Pigs, Peaches, and Grand Old Estates

We are filling up (and passing) the time by showing Mum, and visiting for the first time ourselves in one case, some of the sweetest spots around here. And sweet they are, particularly in this unbelievable summer, and sweet it is to explore places further afield, now that we feel so at home in our own hood. If there is a better way to count down to a baby than visiting grand old country estates and sprawling animal parks, picking the last of summer’s flowers, buying kilograms of fruit at the local weekly markets (the peaches this year are the best I have eaten in a long time), eating cake, and lunching by the sea, I don’t know it.

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On a warm afternoon last week, we ticked something off our To Do list, and took Mum to one of my favourite places up here, the animal park Arche Warder. I have written about the wonderful conservation work this place does here, and the story behind how I came to find it. It truly is a lovely park, and this time around they had three litters of the endangered Angeln Saddleback (Angler Sattelschwein) pigs who come from Schleswig Holstein and are absolutely, whoppingly enormous. My Mum also hopped into the Ferkelstube and gave the teenaged Chinese Meishan pigs a little pat.
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The weekend saw us back out in the countryside, sweating and enjoying the fresh air, at Gut Panker. Now, when SG’s mother floated the idea of a trip out to Gut Panker, she gave it the logline of ‘horses and design shops by the sea’ (which is actually a see, a lake, not the sea as in the ocean). My mother, who has a passion for horses that runs as deep as the passion she has for her children, agreed instantly.

Gut Panker was once a huge estate owned by an old noble family, and then sold to the Swedish King, Frederick I, in 1739. He built quite the enormous villa (the Herrenhaus) upon it and, I have been led to believe, either installed his children from his mistress there, or gave it to them upon his passing. In any case, the villa, which was built around 1800 and remains standing in beautiful condition today, was at some point inhabited by Prince Frederik of Hesse, and now belongs to the Hessian House Foundation.

Today, the estate is a village, some houses are privately owned, other are boutiques and galleries. The stables house Trakehner horses (which were out in surrounding fields when we were there, although my Mum tracked down several for photos) and strolling around this perfectly preserved village, with its thatched houses, rolling meadows and that big white Herrenhaus makes for the definition of an entirely pleasant day. The one blight on an otherwise lovely Kaffee und Kuchen at the little restaurant, was blindingly appalling service, but we can put that down to a bad day. The cake, regardless, was delicious.

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After the Gut Panker, we dropped in to say hi to the sea, and to eat a Fischbrötchen. Obviously.

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