Postcard No. 5: “The Mecklenburger Seenplatte / The Land of the 1.000 Lakes

Insights, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
mecklenburger Seenplatte

Ahoi!

Land of the 1,000 lakes…

The Mecklenburger Lake Plateau is the largest coherent lake and canal region in Germany. There are several nature parks and well-known lakes with unique flora and fauna in the region, such as the Müritz, the biggest German lake lying entirely within Germany.

Water as far as your eye can see…

Even if you wake up in the morning, you don`t need to do it without seaview. You simply rent a house boat or one of the famous boat houses.

Trekking 3.0 …Water trekking by canoe is always close at hand. Of course, you can spend your time with all kind of water sports like fishing, sailing, Surfing, Swimming, scuba diving etc. but hiking, cycling, running, Nordic Walking, horseback riding, motor cycling are very popular too.

The Mecklenburger Lake Plateau is in particular well-known for holidays on rented house boats.

There are also a lot of sightseeing opportunities. Western Pomerania namely gives home to about 2,000 parks, manor houses and Castles, of which about 200 are open for the public.

Local Festivals, culinary weeks, a huge museum landscape and wellness centres complement the wide range of leisure activities.

The Müritz National Park and the entire lakeland allows visitors to experience regional biospheres. Over half of the area consists of protected areas. The population density of 48 people per square kilometer is sparse. Rugged river scapes, glass clear lakes with visibility depths of up to 10 meters, heaths, moors and ice-age formations shape the countryside.

In my view, the major attraction is the chance to slow down in good company – jointly with Family & Friends or as a solitaire traveler. In this peaceful, inspiring and sometimes mystique landscape, I can imagine e.g. to pen a book or to become creative in another way…Empty and then open your mind for Levitation!

Cit.: “Water is the Cure.”
(…to quote the movie “Cure for Wellness”)

Get well in the Mecklenburger Lakeland!

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Poem No. 192: “Thoughts in the Silent Night – Gedanken in einer stillen Nacht” – by Li Bai (China, year 701 – 762)

Gedichte, poems

Beside my bed a pool of light—
Is it hoarfrost on the ground?
I lift my eyes and see the moon,
I bend my head and think of home.

Vor meiner Bettstatt lag wie Reif so weiß
des Mondlichts mitternächtiges Gegleiß.
Ich hob das Haupt – der Mond schien voll und blank –
und ließ es wieder sinken, an die Heimat denkend.

李白《静夜思》

床前明月光,
疑是地上霜。
举头望明月,
低头思故乡。

Tipp No. 15: “Neuschwanstein”, Just One of >25.000 Castles in Germany

arts, Insights, Kunst, Reisen, Tipps, Travel

No, Neuschwanstein is not the only castle in Germany. In fact, Germany gives home to more than 25.000 castles, fortresses & palaces despite of decades of war throughout the centuries, like the Nine Years War, the Thirty Years War and WWII – not to forget alll the local rencounters and intrigues in history. Unfortunately, not all castles could be repaired or rebuilt completely.

As you will see you don´t need any expertise in history or architecture to notice that each castle has got its unique personality, purpose of life and relationship to its surroundings.

There are well-designed castles as well as organically grown ones that look like patchwork buildings.

I don´t want to provide you with an information overkill. Thus, I didn’t comment all castles & fortresses.

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Dornröschenschloss (=Sleeping Beauty Castle) close to Sababurg / Hessen. The hill castle appears in 1334 as the Zappenburg to protect pilgrims to the nearby pilgrimage site of Gottsbüren. In 1490, the hunting lodge of Zapfenburg grew out of the medieval castle site. After 1957 the site was restored and since 1959 has housed an hotel. Visitors enjoy the Sababurg Wildlife Park and the virgin forrest Sababurg Urwald.

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Herten Castle in the district of Recklinghausen / North-Rhine-Westfalia. It is located within an old English landscape garden incl. orangery & tabacco house and its first men-tioning dates back to 1376. In 1962, the main castle building was declared a cultural heritage monument.

The main castle today is a venue for numerous cultural events, such as classic concerts and exhibitions. Every year at whitsun, the castle’s park hosts a two-day arts and crafts market including several performances.
The castle houses a café with two rooms in the northern wing. During summer time, there is seating also on the wooden bridge across the moat. It is possible to have civil weddings in the castle.
The carriage house is used as a social center and day hospital.

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Palatial Castle of Schwerin in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state (Northern Ger-many). For centuries the palace was the home of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg and later Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Today it serves as the residence of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament (German: Landtag). The castle is regarded as one of the most important works of romantic Historicism in Europe and is designated to become a World Heritage Site. It is nicknamed “Neuschwanstein of the North”.

altena castle

Altena Castle, near Lenne in North Rhine-Westfalia. The castle was erected by the early Counts of Berg in the year 1108. Eventually, the House of Berg abandoned Altena and moved their residence to Hamm. Today, Altena is a tourist attraction. During the first weekend of August a yearly Medieval Festival takes place in the castle and town. Part of the castle is used as a restaurant.

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Anholt Castle

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Imperial Palace Goslar (11th Century, residence of the Salian Emporers) / Lower Saxony. 1253 was the last time a German king, William of Holland, resided at the palace. Thereafter it fell into decline.

The Imperial Palace is one of the most outstanding tourist attractions in the town of Goslar and the Harz region. The Kaiserhaus may be visited daily and guided tours are available, whilst, the old quarters are used for administrative purposes and exhibitions. In addition, in the Goslar Museum (town museum), there are exhibits from the palace district, especially from the Monastery of St. Simon and St. Jude, for example, the Krodo Altar and a number of stained glass windows.
Since 1992, the palace district, together with Goslar’s Old Town and the Rammelsberg Mine have been designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

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Braunfels Castle (13th century) in Hessen. The Castle was mentioned in 1246 first time. Originally the Castle served as a fortress for defense purposes towards the Duke of Nassau, then it became the family domicile of the Duke of Solms in 1280. The Castle was rebuilt / upgraded, but also conquered and damaged many times – in particular during the 30 years-war.

Today, the castle contains a family museum and showcases various collections of antiques.

Burg Satzvey

Castle Satzvey (12th century; first time mentioned in 1368) in Mechernich / North Rhine-Westfalia. Every year in September the Castle host a medieval Tournament / knights festival for two days.

burghausen castle

Burghausen Castle (= longest castle worldwide with 1051 m), the oldest parts have been built in the 10th century (but in fact the Celts and Romans have been the first settlers). The Castle was mentioned first time in the year 1054.

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Glücksburg (= Good Luck Castle built 1582) is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe. It is the seat of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and was also used by the Danish kings. Situated on the Flensburg Fjord the castle is now a museum owned by a foundation, and is no longer inhabited by the ducal family. Its board of directors is chaired by Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, the current titular duke and head of the House of Glücksburg and House of Oldenburg.

eltz c astle

Eltz Castle located between Koblenz and Trier was built in the 9th century – starting as a Manor that was extended to a fortress. Burg Eltz was never destroyed in history. Therefore, the old lady is in quite good shape. She is still family-owned but is partially open for visitors.

Haus of Wettin

Wettin Castle (Saxony) is a former castle that stood near the town of Wettin on the Saale river in Germany, and which is the ancestral home of the House of Wettin, the dynasty that included several royal families, including that of the current ruling families of the United Kingdom and Belgium. That castle is a rebuilt ruin, used as part of a building that houses a school and other public institutions but other castles owned by the Wettin family, from the 15th century, still exist in Meissen,and on the Elbe river.

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Schloss Marienburg close to Hanover (Lower Saxony). The castle was built between 1858 and 1867 as a birthday present by King George V of Hanover (reigned 1851–1866) to his wife, Marie of Saxe-Altenburg. Between 1714 and 1837 there had been virtually no royal court in Hannover as the House of Hannover had ruled the kingdoms of Hannover and Britain by personal union, and so the Castle was also built to serve as a suitable summer seat for the House of Hannover in Germany. The British Royale are still closely related to the House of Hannover.

heidelberg castle

Heidelberg Castles is the Landmark of the City of Heidelberg. The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps.
The castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is served by an intermediate station on the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway that runs from Heidelberg’s Kornmarkt to the summit of the Königstuhl.
The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning bolt destroyed the upper castle. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.

hohenschwangau Castle

Castle Hohenschwangau (lit: Upper Swan County Palace) is a 19th-century palace in southern Germany. It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. It is located in the German village of Hohenschwangau near the town of Füssen, part of the county of Ostallgäu in South-Western Bavaria, Germany, very close to the border with Austria. In the 12th century it was originally a Fortress, later on it became the summer & hunting (Focus on: bears) residence of the Wittelsbacher. Fortunately, the Castle was not damaged in WWII. Today, Hohenschwangau is a very popular tourist attraction.

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. The third of three hilltop castles on the site, it is located atop Mount Hohenzollern, above and south of Hechingen in Baden-Württemberg. The first of three fortresses on the mountain was constructed in the early 11th century. None of the German emporeres stayed long-term in the Castle. In fact, it was a kind of show piece over the centuries.

Among the historical artifacts of Prussian history contained in the castle are the Crown of Wilhelm II, some of the personal effects of King Frederick the Great, and a letter from US President George Washington thanking Hohenzollern descendant Baron von Steuben for his service in the American Revolutionary War.

With over 350,000 visitors per year Hohenzollern castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany. The castle is privately owned by the House of Hohenzollern.

In 2015, parts of the 2016 thriller-horror film A Cure for Wellness were filmed at the Castle, closing it from 13–24 July 2015.Hohenzollern Castle as well as Peckforton Castle in England were also used in the filming of the 2017 TV adaption of The Worst Witch.

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Lichtenstein Castle was built 1840 and is located in the Reutlingen district / Baden-Württemberg. Of course, there have been other castles at the same location before (11th century). Lichtenstein has inspired poets & novelist (like Wilhelm Hauff), architects, movie-makers, computer game developers and business men. Actually, the castle was copied several times worldwide.

mespelbrunn water castle

Mespelbrunn Water Castle – Hamann Echter (vizedome of Aschaffenburg) got the house as a reward for his services against the Czechs (on 1st May 1412) and were allowed to add von / zu Mespelbrunn to his Family name. The Castle is located in the Spessart forrest, which was a hide-away for bandits. therefore, the Echters converted the manson to a Fortress quickly. Thanks to its hidden Location in the (at this time) wild, virgin forrest, the Castle was one of the very few lucky Castles that weren`t destroyed in the 30 yrs war.  Today, the family of the Counts of Ingelheim (the last Echter died 1665) are living in the Castle.

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Moritzburg is a fortified castle in Halle (Saale), Germany. The cornerstone of what would later become the residence of the Archbishops of Magdeburg was laid in 1484; the castle was built in the style of the Early Renaissance.
Since the end of the 19th century it has housed an arts museum which is recognised as being of national importance.

In 968, when the Archbishopric of Magdeburg was established by Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, he granted the archbishop his Giebichenstein Castle near Halle. Already in the 13th century powerful aristocrats could, by buying privileges, reduce the influence of the sovereign, the Archbishop of Magdeburg, on the town. Thus, Halle had practically reached a state of political autonomy in 1263.

In the 15th century a group of the important guilds formed an opposition and demanded representation in the city council, which was until then dominated by the urban aristocrats. In 1479, the opposition conspired with the sovereign and opened the gates of the city for the Archbishop’s troops. After sparse resistance, Archbishop Ernest II. of Saxony, who was only 14 years of age at the time, moved into the town. As a consequence, the town lost its earlier gained freedoms and it was determined to build a castle in order to gain better control over the town and keep it obedient and quiet.

The Moritzburg houses the art museum of the state Saxony-Anhalt. It has a collection of artworks mainly from the 20th and 21st century.

rastatt-castle

Rastatt Castle also known as Residenzschloss Rastatt, is a Baroque Schloss in Rastatt, Germany. The palace and the garden were built between 1700 and 1707 by the Italian architect Domenico Egidio Rossi for Margrave Louis William of Baden-Baden. Visitors can tour the restored Baroque interior and gardens.

The palace is also home to two museums, the “Wehrgeschichtliches Museum” (military history museum) and the “Erinnerungsstätte für die Freiheitsbewegungen in der deutschen Geschichte” (memorial site for the German liberation movement).

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Imperial Castle Cochem (Reichsburg) had its first documentary mention in 1130.

In 1151, it was occupied by King Konrad III, who declared it an Imperial castle. In 1688, the castle was overrun by French King Louis XIV’s troops in the course of the Nine Years’ War (known in Germany as the Pfälzischer Erbfolgekrieg, or War of the Palatine Suc-cession), and the following year, they destroyed it. The castle complex long lay in ruins before in 1868 it was bought by the Berlin businessman Louis Fréderic Jacques Ravené for 300 Goldmark and then reconstructed in the Gothic Revival style. Since 1978 it has been owned by the town of Cochem (Reichsburg GmbH).

sanssouci

Sanssouci is the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam, near Berlin. It is often counted among the German rivals of Versailles. While Sanssouci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park. The palace was designed/built by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff between 1745 and 1747 to fulfill King Frederick’s need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. The palace’s name emphasises this; it is a French phrase (sans souci), which translates as “without concerns”, meaning “without worries” or “carefree”, symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power.

schloss Drachenburg Königswinter

Drachenburg (= Dragon Castle) is a private villa in palace style constructed in the late 19th century. It was completed in only two years (1882–84) on the Drachenfels hill in Königswinter, a German town on the Rhine near the city of Bonn. Baron Stephan von Sarter (1833–1902), a broker and banker, planned to live there, but never did.
Today the Palace is in the possession of the State Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is served by an intermediate station on the Drachenfels Railway.

schloss nordkirchen

Nordkirchen Castle  is a palace situated in the town of Nordkirchen in the Coesfeld administrative district in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. The schloss was largely built between 1703 and 1734 and is known as the “Versailles of Westphalia” since it is the largest of the fully or partly moated Wasserschlösser in that region. It was originally one of the residences of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster.

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Schönburg Castle is a castle above the medieval town of Oberwesel in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Schönburg Castle was first mentioned in history between the years 911 and 1166.
From the 12th century, the Dukes of Schönburg ruled over the town of Oberwesel and had also the right to levy customs on the Rhine river. The most famous was Friedrich von Schönburg – a much-feared man known as “Marshall Schomberg” – who in the 17th century served as a colonel and as a general under the King of France in France and Portugal and later also for the Prussians and for William Prince of Orange in England.
The Schönburg line finally died out.
The castle was burned down in 1689 by French soldiers during the Palatinate wars.

After 200 yrs the Castle was rebuilt. Today the Castle is leased by the family Hüttl, who successfully runs a hotel & restaurant in the castle.

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Sigmaringen Castle was the princely castle and seat of government for the Princes of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. The first castle was mentioned in 1044.  It was rebuilt following a fire in 1893, and only the towers of the earlier medieval fortress remain. Schloss Sigmaringen was a family estate of the Swabian Hohenzollern family, a cadet branch of the Hohenzollern family, from which the German Emperors and kings of Prussia came. During the closing months of World War II, Schloss Sigmaringen was briefly the seat of the Vichy French Government after France was liberated by the Allies. The castle and museums may be visited throughout the year, but only on guided tours.

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The Löwenburg in Kassel (=Lions Castle) was built 1793. It was the summer residence and gravesite of the landgrave Wilhelm IX von Hessen-Kassel. From the art history perspective, the Castle is regarded as pathbreaking for the introduction of Neo-Gothic.

The Castle was seriously damaged in WWII. by the area bombing of the Royal Air Force and the US American Air Force but the damaged buildings / structures were rebuilt step by step. Further reconstruction work shall be completed by 2022.

wernigerode castle

Werningerode Castle

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Wartburg Castle

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Rosenberg Fortress

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Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

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Moyland Castle

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Ahrensburg Castle

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Marksburg

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Stahleck Castle

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Okay, okay… not to forget: The Neuschwanstein Castle!

Postcard No. 14: “Matsue” – A Quite Scary Bridge

Insights, Reisen, Travel, Uncategorized

Unbenannt

Grüße aus Matsue!

Nein, das ist kein russisches Gebirge, aber eine Fahrbahn, die die Städte Matsue und Sakaiminato in Japan verbindet. Die Autofahrer sollten den Sicherheitsgurt richtig anlegen bevor sie diese ungewöhnliche Eshima Ohashi Brücke überqueren. Man denke nur daran, dass Japan bekannt ist für Erdbeben und Taifuns. Mit einer Gesamtlänge von 1,7 km  und einer Breite von 11,3 m, ist sie die längste Brücke mit einem festen Rahmen in Japan und die 3.-längste Brücke in der Welt.

Die Brücke wurde als Drehort für eine Werbespot von Daihatsu Motor Co`s Tanti Minivan genutzt. Sie wird aus einem Blickwinkel gezeigt, der ihre Steigung übertreibt und mit Hilfe von Fototechnik außergewöhnlich steil aussehen lässt. Tatsächlich ist die Steigung auf der Seite der Shimane Präfektur mit 6,1 % und auf der Seite der Tottori Präfektur mit 5,1% recht komfortabel. Sie lässt sich also mit einem Durchschnittswagen gut bewältigen. Nichtsdestotrotz fühlt sich das Fahren auf der Brücke an wie eine Achterbahnfahrt.

 

Greetings from Matsue!

No, this is no Russian mountain, but a highway that connects Matsue and Sakaiminato in Japan. The car drivers are askes to put on their seat belt carefully before crossing this extraordinary Eshima Ohashi bridge. Think of the fact that Japan is known for earthquakes and Taifuns. At a total length of 1.7 km, of which the bridge part is 1.44 km long, and a width of 11.3 meters, it is the largest rigid frame bridge in Japan and the third largest in the world.

The bridge was used in a commercial for Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Tanto minivan. The commercial shows the bridge from an angle that exaggerates the slope of the bridge’s approach. Perspective compression by a telephoto lens makes the viewer believe that the bridge is extraordinarily steep. Daihatsu Motor wants you to believe that the bridge is frighteningly steep because it wants to show off its car’s strength. Actually, the bridge has a pretty comfortable gradient of 6.1% on Shimane Prefecture side and 5.1% on Tottori Prefecture side, nothing an average car can’t handle. Nevertheless, driving over the bridge is “like a roller-coaster ride”.

Okay, fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride!

 

eshima

 

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Postcard No. 6: “The Spreewald” – Time-out at the Gates of Berlin (Germany)

Nature, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
Boote im Spreewald

Hello to all of you,

Did you know that you can escape from the hustle & bustle of Berlin easily and quickly? The SPREEWALD (German for ‘Spree Forest’; in Lower Sorbian: Błota, i.e. ‘the Swamps’) might be your final resort located about 100 km South-East of Berlin.

The picturesque Spreewald in Brandenburg was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1991. Actually, about 18,000 species of flora and fauna have been counted.

It is well-known for its unique, traditional irrigation system, consisting of more than 200 small canals (called Fließe; total length: 1,300 km) within the 484-square-kilometre (187 sq mi) area. The landscape was shaped during the ice-age. Alder forests on wetlands and pine forests on sandy dry areas are characteristic for the region. Grasslands and fields can be found as well.

About 50,000 people live in the biosphere reserve (1998). Many of the People Living in the Spreewald are descendants of the first settlers in the Spreewald region, the Slavic tribes of the Sorbs/Wends. They have preserved their traditional language, customs and clothing to this day. In Lübbenau, there is a Special Museum that introduces the old culture of this minority. An open air Museum in Lehde showcases an entire reconstructed traditional Spreewald Village.

The Spreewald is a popular tourist destination that offers two aqua parcs including Wellness & spa and Fitness facilities in the area. The Spreewald is also known throughout Germany for the production of natural organic products like pickles, cucumbers, mustard, herbs etc..

You can explore this fascinating nature by doing idyllic boat trips in traditional punts or by yourself with a canoe. By land you can discover this beautiful countryside on a walking tour or by bike.

THE SPREEWALD – A TIME-OUT AT THE GATES OF BERLIN.

spreeeee

Postcard No. 2: Sylt – The Queen of the North Sea

Reisen, Sports, Tipps, Travel
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Hello,

Most people abroad think Germany is all about Bavaria, Alpes, Castles and Oktoberfest…That`s a pity because Germany is much more versatile.

Look at the North Frisian Island “SYLT” in the very North of Germany close to the Danish border for instance.

The island is well-known for its unique shape and its 40-km-long (25-mile) sandy beach that has a number of surf schools and also a nude section.

Sylt is also popular for second home owners, and many German celebrities who own vacation homes on “the island”. Thus, many of the wonderful, traditional Frisian-style houses with thatched roofs are owned by wealthy people now.

Sylt is frequently covered by the media in connection with its exposed situation in the North Sea and its ongoing loss of land during storm tides. Since 1927, Sylt has been connected to the mainland by the Hindenburgdamm causeway (today with a railway line on top).

Thanks to this Hindenburgdamm, the entire Island was turned into a Fortress during WWII. below the beautiful dunes at the shore, you can still find a few hidden bunkers.

In the past, the wealth of Sylt was dependent on fishing, whaling and oyster breeding. Today, Sylt and its healthy climate is a popular, sophisticated tourist destination for visitors with a more generuous holiday budget.

Sylt is an atrractive windsurfing & kite-surfing destination. The international Windsurf World Cup Sylt, established in 1984, is annually held at Westerland’s beach front.
Sailing, beach volleyball, horseback riding and golfing are also very popular.
Furthermore, the Island offers a wide range of Wellness & Spa packages.
Frequently, there is the opportunity to attend concerts, readings, arts seminars and exhibitions.
The visitors are also invited to make a trip to the seal sandbanks or to join a guided tour through the intertidal mudflat.

Of course, Sylt is famous for ist seafood (Lobster & oysters) but offers also all kind of alternative cuisines. The Island gives home to a number of high-class restaurants.

The Must-See on Sylt is the “Sansibar” Restaurant & Party Location (with an excellent cuisine) in the dunes that includes a fashion, souvenir & gift, wine shop – and runs also an online shop today.

sansibar
Sylt

Sylt is definetely worth a trip. Even in the high Season, you will find “your beach”. Except of Westerland (Capitol City) you won`t find many “construction sins” (ugly new Buildings). Sylt never supported mass tourism. This attitude might be snobbish but admittedly has got ist positive side effects…

Sylt offers relaxed life quality in all facettes.

Tipp No. 43: “Wattlaufen” – Walking on the ground of the North Sea to the next Island Neuwerk

Insights, Nature, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
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“Intertidal Mud-flat hiking” (Wattwandern) at the German North Sea coast –  a little adventure for the entire family.

Starting from Duhnen or Sahlenburg beach / Cuxhaven you can walk to the next Island called Neuwerk, have a piece of strawberry cake and a cup of coffee over there, and then return to the  main quickly in order not to be surprised by the rising flood / high tide. The clock will be your best buddy in addition to other hikers, who care for each other, of course. The later you start, the bigger and more powerful the tide-ways will be. If you`re a laggard, it might be therefore helpful to have your swimming toggs with you.

It is an amazing experience to literally walk over the bottom of the North Sea through a surrealistic landscape, where it is sometimes difficulty to retrieve the horizon line due to reflections, flickering air and the steaming ground in the summer heat. Heading for the Island Neuwerk, you might experience fata morgana-like phenomena.

Wadlopen

Of course, it is a special thrill to think of the (minor) risk of returning too late…In fact, there will be People who will remind or help you (e.g. to cross tideways “Priel” if the drift becomes stronger). For cases of emergency, there are “rescue baskets” on poles, which are numbered and equipped with radios to call a shuttle service. I am sure that you can hitchhike and ask horsemen for a lift too.

By the way, you can choose guided tours or you can walk on your own. In Cuxhaven / Duhnen, they are also offering tours with carts… or you enjoy the tour on the back of a horse. The latter is the ultimate fun for the horsemen but also for the horses who seem to enjoy the cushioned / elastic ground, the vastness, the fresh air and water too from my experience. Pure lust for life!

It is also fascinating to pass the waterways with big container ships and sailing boats by.  Most of the ground is stable / solid but there are also areas close to the beach at the main, which are very muddy, slimy and slippery… These areas are the perfect playground for kids and adults, who rediscover their inner child again. There are mudflat areas, where you can sink into the soft mud knee-deep or even up to the hips.

In the national mudflat park, you might meet seals, mitten crabs, various shells, rock worms (if you dig deep), jellyfishes, small fishes and different sea birds.

sprechmuscheln

“Mussel bed” and old-fashioned “mouthpieces” = in German language literally: “Talking Shells”
=> … Listen to the shells!

The mud shall be healthy. It is said that the mud ease skin deseases. In any case, the mud is an excellent peeling.

Mudflat walking is also known for its positive effects on your leg muscles and in particular your feet if you walk barfoot like the vast majority of people in the summertime. You will notice it in the evening. It feels like you got several hours non-stop TCM foot massage. You will walk on clouds. Promised.

Besides, expect to fall into a coma-like deep sleep in the night.  Kids & dogs will already pass out in the car on the way back home. Your chance to have some quality time & privacy with your partner after a wonderful day at the seaside…!

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Slippery mud – perfect for gliding, mud battles and more…
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Yes, you can take your dog with you. But please, test him if he can tolerate you and other people walking through deep water or swimming…or if he is too protective and becomes stressed because he thinks his human is in danger and needs to be rescued.

For instance, the Bernese Mountain Dog of my parents could enjoy neither the beach nor the Watt. Surprisingly, he was totally stressed trying to rescue his family and was close to a nervous breakdown, when my dad crossed a tideway.

Possibly, our dog would have felt more comfortable on the top of a glacier but unfortunately, we are not used to high mountains…

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“Mud Spaghetti” created by rock worms
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…sun, wind, water, friends, and horsepower – pure joy!
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No bird cage…but a safe place if the flood is faster than you.
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Carts Crossing a tideway.
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…the direction to the Island Neuwerk.
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Neuwerk – the only destination in walking distance.
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…Maybe a bit late? No problem. The carts are capable to swim.
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The Watt in summertime.
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The Watt in wintertime
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Cuxhaven – Duhnen beach, the mudflat entrance and exit (showers are available).
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Grounded under full sails.

Poem No. 149: “Time Traveling Mind – zeitreisender Geist” by Dave Alan Walker (Engl. / Deut.)

Gedichte, Oddities, Psychologie, psychology, Reisen, Travel, Uncategorized

Shape shifting images
of a time traveling mind
flying through the sky
in the blink of an eye

Not knowing
the year or the time
as I travel through
the centuries of my mind

One day I will find
peace of mind 

Translation:

Formwandelnde Bilder
eines zeitreisenden Geistes
fliegend durch den Himmel
in einem Wimpernschlag

Nicht wissend
das Jahr oder die Uhrzeit
reise ich durch
die Jahrhunderte meines Geistes.

Eines Tages werde ich
meinen inneren Frieden finden.

Postcard No. 18: “DÖRVEDEN” – Stay Overnight in a TREE INN in a WOLF CENTRE (Baumhausübernachtung im Wolf Centre)

Creatures, Nature, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
The Tree Inn in the 1st German Wolf  Centre
Wolf Pack in Dörveden

Most probably you have never heard of DÖRVEDEN….It is time to change this situation.

Nature, Wildlife Observation, Adventure but with Romantic, Comfort & No Risk?

The Wolf Centre Dörveden in Nether Saxony / Northern Germany is offering an unique opportunity to combine all of these aspects.

Dörveden gives home to Germany`s first wolf sanctuary & breeding station, a science & education centre, a wildlife park plus horse stable for guests and their horses. Among other accommodations (like Tipis, tents, camper vans) the wolf centre offers a luxurious tree inn right next to wolves compound!

The 5 metres-high tree inn  is equiped for max. 4 persons. It possess a furnitured roof deck and offers hotel-like comfort (toilet, TV & internet, heating etc.). The tree inn even contains a whirlpool. But the major attraction is its location, of course. It is an unforgetable experience to observe and listen to the pack of beautiful grey wolves who were raised by hand, as far as I know.  

It is also possible to do a guided tour through the wolf compound for closer observation and for taking pictures. 

The Wolf Centre Dörveden is a romantic destination for a weekend trip with your family, friends or sweetheart.

Here are a few impressions…

For further details: https://www.wolfcenter.de/Presse-10-Company-portrait.html

Postcard No. 29: “Ulm – The Tallest Church of the World” (Germany)

arts, Insights, Oddities, Reisen, Tipps

The Ulm Minster is a Lutheran church located in Ulm, State of Baden-Württemberg (Germany). It is the tallest church in the world, and the 5th tallest structure built before the 20th century, with a steeple measuring 161,5 m (530 ft)… For further measurements, please scroll down at the end of the post.

The groundbreaking is dated in 1377. The city-owned Ulmer Münster in the city centre replaced the old Church “Ennet Feldes”(built 600 n. Christi) in front of the gates of Ulm city because during the numerous wars (like the 30 yrs War) the citizens often couldn´t attend church. The Münster was built on the location of another smaller, old church called “Our Beloved Woman” (dated 1220). The construction of the Ulmer Münster was completed in 1890, after 513 years of tough work. This period includes a couple of long-term interruptions due to wars, economic stagnation periods and power play waves.

The “Free City of Ulm” transformed into a fine arts cluster that built up an international trade, training, partnership & job network for artists and craftsmen

Ulm became famous for its highly skilled architects, artists and excellent craftsmen who were working on the church. The pool of talents and innovative senior professionals (entire families with several generations) with signature techniques was called “the Ulmer School” (late gothic). These experts often worked as expats in Europe and contributed to the construction of famous cathedrals & churches in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain etc. 55 painters (walls, glass, facades, arts), 25 sculptors and woodcarvers are still known by their names today. In many cases, the artists cooperated with each other. The beautiful high altar in Blaubeuren is an example for the cooperation of 3 artists belonging to the Ulmer Schule.

Blaubeurener High Altar, 1494 (carved by
Michael Erhart, painted by Bernhard Strigel and Hans Holbein the Eldest).

Originally, the church was catholic. But in a referendum in 1530/31, the citizens of Ulm converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. Ulm Minster became a Lutheran church.

When I visited the famous, very beautiful traditional Christmas market in Ulm in front of the Ulmer Münster I was very much impressed. In fact, the top of steeple was partially covered by clouds. The illuminated church in the dark looked like a huge space rocket or spaceship ready for departure! Imagine the impression the church left in medieval times, when people didn´t know skyscrapers etc. The Münster must have been a mind-blowing demonstration of power and closeness to heaven.

Although sometimes referred to as Ulm Cathedral because of its great size, the church is not a cathedral as it has never been the seat of a bishop. Though the towers and all decorative elements are of stone masonry, attracting the attention of visitors, most of the walls, including the façades of the nave and choir, actually consist of visible brick. Therefore, the building is sometimes referred to as a brick church.

Ulm Minster was begun in the Gothic era but not completed until the late 19th century. Nevertheless, all of the church except the towers and some outer decorations was complete, unlike e.g. Cologne Cathedral, where less than half of the work had been done, when it ceased.

The Ulmer Iconoclasm in 1531 and the intentionally self-sabotage of the municipal authorities

In the course of the painful and also violent reformation process, Ulm experienced an iconoclasm. Many religious art pieces, such as 60 altars, sculptures and other artifacts were destroyed by the municipal council reps. But astonishingly, the municipal council acted responsibly and warned the owners and sponsors of the art pieces in advance. Therefore, a lot of artifacts could be rescued and stored in a warehouse that was well-known to the authorities. Thanks to this self-sabotage, you can find antique art works in the Ulmer Münster but also in little churches located in the surroundings of Ulm city.

In WWII, a devastating air raid hit Ulm on 17 December 1944, which destroyed virtually the entire town west of the church to the railway station and north of the church to the outskirts. The church itself was barely damaged. However, almost all the other buildings of the town square (Münsterplatz) were severely hit and some 80% of the medieval centre of Ulm was destroyed.

Today, visitors can climb the 768 steps that lead to the top of the minster’s spire. At 143 m (469 ft) it gives a panoramic view of Ulm in Baden-Württemberg and Neu-Ulm in Bavaria and, in clear weather, a vista of the Alps from Säntis to the Zugspitze. The final stairwell to the top (known as the third Gallery) is a tall, spiraling staircase that has barely enough room for one person.

For some details about the arts in the church and its sponsor (like Einstein), please scroll down.

The Ulmer Münster
The Genesis above the main portal
One of many dragon gargoyles.
High Altar (called Hutz Altar) by Martin Schaffner, 1521

Measurements

  • The height of the steeple is 161.53 metres (530.0 ft). Ulm Münster is the world’s tallest church
  • The church has a length of 123.56 metres (405.4 ft) and a width of 48.8 metres (160 ft).
  • The building area is approximately 8,260 square metres (88,900 sq ft).
  • The height of the central nave is 41.6 metres (136 ft), whilst the lateral naves are 20.55 metres (67.4 ft) high.
  • The volume of the edifice is some 190,000 cubic metres (6,700,000 cu ft).
  • The weight of the main steeple is estimated at 51,500 tonnes (50,700 long tons; 56,800 short tons).
  • The church seats a congregation of 2,000.
  • In the Middle Ages, before pews were introduced, it could accommodate 20,000 people, when the population of the town was about 5,000.

Works of Art

  • Late medieval sculptures include the tympanum of the main Western entrance depicts scenes from the Genesis. The central column bears a sculpture, the Man of Sorrows, by the local master Hans Multscher.
  • The 15th century choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin the Elder, made from oak and adorned with hundreds of carved busts are among the most famous pews of the Gothic period.
  • The pulpit canopy is by Jörg Syrlin the Younger.
  • The original high altar was destroyed by the iconoclasts of the Reformation. The current altarpiece from the early 16th century is a triptych, showing figures of the Holy Family and the Last Supper in the predella.
  • The five stained glass windows of the apse, which is in the form of half a decagon, show Biblical scenes and date to the 14th and 15th century.
  • The main organ of the church was destroyed by iconoclasts and replaced in the late 16th century. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is known to have played it in 1763. For some decades it was the largest organ in existence. In the late 1960s it was reconstructed to solve acoustic problems of reverberation.
  • In 1877, the Jewish congregation of the synagogue of Ulm—including Hermann Einstein, the father of Albert Einstein—donated money for a statue of the Biblical prophet Jeremiah. The figure was placed below the main organ.
  • Later renovations in the modern era added gargoyles and a sculpture, The Beggar, by the expressionist Ernst Barlach.