Trina's North Germany

A glimpse into an ordinary German life


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11:00 pm to 12:00 pm: Kartoffelfest in Hohenlockstedt

There are potatoes grown all around Hohenlockstedt and 2 weeks ago we celebrated the annual potato festival. At 11.15 the parade passed our house:

Karteffelfest 3bKartoffelfest 1

I made these photos having  with the one day – one world challenge in mind. It was a pleasure to participate, even though I did not manage to cover every hour. I enjoyed reading all the different posts from all over the globe and discovered many interesting blogs which I am sure to visit again.


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A traditional North German dish: Birnen, Bohnen, Speck

Late August, September and October are my favorite months of the year. There are still many sunny and warm days, which I appreciate even more after one of the  periods of rain and wind that occur more and more frequently as we head for autumn and winter.

The flowers blooming now have intense colours, and the shops and markets are full of fruit and vegetables grown in the area. It is time for one of my favorite foods: Birnen (pears), Bohnen (green string beans) and Speck (bacon). This dish is only eaten during the period  from late August until the beginning of October, because only then can you get these pears and fresh locally grown beans. I have never come across this dish outside Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg  or the northern part of Northern Saxony, therefore I consider it a true North German meal.

The pears used in this dish are small, hard and it is not advisable to eat them uncooked.   It is possible to use normal pears, but they should be small and very hard. It is important to use fresh beans as you will not get the typical flavor with frozen ones.

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You boil the bacon for about half an hour together with the savory, then you add the pears and beans and boil the dish for another 20 minutes. Use salt and pepper to taste and serve with boiled potatoes. If you like you can thicken the cooking juices with a bit of flour.

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The place I live in:

Unless you’re into military history it is unlikely that you  have heard of the place I live in: Hohenlockstedt. It is situated between Hamburg and Kiel, not far from the rural town of Itzehoe.

Hohenlockstedt is not a farming village, but  started out as a military camp and training area. Growing  rapidly it became famous when the German Emperor visited the troops. Around World War 1  there were 100 000 soldiers stationed in the Lockstedter Lager, as Hohenlockstedt was then called.

In 1915 a group of Finnish soldiers were trained in the Lockstedter Lager. They came secretly to get support in their fight for independence against Russia. Ever since there has been a close friendship between Hohenlockstedt and the Finnish, with delegations and school classes visiting each other regularly.

Looking around Hohenlockstedt you will find many buildings and street names dating from the time of Hohenlockstedt being a military camp.

Hohenlockstedt's landmark: the watertower, built 1900 - 1901 provieded the soldiers with water

Hohenlockstedt’s landmark: the water tower, built 1900 – 1901 provieded the soldiers with water

A former casern, built around 1912, now housing the M1 Art Center

A former barrack, built around 1912, now housing the M1 Art Center

After World War 1  the training area was divided and turned into farm land. Most farmers grow potatoes and the community is represented by a  “Kartoffelkönigin” (Potato Queen).

Today, Hohenlockstedt is a small center for the farming villages nearby. There are four supermarkets, a boutique, a book store and a shop selling both fine foods and decorative things for your home. You will find two florists which sell beautiful flowers and plants and there are four restaurants, not to forget the best Italian ice-cream parlor in the whole of North Germany.

If you are interested in sports you will find a sports club offering fitness training, volleyball, athletics and much more and of course there is a football club. If you are into arts you will also find  many interesting things in my community:  a small historical museum  run by community members and  a quite well known Center for Modern Art (M1).   Not far away, near a former military airport, there is a small colony of artists and craftsmen and the former military area is used for outdoor concerts and events, such as a trucker meeting or Oldtimer ralleys. The small “Volkshochschule”, offers evening classes, for instance in cooking or playing guitar.

I appreciate all the things Hohenlockstedt has to offer. It is a good place to live in, but still I feel as an outsider.  Due to long work hours and commuting, I have little time during the week  to get involved in community activities.

I know and like my neighbours and we always have a chat when we meet, but no  close friendships have developed. When I walk our dog I meet many people and while our dogs are playing we talk about this and that. I know the names of their dogs, but I don’t know the names of their owners, where they live and what they do.

While I am outgoing at work where I communicate with all kind of people all day long,  I am a rather quiet and private person at home.  I like people but  I have few close friends. So living here without a network of good friends and acquaintances has more to do with my reserved ways than with the people in Hohenlockstedt.

One of my goals for the coming months is to get to know more places in Hohenlockstedt. I will visit the museum, the M1 Art center and  the artist colony and promise to tell you about it.