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:
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.
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.
Spring has come early this year and the first storks were seen at the end of February already. We took a trip through the country side yesterday and were lucky to find one standing on it’s nest in one of the villages around.
White storks are very much loved in (North-)Germany. It is a sign of good luck and fertility when a stork decides to build a nest on the gables. Many farmers build a with a high pole with a small platform on top to make it possible for a stork to breed.
The legend says that it is the stork bringing the babies, and when I was very small I was told by my grandparents to put sugar on the window-sill. The stork would find it and reward me with a baby brother or sister. Also, when someone gets married in the countryside, people often place a plastic stork on their roof to wish the young couple good luck with having children.