On our way to Schwerin we passed the small town Ludwigslust in Mecklenburg – Vorpommern. The beautiful little town is still being restored. 41 years of the communist regime of East Germany had left it in a desolate state. When I first saw the castle about 20 years ago, the sandstone was black and the castle about to fall down. Looking at the castle and it’s surrounding today is a delight. See for yourself:
While I have been extremely busy at work, my partner has been busy all during spring and early summer to build us a camper van out of an old Citroen delivery truck. He did a great job and we took our first tour last weekend. We went to the Harz, which is about 300 km south of our home.
There is much to tell about these North German low mountain range, situated between Northern-Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. It used to be a famous and important mining area with an interesting water system build for the mining industry, which is still intact. After the 2nd World War the Harz was split between East and West Germany, the border running across its highest Mountain, the Brocken. That one is over a 1000 m high and most tourists are either hiking up there or take the famous Harz Railway up to admire the view.
On this trip we took only smaller walks in the morning as it was very hot and instead went sightseing in Wernigerode, which used to be in East Germany. During the Middle Ages it was a stronghold of witch-hunting and it is famous for its picturesque castle, which is definitely worth a visit.
The next day we visited Goslar, which between 1009 and 1253 Goslar was one of the seats of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. For a while Goslar was member of the Hanse and and became very affluent. Eventually it lost its economic and political importance, and turned into one of the many beautiful and historically interesting small towns in Germany. However, it also remained an important mining town with one of the biggest mines of the Harz being part of the town. At its market place there is a fascinating carillon with figures documenting the development of mining in the Harz.
I am fascinated with the craftsmenship that was necessary to build these old houses and in the Harz I especially like the many details decorating the houses. Here are some impressions of our trip, starting with Wernigerode and followed by Goslar:
Every now and then, the small place in Schleswig Holstein where I live,seems a bit boring and unexciting. When I look at fotos or read about exciting cities like New York or Sidney, or far away countries like South Africa or Canada, life here seems unspectacular. But, in order to have a happy life it is important to focus on the good things that are given to you, rather than on the ones that are out of reach.
So, here are some of the reasons why Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern German federal state, is a great place to live in:
- On hot summer days you can choose whether you want a bath in the North Sea or the Baltic Sea, both are just about an hours drive away.
North Sea coast at Friedrichskoog in Winter
- There are plenty of elegant castles and manor houses in North Germany, too, even though for the fairy tale castles you will have to go further South.
- Between April and October you will find a fleamarket, a fair or festival within 40 kilometers of where you live any time. On Saturday there will be a wine festival with bands playing in the streets and wine being sold at every corner in Itzehoe. There are even free busses to make sure people don’t drive drunk.
- There are some very beautiful and interesting towns in North Germany, like Lübeck, Wismar, Rostock, Schleswig and of course, Hamburg and if you are staying in or near one of them you can reach the others within one to two hours.
- You don’t need to be terribly fit to enjoy exercising outside: North Germany is flat and there are a lot of bicycle paths and small lanes where you can cycle or go on inline skates without any hills or mountains to struggle with.
- If you like to get a good look at ships you can always take a trip to the Kiel Canal and watch them sailing past just a few meters away from you. Sometimes you are lucky as we were just a few weeks ago and see a special ship, This very luxerious yacht had just left the shipyard Blohm & Voss and was on its first trip. It was escorted by a helicopter and we were all wondering who that ship belongs to.
- People trust each other: on many roads you will find small stalls where you can buy fresh potatoes, flowers eggs or vegetables fresh from the farm, you pay by putting the money into a box or into the letterbox,
There are some other things that make life her good: the air is usually fresh and crisp, as you are close to the sea. It is not as crowded as in some other parts of Germany, life is relaxed, people are friendly and unpretentious,and there are many more small places all over that I will show you.
This article was written for the ‘Daily prompt’: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/list-lesson/