Starting over with my blog

I have neglected this blog terribly. Well, not just this blog, but my German ones as well. Somehow, this year has been busy with family things:  a wedding, a christening, a 80th birthday, a confirmation and serious sickness. Many weekends were spent away at home, in Lüneburg and Heide, where most of my family lives. There were some trips with our new camper van, the one my partner built himself out of an old delivery van.

Yes, I have taken many photos, so during the winter I will show you, where we have been and give you some more impressions of North Germany. North Germany includes the three federal states Schleswig – Holstein, where I live, Norther Saxony, where I grew up and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern which used to be in the German Democratic Republic.

When I started this blog I was very optimistic about getting involved in the community life in the small place I am living in today. I wanted to show you the places I visited and share my everyday life with you.

Since having this blog I have not found it so terrible difficult to show you places I visited, but sharing everyday life has been a challenge. Simply, because I am still not rooted in the community here. I am working in Hamburg, commuting, usually being away from home 12 – 13 hours. Coming home there are chores to do: walk the dog, fix dinner, read the mail. And being in a relationship it deserves a bit of attention too.

In the countryside life stops around 08:00 pm. The shutters on the houses around us go down. Sports courses at the local club start long before, the baker, the butcher and the pharmacist close at 06.00 and when I get home, only the supermarkets are open. Weekends are busy with cleaning up, shopping, doing the garden and the only time I meet the neighbors is when I walk the dog. Our friends are either living in Hamburg or further away.

If you want to be part of a community in the country side you have to either be born into the place or join the voluntary fire brigade (still a man’s thing) or the football /sports club or the church. All three don’t appeal to me and not to my partner either.

This is the reason why I haven’t been writing much about everyday life. It is a weak excuse, I know. I will try to better myself, which is one of the reasons I joined this Blogging 101 University.

I still want to show you North Germany. It has always irritated me a bit, that most non-Germans think of South Germany and its traditions when thinking about Germany. I love travelling and catching glimpses into other people’s lives, at the same time I have very strong roots here.

I will still write about everyday life, about things that are typical (North) German. And now and then I will write about things that are on my mind and that I would like to share with others.  Maybe I will even let you catch a glimpse into my work life, and I would very much show you some of Norway, which I have come to like an awful lot.

You know, when sharing these things publicly they become something special for me. I am trying to find aspects that might be new or unusual to others, while they are commonplace to me. Last, not least, blogging in English helps me to keep my knowledge of the language active and meeting many people from around the world. And that, I feel, is a true enrichment.

Sunday afternoon treat

You know that niggling feeling, when the image of something sweet is hovering on your mind and you can just about taste what you fancy.   Today I just had to have a Rumkugel. So when I passed the bakery on the way home  from a long walk in bleak weather  I was happy to see they had nice big ones waiting for me.

15 minutes later I settled down with a tea and these billions of calories:

Sunday afternoon treat
Sunday afternoon treat

You can get Rumkugeln anywhere in Germany, but they are small and more like  chocolate truffles. It is only in North Germany you will get these big ones in the bakeries. I remember buying one each Saturday when my mother sent me for bread. They cost only 10 Pfennig then, and later, as schoolkids we liked to spend our pocket money on them.

There was a rumor among us kids that the baker made ‘Rumkugeln’ by sweeping off the crumbs of cakes and bread from the tables and the floor, before mixing them together with rum and chocolate. Truth is, these things are made of leftover cake. That’s why the taste is never the same. I have found f. i. cherries, walnuts, pieces of apple and bits with cinnamon taste  in them. Sometimes they are very soft inside, sometimes a bit more dry. One ingredient however is rum. Not much, and most likely these days it is rum aroma, but that is a must. I suspect our baker is using cream, most likely with some melted dark chocolate mixed in, cocoa powder, castor sugar and  maybe some egg. Then it is all mixed together and rolled (kugeln) around in chocolate sprinkles.

 

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/