It’s Always Grey in Laboe

Well, that’s not true. Let me qualify; it’s mostly grey in Laboe when we’re there. The sun does shine over this village, we have seen it once. And I believe a few weekends ago, when our Münsteranian visitors went out for the day, the sun was blinding. But most of the time, when we head out to take someone to the U-Boot or Naval Memorial, to eat the beeriest of beer-battered fish with an ice cream chaser, it’s grey and nippy. On the weekend just passed, we headed for Laboe with my cousin and the weather did not let us down. Not a sliver of sun in sight. Lovely, thick cloud coverage. The water was green, the sand almost white. But in a way this beach village suits a grey sky, even though the bright Strandkörbe look a little innocuous jostling merrily next to each other, and even though the […]

Explore Northern Germany

Start Here How to Speak Like a North German What I Know About North Germans North vs South Some Thoughts on North German Cuisine Summer up North Now Go Explore … Pretty Pockets of Kiel (And a few more …) Best Coffee in Kiel Lübeck Holtenau Historical Places/Monuments Laboe (and Laboe in the sunshine …) The Vikings of Hedeby Freilichtsmuseum Molfsee Commonwealth Cemetary Beaches Eckenförde Kalifornien Strand Stein Möltenort//Heikendorf Sylt The Baltic Sea: A Peculiar Beauty Parks/Gardens/Animals Arche Warder Kiel’s Botanic Gardens Gut Panker Kieler Woche Kieler Woche Posts Kieler Woche’s Windjammer Parade      


I’ve been in a relationship with north Germany since 2011. I think I first came up here in February 2011 and it was ferociously cold. I walked along the Linie for 10 metres, drank a hot chocolate in a cafe, and ate a lot of Joeys Pizza. A month later I was back, and SG took me to the beach. I remember getting a coffee order completely wrong and being called a ‘cute tourist’ and getting into the car with three awful filter coffees, two of which SG had to drink. We wound down the windows and watched the temperature climb. Spring was on her way, and the young (and he was young) man sitting next to me, joked that ‘next year’ we would have a convertible and drive to the beach with the roof down. I distinctly recall thinking how far ahead he was looking, how confident he must have been in our […]

Geh nach Norden

I say Germany, most people say Oktoberfest, Lederhosen, Wurst, Bavarian beer, mountains, snow, Schnitzel, Berlin, the Black Forest. At a pinch, perhaps images of the Pfalz’s vineyards, or Dresden’s architecture, spring to mind. Likely enormous castles, or age-old Kloster breweries, and rolling green hills. But what about beaches, seafood, sailing and water-sports? Harbours and ports, the fjord, the coast, tug boat trips to beach villages, Strandkörbe, herby northern bier and strange seafood dishes? Marzipan, Hanseatic cities, naval history, seagulls, and cruise ships to Scandinavia? Instead of ski holidays in Austria, what about beach breaks in Denmark? Those things have come to define my Germany, as an honoury Kielerin. I love the north of this country, for how very different it is to the general understanding of Germanness, and how it has expanded my own understanding of what it means to live in, belong to, and come from Germany. I seem to have absorbed the pride that pulses […]

Sunday Ausflug: Thwarted Backfisch

The car battery needed a run, so despite my adamant claims I would not be leaving the house on Sunday given the minus temperatures, we drove out to Laboe. The plan was to park metres from our preferred fish restaurant, roll from car to warm restaurant, ingest a large piece of battered, deep-fried fish and some sort of potato accompaniment, roll back to the car and drive home, battery charged and bellies full. Despite having scarves and hats, in a foolhardy move we slipped only our jackets on, for the 20 metre dash from car to restaurant. Completely obviously, the restaurant was closed. Now, I may speak only for myself here, but something happens to my capacity for thought and decision making in the cold. It freezes. My whole brain, following the rest of my body, freezes. Slowly, limb by limb, neuron by neuron, my reptilian self shuts down. My […]

Summer up North

I may be completely lacking in objectivity as I boldly claim that, come summer in Germany – real summer – there is no better place in this country to be, than up north. You can keep your mountains and your lakes, I’ll take the open sea, salty hair and sandy feet. Days on the beach and afternoons with a drink on the fjord. Strolls through the cool forest and that glimpse of blue through the thicket of green. (Oh how I love that moment when water comes into view. I remember as a kid, driving to Manly to visit family friends, and there is a hill that you crest just before the water comes into sight, blue and sparkly. It’s like the drive to Macmasters; you climb a little, just before you wind down to the beach. Up there, it’s blue for miles.) Coastal cities come alive in the summer, […]

Schietwetter & Eating Volksfest Style

With just four full days remaining of our city’s biggest festival, and the world’s largest sailing event, you will be pleased to know, the weather is atrocious. Beyond bad. Grey, wet, depressing, cold. Summer has nicked off, or is smoking behind the toilets with no interest in coming out to play. Consequently, my mood is grey, wet, depressing, and cold. My jacket sleeves are itchy about my wrists. My legs are wondering when I am going to stop wearing pants and pop on a swishy skirt. ‘You did it once, a few weeks ago! That glorious hot day in Laboe! What happened?’ I don’t know, legs, I don’t know. Die Lüdde, who by now should be kicking bare legs about, is still in stockings when we go outside. She also has a cold, as if to prove how cold it is. And Jesus, if I hear one more person from […]