, she discovered a pretty little family home with a well-kept garden. But the raccoon had obviously been telling the truth - the façade of the house was as new as the cellar windows and the patio door. Rosemarie could not find the slightest crack to get into the house. To her surprise, a window finally opened all by itself.
"I need fresh air," she heard a little girl's voice from inside. "Okay, but close the window right away," said a little boy. "Otherwise I'll get too cold!"

It's now or never, thought Rosemarie, slipped through the crack, slipped on a marble, lost her balance, fell off the windowsill - and plunged into something strangely thick and smelly. No doubt about it: it was an open paint bucket! Yuck!

You can imagine Rosemary's horror when she climbed out of the bucket dazed - but that was nothing compared to the horror the children got.

"A ghost mouse!" shrieked the girl.
"A mouse ghost!" yelled the boy.
"I am Rosemarie," said Rosemarie.
"A talking ghost mouse!" added the girl.
"A talking mouse ghost," said the boy.

Only now Rosemarie noticed that her whole body was glowing in a bright green - she really looked like a ghost! At that moment the boy turned on the light and said with relief: "Thank goodness, it's really just a normal talking mouse that has fallen into our fluorescent colour...!

The two children helped Rosemarie to wash off the strange colour that could glow in the dark. They explained that, together with her parents, they had renovated the whole house over the last few months. "We had much more time than usual," the boy said. "Only the walls of the children's room are still missing", said the girl.
Then Rosemary's eyes fell on her bright green paw prints, which were scattered all over the floor - and she had an idea ...

The next morning the boy, whose name was Henry, and the girl, whose name was Alma, dunked Rosemary's paws in the fluorescent paint and printed her paw prints all over the wallpaper. Then the mouse said goodbye to them. She said: "I see that you are making the best of this difficult time renovating everything. I think that's great. Now I have to move on - because I want to know, if all the other people in the other cities are doing as well as you are doing."

"Come again, ghost mouse," Alma said.
"Take care, mouse ghost," said Henry.

Riga

Unfortunately, the day Rosemarie arrived in Riga after a long journey by train was not a particularly pleasant one. It had already begun to rain during the journey, and even small hailstones had bounced against the windows from time to time. When the train finally entered the station, dark clouds were hanging over the roofs of Riga. And when had Rosemarie put her paw on the platform she felt the autumnal cold creeping under her grey fur. "Brrrr", said the mouse and for a moment wished to be back in her cosy, warm cave in Lübeck. In the city the wind was blowing leaves through the empty streets and there was hardly any human being to be seen.

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But two squirrels chased each other up and down a mighty tree.
"Hello," said the first squirrel when he discovered Rosemarie, "you're freezing like a pot holder in Antarctica.
"Or like a toaster at the South Pole," said the second squirrel.
"That's right," said Rosemarie. "You don't seem to be freezing."
"After all, we have nice bushy tails to wrap ourselves in," remarked the first squirrel.
"Not a bald antenna like you," added the second squirrel.
"Do you know what the people of Riga have been doing for the last few months?" Rosemarie asked. 
"Nah," said the first squirrel. "We find people as interesting as an empty mustard jar floating in the ocean."
"Or as a broken a traffic light on the moon," added the second squirrel.

Rosemarie wished the strange squirrels a nice evening and went away in search of a place to stay. She walked down a narrow alley, which got narrower and narrower and finally ended at a front door. Luckily there was an old cat flap next to the door that could be opened without any problems, and shortly afterwards Rosemarie was standing in a cosy parlour.

"By the holy litter box, I don't believe it," said Rosemarie as she looked around. "A factory for mouse hammocks! I am so lucky!”
In fact, there were countless models of hammocks made of colourful fabric, hanging from hooks, chair backs, bedposts and door handles - and one was more beautiful and softer than the other. Rosemarie chose the most comfortable of all, curled up and fell asleep on the spot. 

"Would you like a fried egg with bacon too," said a friendly voice.
"Yes, I'd love to," replied Rosemarie. Then she jumped up - who had asked her that?
"Coming right up," said the friendly voice. „I am Lilija, and I sew face masks here for people who don't have any. But I can see that the masks are also quite wonderful mouse hammocks“, said the friendly woman.
"That's right", said Rosemarie, who was a little embarrassed, because initially she had not recognized the masks. "I would buy one immediately!"

During breakfast, Lilija told the mouse that she had made more than 450 masks in the last few months. So she could help many people and even made some new friends. "There is actually nothing more beautiful in the world than being able to help others", Lilija concluded.

After the two had talked for quite a while, the mouse said goodbye and said: "I see that you are happy. And you even make others happy. That is wonderful. Now I have to move on - because I want to know, if all the other people in the other cities are as happy as you are."

"Take your bed with you," said Lilija. "It’s a present."
"Thanks", said Rosemarie. "That’s a really useful hammock!"

Train journey

When Rosemarie hurried through Riga late in the evening, her little paws hurt. The windows of all the houses in the city were already brightly lit, white clouds of smoke came out of the chimneys, and the light of the lanterns made the cobblestones shine.

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Rosemarie ran to the station as fast as she could. She had lost track of time a little, because she had passed by a magnificent walnut tree and had really filled her stomach. Now she had to hurry up - because she didn't want to miss the train to Tallinn.

The conductor was already blowing his whistle when Rosemarie arrived on the platform. She jumped up the two iron steps and into the train with her last ounce of strength - immediately the door behind her closed with a loud bang. Terrific! A deafening hissing sound was heard, along with a rhythmic sh-sh-sh-sh-sh, sh-sh-sh-sh-sh and the train slowly started moving.

The little mouse stumbled into the first compartment, climbed onto one of the seats and dropped into the soft cushions. It was wonderfully warm and cosy in here. Instead of a light bulb, strangely enough, a petroleum lamp was burning, spreading a pleasant scent, and flickering slightly in front of her. Almost like an open fire, thought Rosemarie and fell asleep from fatigue and exhaustion.

Only now did the mouse notice that there were other travellers sitting in her compartment. There was an elegant gentleman in a fine suit who was reading his daily newspaper and apparently travelling with his four sons. Two of them were playing a game of chess, a third one was reading a book and a toddler was cuddling with his teddy.

"Sir," said one of the boys, "I'm so looking forward to being painted!"
The father smiled. "Rightly so, my son. The painter Munch is a master of his trade, he will paint exquisite portraits of you."
“That will be brilliant," the boy rejoiced. "So, in the distant future people will know what we looked like!"
"And you yourselves won't forget it either, when you are as old as I am," said the father.

Rosemarie was confused. This family used a strange language. Rosemarie hadn't heard words like "Sir", "exquisite" or "brilliant" for at least a hundred years. Now the mouse noticed that the older sons wore fine leather shoes instead of chucks, and noble waistcoats instead of t-shirts. The light of the petroleum lamp flickered. Rosemarie closed her eyes for a few seconds. From outside she heard the rhythmic sh-sh-sh-sh-sh, sh-sh-sh-sh-sh.

Where am I, thought Rosemarie, while the impressions from the train mingled with the ones from Riga. It almost seems as if I am travelling through time on this steam train ...

A shrill sound came from a whistle.

Rosemarie jumped out of the cushions - she had fallen fast asleep and was now sitting alone in the compartment. The family had disappeared. The mouse rubbed her little eyes.  Had she only dreamed all this?

"Tallinn," shouted the conductor on the platform. Rosemarie looked around in the train compartment in amazement once more. Then she saw a small white chess piece lying on the floor...

"End of the line, please get off!"
She hurriedly jumped out of her seat and ran to the door. She had really been looking forward to come to Tallinn!

Tallinn

As a real Lübeck girl, Rosemarie was used to a beautiful cityscape - but Tallinn's market place really beat everything. Rosemarie first sat down on a hydrant and looked around in peace: Historic gabled houses in bright colours, a pretty church and countless stalls full of fragrant delicacies. On top of that, a bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine.

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Fantastic! thought Rosemarie. And then there's this fragrance! After she had seen enough, her stomach growled. No kidding. Rosemarie skilfully strolled between the legs of the market visitors, sniffed at a spice stall, pinched a piece of porcini mushroom, even got hold of a little bit of real truffle and on her way over the cobblestone pavement she also came across a broken carrot, a leaf of spinach, half a potato, a bread crust, a mini tomato and a piece of liver pate that someone must have dropped while trying it.

BANG!

A meteorite impact right next to her! And right in the middle of Tallinn's market place. This couldn’t be real! Rosemarie took a closer look. The meteorite was actually a beetroot - and it had just fallen out of a young woman's shopping bag. 

"Hey!" yelled Rosemarie. "Your meteor... I mean: your beetroot!" 
But the woman heard nothing.

Luckily, Rosemarie’s mum had taught her to be a very friendly mouse. "Mice always help - everything else is cheese", her mother said, and Rosemarie stuck to that, even if it was sometimes exhausting.

She loaded the beetroot (quite heavy!) onto her back, moaned and ran after the woman as fast as she could. A wild chase began.

The woman ran around the market stalls - Rosemarie took the shortcut under the market stalls. The woman climbed down a flight of stairs - Rosemarie slid down the gutter next to the stairs as if in a slide of stone. The woman ran down a steep road - Rosemarie gave the beetroot a push, made it roll down the asphalt and galloped after it. The woman got into a tram - Rosemarie barely managed to jump onto the tram. Two stops away, the woman got off, walked towards a house and took a key out of her pocket.

"Hello," Rosemarie gasped, "your …  " ... Wow!", said the woman happily.
"That is very sweet of you. I am Maarja!"

A quarter of an hour later, Maarja and Rosemarie were sitting together at the kitchen table. Maarja prepared a potato salad with beetroot, which was called Rosolje and both of them enjoyed it very much. "In the last few months we have all spent much more time at home," Maarja told us. "We have prepared fresh and healthier food a lot. And we have rediscovered old family recipes and many traditional recipes from Estonia ... There’s a positive side to everything!

That's what my mother used to say, thought Rosemarie, took a big spoonful of potato salad and smiled. 

The next morning the mouse said goodbye to Maarja. She said: "You are an excellent cook. I hope you find many more great recipes. Now I have to move on - because I want to know, if all the other people in the other towns are as well off as you are."

"Wait," said Maarja and handed her a large piece of sauerkraut cake with bacon and cranberries. "You have a long way to go."

Return

To set off on a long journey is beautiful. But to finally return home at the end of a long journey is much nicer, Rosemarie thought, because at home my old Lübeck, my old church and my old tomcat Kurt are waiting. She was sure that Kurt was asleep all the time while waiting, but for once she did not bother.

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Rosemarie was standing on the deck of a mighty ocean steamer called MS Toni, braving the dark waves of the Baltic Sea. Another two hours later she finally arrived back home. 

Only now did the mouse notice that another passenger was standing at the other end of the railing, looking out to sea. He wore a dark coat and had a long white beard that blew in the wind. Rosemarie went over and asked.
"Do you want to go to Lübeck, too?
"That's right," said the man, who had a pleasant dark voice. "It's almost Christmas. You should be at home by then."
"Yes, that’s true," said Rosemarie. 
"And you've travelled the world, little mouse?" said the old man. 
"Hardly anyone had come to see me in my church this year," said Rosemarie.
"So, I wanted to find out what people were doing and whether they were doing well. That's why I travelled through some Hanseatic cities.
"Are they doing well?" asked he old man.
"Fortunately, yes," said Rosemarie. "They're making the best of the difficult time. That's what I like about people. They always find a way to look ahead.
"They do," growled the old man. "They really do..."

The full moon, which looked like a pale egg yolk, hung in the black sky and bathed the whole scene in a bright light.

"Do you like people as much as I do, Rosemarie asked.

Now the old man smiled for the first time and said: "For a very, very long time, little mouse...".

When the MS Toni arrived in Lübeck, Rosemarie jumped onto the quay. Her heart was filled with joy. She waved happily at the old man who was dragging a huge sack from board, and the old man waved back just as happily.

Suddenly she thought she had seen him before.

The hem of a red cloak was peeking out from his dark coat, and if you looked closely you could see that the bow of a present was sticking out of the opening of the sack...

When the little mouse opened the church door she heard a loud snoring sound. Typical tomcat Kurt. Nevertheless, Rosemarie was happy about the noise. She had really missed it very much. There is only one right place to celebrate Christmas, Rosemarie thought: home. She warmed herself up in her cave, put up her new mouse hammock, lay down in it and curled up. She thought of Edith and Eberhard Opitz, Juliette, Maarja, Lina and Lena, Olaf and Anke, Henry and Alma and Lilija. They had all found something positive in this difficult time, just like millions of other people. And they were all doing well despite the problems.

Tomorrow, on Christmas Day, Rosemarie would celebrate with tomcat Kurt, as she does every year. She would give him a can of tuna fish and he would give her a piece of cheese. Then they would make themselves comfortable. One day I'd like to go away again, Rosemarie thought. Maybe to ...

But by then she had already fallen fast asleep.

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