Trina's North Germany

A glimpse into an ordinary German life


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7 reasons, why life in North Germany is good

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.

Summer at the Baltic coast  near Kiel

North Sea coast at Friedrichskoog in Winter

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.
Castle in Plön

Castle in Plön

Castle in Eutin

Castle in Eutin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 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.
Flower festival in Kellinghusen

Flower festival in Kellinghusen

  • 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.
  • P1020045
  • 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.

So elegant

  • 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, P1020071P1020073

 

 

 

 

 

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/


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Sunday Walk in Heiligenstedten

I have been numerous times to Heiligenstedten,  a small community near the town of Itzehoe, heading straigth to the big  do-it-yourself-store to buy things for the house and garden.

A few days ago, when wondering where to take the dog (and myself) on a walk, I remembered a motorbike trip we took some years ago starting in Heiligenstedten and leading along the Stör. So I decided to start my walk there,  took the car, drove about 15 kilometers  and discovered places, that  once more made me realise how ignorant I have been about the area I am living in.

I parked the car at the  St.-Marien-Kirche zu Heiligenstedten and was surprised to learn from a sign at the churchyard that as early as the  9th century a church had been standing there. The church you see on the picture below  was built at the end of the 13th century and rebuilt in 1580.

St. Marien-Kirche in Heiligenstedten

St. Marien-Kirche in Heiligenstedten

The bell-tower of St. Marien-Kirche

The bell-tower of St. Marien-Kirche

The door handle of St. Marien-Kirche

The door handle of St. Marien-Kirche

It was closed that day, but that only gives me a good reason to take another trip there to get to know the inside of the church.

I continued my walk crossing the Stör at the old bascule bridge. Well, it isn’t that old, the modern version  was built  in 1967,  until then there was a wooden bascule bridge dating from 1777.

The bascule bridge across the Stör at Heiligenstedten

The bascule bridge across the Stör at Heiligenstedten

After crossing the bridge, there is a small cobble stone street on the left,  named  “Schlossstraße”.  I remembered that somewhere I had heard about a “Schloss Heiligenstedten”. I  decided to follow that street and was surprised to come out at a lovely old manor-house, Schloss Heiligenstedten.

Schloss Heiligenstedten

Schloss Heiligenstedten

At home I searched internet about the history of the castle and what I found is not much. However, its latest history seems somehow sad.

Since 1691 the land and the manor-house belonged to the Blome family, one of Schleswig-Holstein’s  25 or 30 families of ancient nobility. It was rebuilt in 1756 after a flood destroyed the old Renaissance building. Between 1851 and 1853 the facade of the Late Baroque  mansion a new  neo-Gothic look.

I couldn’t find out why the family sold the estate to the state of Schleswig-Holstein in 1926, but the last male descendent, Earl Hans Graf Blome, died in Rumania in 1945. The estate was turned into a Borstal. In 1939 it was briefly used as a hospital, but after a short while turned back into a house of correction until the end of the war. Until 1958 it served as shelter for  German refugees and expellees from Middle and Eastern Europe. A phase as being used as a old-people’s-home ended in 1987.

The outbuildings housed a hote and restaurant

The outbuildings housed a hote and restaurant

A private investor bought the estate, according to Wikipedia paying a symbolic amount of 10.000 DM (about 5000 Euro) to the state of Schleswig-Holstein in 1988. It changed ownership soon afterwards and another entrepreneur  invested  about 20.000 000 DM turning the outer buildings  into a hotel and restaurant and adding a big riding hall with boxes for about 50 horses.  At the same time a new and very luxurious housing project should be developed around the castle, including a mall with exclusive stores. Unfortunately,  it didn’t work out. Five years later, in 1998  a beautifully restored estate,  an unfinished housing project and enormous debts remained.

I found an announcement by a real estate company in internet asking for 3. 300 000 million Euros for the estate, but I don’t know whether that is up to date. The castle is closed to the public and decay has settled in. A symbol for an area in Schleswig – Holstein that has lost many of its economic foundations during the last years?

Not open to the public anymore

Locked and forgotten?

Decay

Decay