Sparkly Fjords & Cobblestone Streets

I believe I was last heard banging on about my dislike of April’s changeable weather, and the pithy little rhyme the Germans utter whenever it snows, hails, and blows a gale all in one day.

In the intervening time between my last blog post and now,  you’ll be pleased to know I have had absolutely no cause to complain as the April days roll by. The weather has been completely splendid, which is a fortunate thing, because my parents are in town (which is why I have been a little quiet this week).

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You can only imagine the kilometres we have strolled, walking off all kinds of Kuchen and Easter treats. Chocolate is difficult to avoid at the best of times in this country, but it practically pours from the sky around Easter (and Christmas, and in ice cream form in summer … so … all year round) and we are only two giant rabbits into polishing off our stock. (Apropros of Easter, can someone tell me the history of putting coloured eggs in trees?)

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Kiel has been preening and posing up a storm, with the clearest, bluest skies and a sparkly fjord. The little Stadtmuseum has an exhibition on at the moment, about Kiel’s maritime history between 1865-1914. Delving into more of this city’s story seemed to strengthen our connection. We have a lot in common, Kiel and me, most notably our relationship with the sea.

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Today, we took Mum and Dad to Lübeck, another jewel in the north’s crown. Last time I was in Lübeck it was Suday and absolutely dead, not to mention chilly. This time around, bang smack in the middle of the Easter holidays, it was horribly busy, but beautifully sunny, the old buildings showing off against a blue, blue sky. Despite a tortured, drunk soul nearly depositing litres of beer and bile on my feet as I trotted gaily down a cobblestoned lane, it was a picture perfect afternoon.

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Now, I am about to go quiet again, because I am doing the terribly North German thing of holidaying in Denmark next week. We are packing the car and heading north on Saturday. I have heard so much about the loveliness of the dunes, the landscape of the Danish coast, the moody drama of the North Sea, and I feel like I am about to undergo something of an initiation. Upon my return from a holiday in Denmark, I suspect I will have earned several more Kieler stripes. Quite like how spending time on a campingplatz in Italy gave me instant German cred.

So, bis bald. Enjoy the beautiful weather we have in store, and I will be sure to let you know how Denmark and I find each other.

Marzipan & Backfisch

A cloudy but clear Sunday, nothing planned. We got two coffees to go and then into the car, hair still wet from the shower. It was just over an hour to Lübeck, a maritime town right on the curve of the Baltic, where the inky sea brushes up against the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein border. Everything is so green right now, completely filled up by the relentless rain that has, in other parts of the country, absolutely destroyed towns. Up here we’ve had rain, plenty of it, but it’s served only to thicken the thickets of wildflowers that grow roadside and turn fields into clean cut squares of Irish emerald. We’ve been lucky. We played the usual road-trip game (we spend a lot of time driving) calling out every time a deer or particularly large rabbit (or indeed any round, glossy farm animal) was spotted enjoying the endless grünes Futter. 

Lübeck was under cranky clouds that had their fun by constantly threatening but, naturally, never delivering rain, so we were able to stroll, dry, through the stone streets. The Niederegger store was open, despite it being a Sunday, so we strolled through rows and rows of marzipan lobsters and pigs and lighthouses and got a little treat at the end.

Then it was on to Travemünde for Backfisch by the Baltic. The kiosk was tiny and ramshackle with a sprawling menu that managed to include gyros, currywurst, sardines, and several varieties of fischbrötchen. The weather was awful, a cold wind rolling in off the sea that was being braved by a few keen wind surfers wrapped up in wetsuits. But the fish – and the huge dollop of potato salad that accompanied it – was good and plentiful.

It started to rain as we drove home. The fields got even greener.

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