Lost Art Nr. 4

This fourth Lost Art photo presents a true meaning when it comes to markers. 😉 This was found near the salt fields (Salzwiese) on the western side of the peninsula of Holnis, northeast of Glücksburg. Only a couple meters from that was an observation deck, where one could watch waterfowl roaming about along the Flensburg Fjord, let alone enjoy the view of the landscape. Why this bike helmet was placed at the pole is uncertain. We do know that it had a cool design logo on the sides and if taken and washed, it would make for a perfectly new, but used bike helmet.

Yet the biker who left this helmet on the pole, had left it there for a reason. Was it for decoration or for improving the signage along the trail? Was it for a selfie or for angering the wildlife naturalists at NABU? We don’t know, but it sure left a set of mixed impressions among us birdwatchers, who were scaling the area in search of Holnis’ waterfowl.

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Photo Flick Nr. 48

This Photo Flick has a photo not taken by the author but by another source, namely Glücksburg Living, whose Instagram page can be found here. This picture deserves recognition for even though the area where this picture was taken is quite beautiful- namely the Glücksburg/ Holnis area- one of the places where one can swim, jet ski, stand paddle, meditate, shoot some photos of sea gulls, eat matjes sandwiches and drink a good Flensburger beer all in one day, one graffiti sprayer tried his/her best with the English, done on one of the sheds at an unknown location. 😉 It makes a person wonder if that was “Sound-based English, Germanized English (gedeutschtes Englisch), or simply Denglish.”

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In any case, it was just too cute to ignore. And with that said, I will simply leave it and move on. 😉

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Photo Flick Nr. 36- Covid Special: Time for Another, Much Stricter Lockdown

As I write this entry, Germany is about to experience a steep climb in the number of confirmed cases of CoVid-19 in the country. After having spent weeks with anywhere between 2000 and 2600 cases a day, today’s report of 4058 new cases makes it the first time the country has ever experienced cases that were over 3000 since April. And already, we’re repeating the same mistakes when it comes to containing the spread of the virus.

As you can see in the pictures, overcrowded beaches were a symbol of the government’s plan to declare certain travel destinations a high-risk area, meaning those who return from those regions must either quarantine themselves or prove that they tested negative for the virus. End result: travel within Germany and with it, hours stuck on the motorways because of traffic jams, overcrowded campgrounds and overcrowded beaches, like this one at Holnis, northeast of Flensburg. The photos were taken in August of this year during our stay at the beach.

At that point the number of new cases were hovering between 500 & 800 a day. With colder weather around the corner come the increase in the number of cases. With the high numbers come more travel restrictions, leading to fall break becoming the same as what we saw this past summer…

And with the announcement of restricting the number of hotel guests from other states and regions where there are Corona hotspots will create more restrictions in traveling and more chaos. More chaos means more irresponsibility. More irresponsibility, well…..

We are about to experience the second wave, historically known as the worst of the waves, when looking at the Spanish Flu of a century ago. The flu came in waves and it took six years until life returned to normal, thanks to the flu vaccine and the improvements in public health.

With the Covid-19 virus, it’s a totally different story because society has been trying to return to a normal that had existed before the outbreak. Vaccines are being rushed. Businesses fear being wiped out but are concerned that they could be liable for the virus. Families fear for their income but they don’t want to be infected. Children should learn in schools but they want to be careful. As long as the vaccine is not available, we will still live in fear that we could all be infected with some of us perishing in the process. We’re seeing this in the USA, India and Brazil, and we’re starting to see the second wave affect Europe as well.

While we can rush with the vaccine, we need to be realistic and expect one to come within 1-2 years. While we don’t want to wear masks, if we have to, we must wear the masks and not only save ourselves but also the lives of others. While we want to return to normal, the sad truth is we will never see that normal and it’s time to accept it.

So instead of restricting traveling, we should enforce another lockdown- a stricter one. It will save many more lives than when we try surgical measures like what we’re seeing right now. Governments should consolidate and regulate all businesses and help them through no matter how long the lockdown will last. And this lockdown should be a longer one- until the vaccine is made available. Schools and work should be from home. Events should be postponed or cancelled until it’s absolutely safe to have them- and in reasonable numbers. And no travel unless absolutely necessary. It may hinder the education system, but it will encourage children to learn practical skills from home and encourage teachers to engage in digital teaching. It may affect businesses and the economies, but it will force companies to redo the way businesses is being done and encorage home office but less global travel. It will affect the tourism industry, but it will force us to reinvent ourselves and become more environmentally conservative. Why travel to an exotic land when we can travel locally?

We haven’t learned our lessons from our first lockdown. With the second one on the way, maybe this one will be the wake-up call we need to finally make the changes necessary.

Glucksburg Castle

One of the jewels of the Holnis Peninsula, the Castle at Glucksburg, located on Lake Glucksburg near the town’s city center, is the symbol of unity between Germany and Scandanavia. It is also the symbol of the town of Glucksburg, located between Flensburg and the northernmost tip of the peninsula. Built under the direction of John the Great, son of Danish King Christian III in 1587, it has withstood the test of time for 425 years, going through five generations of kingdoms consisting of the royalties of Denmark and Saxony before becoming part of the kingdom today, the kingdom of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg. Up until the defeat of the German empire in 1918, the castle was inhabited by the powerful royalty, using it partially as a permanent place of residence and partially as summer residence. This included Pricess Augusta-Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustinburg and her sister, Caroline-Mathilda, who was married to Prince Ferdinand. Between 1898 until their forced exile in 1919, the castle was a platform for many summer gatherings, making Glucksburg a popular place to visit.  The current tenant of the castle, Prince Christoph of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg is the great-grandson of Caroline-Mathilda.

Today, the castle serves as a museum, with tens of thousands of tourists visiting it each year. It still retains its original form, allowing people to visit four stories worth of history inside the white walls, overlooking the lake on all four sides. Apart from the guest rooms and dining halls, the castle houses a chapel, where wedding ceremonies still take place every year. It also has a dungeon in the cellar, where Prussians made extensive use of it during the conquest of Schleswig-Holstein in torturing its prisoners. Relicts from that period still exist today.  The courtyard located on land still serves its function as a venue for many festivals that take place every year. The castle and the courtyard were once accessible through only one stone arch bridge built in 1859. Earlier this year, another bridge was built connecting the castle with the Rosarium, a gardens area located just east of the castle.

But if one is intimidated by the fact that no photography and filming is allowed inside the castle, or if the tour is very long (from experience, it takes 2-3 hours), then the view of the castle from the outside is enough for people to see and to photograph. The castle can be seen from any end of Lake Glucksburg as well as from the main highway connecting Holnis and Flensburg. How impressive are the views, perhaps these photos will help you. My wife and I compiled some photos of the castle that will convince you that the next time you are in the Holnis vicinity, that a stop at Glucksburg and the castle is well worth it.

Here’s a link to some more information about the castle: http://www.schloss-gluecksburg.de/

Photos:

The castle courtyard. A restaurant, tourist information center and souvenir shop now occupies these buildings

Bridge leading to the castle courtyard

Hiatus at Holnis


For the third time in three years, the author took a two-week trip to Flensburg and the surrounding area, but this time with some company. Some of the articles to come will deal with the summer trip.
Here is a question I have for those who love travelling or taking a vacation in the summer time, regardless of where you are living: What is your favorite travel destination in the summer time? And what was the most memorable trip you have ever taken (regardless of whether it was by yourself or with family)?
For many living in Germany, there are two favorite places to go in the year: the Alps in the winter time for skiing, rock climbing and having fun in the snow, and the Baltic Sea in the summer time, to cool off in the water, walk in the wild and visit the places of interest. While we spent a couple weeks on the island of Usedom last year (which features the key tourist communities of Ahlbeck, Bansin and Heringsdorf on the German side and Swinemunde on the Polish side, this year’s Baltic Sea trip took us to the other side of the Baltic sea coast, namely Flensburg and the peninsula of Holnis.
While there has been a lot to say about Flensburg based on my observations (and more to say about the city in the coming columns), what is so special about Holnis?  The peninsula is approximately 8 km long and 3 km wide and is the northernmost tip of Germany, subtracting the island of Sylt, which is only accessible via train crossing a dam connecting it and the mainland. If one wants to try local specialties and enjoy fun on the beach without having to face overcrowding, then this is the place to be.
Holnis features the city of Gluecksburg, home of the castle which recently turned 425 years old and was built for a royal family, whose ties are link to Denmark, England and France. The city of 4,500 inhabitants also has a health spa and swimming complex in addition to its beaches on the western side and the port, where ships travelling to and from Flensburg come in. It also has a ranch on the southwestern end of the city, which provides people with a chance to go horseback riding. Gluecksburg used to have a rail line connecting it to Flensburg and Kappeln. Yet the line was discontinued in 1952 and the railway station was converted to a city library and bus station, where bus lines connecting Holnis, Wees and Flensburg stop there on the hour.
From there going to the end of the peninsula, one will run across villages, beaches and natural green areas that provide people with an opportunity to do whatever they want to. In Bockholm (2 km north of Gluecksburg), there is golfing possibilities nearby, even though golfing in Germany can be very expensive. I checked out the prices at the golf course, only to find that unless you have $250 for a round of 18 holes and people with as deep of pockets as you do, you are better off golfing in the States, where you can pay a tenth of the amount and still have fun. Bockholm has the lone general store where you can purchase virtually everything you need for food and supplies without having to travel to Gluecksburg or even Flensburg, even the ingredients for the Flensburg Flotilla drink (a recipe is enclosed below). Two kilometers to the west is Schausende, and its famous lighthouse- the only one on the west end of the peninsula that guides ships and yachts to and from Flensburg along the Fjord. The other ones can be found on the Danish side. Here in Schausende, one may see a lot of buildings resembling hotels and resorts. Sadly though, they are developed only from private residents with little beaches around for them to go swimming. While many do enjoy a good sunset, there is room for improvement. Going beyond Schausende, one will see natural habitats extending to the very tip of the western part of the peninsula. Much of it has been protected by federal law and there are even restrictions with regards to entering the natural habitats and breeding grounds, which are occupied by sea gulls and various forms of geese and ducks. But it does not mean one cannot walk or even bike in that area, for a trail exists both along along the west bank of the peninsula, going past North Bridge and the bogs,  climbing up The Cliff, the highest point of the peninsula at 45 meters high.
If one wants to go swimming or enjoy the delicacies, one has to cross the main highway to the eastern end of the peninsula. There, all of the eating, recreational and even lodging and camping possibilities can be found in the villages of Drei and Holnis and along the six kilometer stretch of beach reaching the very tip of the eastern side of the peninsula. If one wants to stay in a cottage overlooking the lake, it is possible to do that without having to worry about the costs for renting that and the bikes that go along with that. We did just that and enjoyed the view of the beach, which was just two minutes away by foot.  You can do a whole lot while at the beach apart from swimming, snorkeling and digging for shrimp and clam shells. One can take the paddle boat for an hour and go along the coastal area. The same applies when renting a four-wheel tandem bike and going along the bike trail.  For sports extremists, there is wind and kite surfing (which I’ll write about in a separate column). And the most relaxing sport can be found in mini-golf, which is right next door to the cottages where we stayed.
However, one cannot do everything for free, especially going for a swim. The beaches of Holnis were the first ones I’ve seen where one has to pay in order to use it. Between 8:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening, one is required to pay up to 5 Euros per person per day to use the beach or use the Ostsee Card, a card where there are discounts for places to visit and other things to purchase. These are usually available through the campgrounds and cottage providers, as well as local stores in Gluecksburg. Those caught without proof (either the card or a beach payment for use receipt) face a fine of 25 Euros. While it is unimaginable to charge people to use the beach, the reason behind it is to stem the flow of tourists visiting the area, and with that, potential to alter the landscape of the area to one’s disadvantage. This includes overcrowding and littering, something that we saw at Usedom Island last year because of its popularity. The concept may be absurd, but it makes sense so that everyone can use the area and come away happy. It would not be surprising if other regions along the Baltic and North Seas, let alone other places outside of Germany either has a similar policy or will implement it in the future.
Local specialties are plentiful to find in this region. One can enjoy various plates dealing with fish, crab and shrimp, including eggs and shrimp platter, smoked fish and matjes filet sandwiches, the third of which is the flag ship specialty of Schleswig-Holstein. One will find them virtually everywhere, among them, the Faehrhaus Restaurant in Holnis, located only two kilometers from the eastern tip of the peninsula. The restaurant used to be a shipping port that existed in the 17oos before it was converted into a restaurant in the 1950s. But the most famous food in this region is roasted potatoes with onions and meat slices. It is usually fried in oil and can be eaten either alone or with other main dishes dealing with meat and fish. The Strand Pavilion in Drei is one of the restaurants in the region that serves the finest roasted potatoes. It is a family business that offers a wide array of entrees that are affordable for everyone, and whose owners are very friendly and do everything possible to make the customer happy.
But the trip to the region is not complete without seeing the sun rise and set, which presents a spectacular site for everyone to see. The best places to see them are at the eastern tip as well as along the western end south of The Cliff. One may be lucky to see the sun rise and set with a sailboat on the horizon. But that requires staying for some time and having some luck.
While there are a lot of photos worth showing of the island, I’ve picked out the top 25 photos worth seeing, six of which can be found here, with all of them being available via flickr, which can be viewed by clicking here. Information on the Flensburg Files’ availability on flickr can be found here. Hope you enjoy the pics. Maybe they will give you an incentive to consider travelling to the region sometime in the near future, especially in the summer time, when there is a lot going on. More articles on Flensburg, Gluecksburg and Holnis  are on the way both here as well as in its sister column the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles.

Photos:

The Cliff

Sunset at a homestead near the tip of Holnis Peninsula

Sunset at the tip of Holnis Peninsula

Recipe for Flensburg Flotilla:
The beverage is in connection with the themes that are typical for Flensburg and the Holnis region: apples, beer and rum. Created in 2010, the recipe calls for the following:
1 beer mug
45% must have apple juice
45% must have beer (Flensburger or any beer that is pilsner (with herbs). Becks Beer is also useful).
10% must consist of Jamaica Rum (Pott, Hansen’s, or anything similar. No Captain Jack as it is too fizzy). Must be 40-proof.

Flensburg Files News Flyer 5 September 2012

There were a lot of events that happened while I was on hiatus for a few weeks, two of which were spent back in Flensburg and the surrounding area with my family. Most of the events have a zero at the end of each number, marking some events that should not have happened but they did. However some high fives are included in the mix that are deemed memorable for Germany, and even for this region. Here are some short FYIs that you may have not heard of while reading the newspaper or listening the news, but are worth noting:

Rostock-Lichterhagen:

22-24 August marked the 20th anniversary of the worst rioting in the history of Germany since the Kristallnacht of 1938. During that time, Lichterhagen, a suburb of Rostock, the largest city in Mecklenburg-Pommerania in northeastern Germany was a refugee point for Roma and Vietnamese immigrants. However, it was a focus of three days of clashes between residents and right-wing extremists on one side, and the refugees on the other. Fires broke out in the residential complex where the refugees were staying, causing many to escape to the roof. Hundreds of people were injured in fighting, while over 1000 were arrested, most of them right wing extremists originating as far as the former West Germany. The incident cast a dark shadow over the city and its government for not handling the issue of foreigners  properly, let alone having trained police officers to end the conflict. It also set off the debate dealing with the problem of right-wing extremism in Germany, especially in the former East Germany, where neo-nazis remained underground until after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Over 70% of the refugees affected by the violence left Rostock after the incident. President Gauck attended the 20th anniversary ceremony on 24 August and spoke about the dangers to democracy.

More info on the incident can be found here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riot_of_Rostock-Lichtenhagen; http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16194604,00.html

 

Munich:

Today marks the 40-year anniversary of the Munich Olympics Massacre. A Palestinian terrorist group stormed the a house where 11 Israelis were living, held them hostage and later killed all of them as the police tried to set them free. It overshadowed a then successful Olympic Games, which was the first for Germany since hosting the Games in 1936 in Berlin. Germany was in the process of reconciling with the Jews after the Holocaust, only to be reminded painfully through the event that it had a long way to go in order to become a multi-cultural state and be able to mend its relations with the Jews. Since that time, the country has long since healed from the wounds of the terrorist, the relations with Israel and the Jewish community have improved dramatically, but memories of the event are still there and will not be forgotten.  Info here.

The famous slogan that was found throughout all of Sonderburg. Better luck next time.

Aarhus:

Every year in Europe, there is a city that is nominated as a Capital of Culture, based on the cultural diversity and economic state. During that year, a variety of festivals and events marking the city’s heritage take place, drawing in three times as many people on average than usual. While this year’s title goes to Maribor (Slovakia) and Guimares (Portugal) and the hosts for 2013 goes to Marseilles (France) and Kosice (Slovakia), Aarhus (Denmark) outbid Flensburg’s Danish neighbor to the north, Sonderburg to be the 2017 European Capital. It is the second city in Denmark to host this title (Copenhagen was the Cultural Capital in 1996). Had Sonderburg won, it would have joined Flensburg to host the event, which would have made Flensburg the fourth German city to host the event. Both cities will continue with joint projects to draw in more people to visit and live in the region. Berlin (1988), Weimar (1999) and Essen (2010) were the other German cities that were Cultural Capitals since the initiative was approved in 1985. More information here:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Capital_of_Culture

Mirror reflection of Gluecksburg Castle. Photo taken during the 425th birthday celebration.

Low attendance at the open-air church service due to hot and humid weather.

Gluecksburg:

The castle of Gluecksburg, located northeast of Flensburg,  celebrated its 425th anniversary during the weekend of 18-19 August, with concerts and an open-air church service. Attendance was low due to warm and humid weather, plus it had celebrated the 12th annual Beach Mile a weekend earlier. The castle was built to house of the Royal Family of King Christian IX of Gluecksburg-Sonderburg, whose family bloodline covers five countries including the UK and France. The Castle was vacated after World War I when the Royalty was forced into exile but was later converted into a museum. The castle is one of a few that is surrounded by a lake, making it accessible only by bridge. More information on the castle will be presented in another separate article.

 

50 Years of Soccer in Germany:

Germany is now in its second month of the three-tiered German Bundesliga season, which marks its 50th anniversary. Initiated in 1962, the league featured 16 teams that originated from five different leagues in Germany, including ones from Muenster, Berlin, Munich, Dortmund and Cologne. The league now features three top flight leagues (the top two featuring 18 teams each and the third league (established in 2008) featuring 20 teams). To learn more about how the German Bundesliga works and read about its history, a couple links will help you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu%C3%9Fball-Bundesliga

http://www.dfb.de/index.php?id=511741

A couple articles pertaining to German soccer is in the mix, as the Files did a segment on the problem with German soccer. The first two can be viewed here:

Part I

Part II

What was that? I’m being photographed? Well then, here you go!

Flensburg Files now on flickr:

Available from now on, the Flensburg Files is now available on flickr, together with its sister column, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. Just type in FlensburgBridgehunter12 and you are there. You will have an opportunity to view the photos taken by the author and comment on them as you wish. Subscriptions are available. The Files is still available through Twitter and Facebook where you can subscribe and receive many articles that are in the mix. One of which deals with a tour of the Holnis region, which is in the next column.