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Tag: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Bridge in Zislow, Germany

Summer hasn’t made much of an appearance in Germany this year so far. But the Saturday a few weeks back that I spent driving around the beautiful lakes in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg was one of the most glorious early summer days ever.

Zislow, GermanyI finished it by driving into Zislow, a village at the Plauer See (Lake of Plau) just across the border of Brandenburg into Mecklenburg. It was dusk, and after a sunny and hot day, clouds were coming in and spreading over the wide Northern German sky I love so much. The sun fell through them and sparkled on the water so preciously.

The bridge just made the situation a little more perfect. I have really come so far with my love for bridges that whenever I discover one, my heart beats a little faster. I marvel at every pretty photo of a bridge that I discover, and I giggle when the bridge is used as a metaphor by someone who doesn’t know what it means to me. So while by now almost any bridge will make me happy, this one did so especially. It is of a kind that I especially love – unobtrusive, not big or pompous, let alone famous, but of perfect harmony – in itself with the soft curve in which it bends across the water, but also with its surroundings. It just fits in.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

Sunshine on Water – Brandenburg and Mecklenburg

Some time has passed since my little field trip with a rental car into the Brandenburgian outback. I read back my post on the fieldstone churches I came across that day, and it puts a lingering smile on my face. Too often do I forget how healing the effect is that travel, however limited the time, how ever close the distance, has on me.

Wustrow, Plätlinsee, GermanyI drove through Lindow, a proper little town with a cute tiny market square. It looks a lot like Lübbenau in the Spreewald region South of Berlin. I guess it is the Prussian history. The town is settled snugly along the first lake I encountered that day, the Gudelacksee. I sat by the lakeshore in restaurant that seemed rather too big for such a small place, and had coffee, listening to the sounds of tiny waves and shivering yet a little bit in the shade. Across the small bay all of a sudden someone started playing the trumpet. I broke into smile. It was a bit off-key, but it was played with vigour and enjoyment, and it made me happy.

Lindow (Mark), GermanyOut of the town, I drove along the wide Brandenburgian alleys enjoying the interplay of rape fields and green grass – and the occasional bit of shiny blue water when there was another lake. There are many in this area.

Brandenburg, GermanyThe day was sunny and bright. It was a day that felt on the verge of spring to summer. I felt the warm breeze in my face as I drove with the windows open, wonderfully aimlessly, not a care in the world, no duty, no pressure, just the moment and me. I came across Rheinsberg with its gorgeous Prussian castle which I will write about in another post. I had to park the car well outside of the town centre because it was very well frequented. The beauty in that was that I got to walk all along the promenade of lake, Grienickesee, back to the castle.

???????????????????????????????The reed stood high, the sun was dancing on the water, and the shady walkway along the water was not too busy. Too little girls were selling earthworms in jars. I was actually close to buying one just to see them smile. But they were smiling anyway and I really don’t have much use for earthworms in my life. The walk of about one and a half miles to the castle was every bit as pretty as the castle itself. But as I said, that is for another day.

My next stop was a random village called Wustrow – just outside of Brandenburg in the very South of Mecklenburg. I wouldn’t have stopped if it wasn’t for a small unobtrisive sign just by the freeway that led through the village. It said „Badestelle“ – a place for swimming. So I parked the car and followed the sign. I figured it would probably be one of the loneliest places I could come across because it was well outside of almost any civilization.Grienickesee, Germany The lake, Plätlinsee, was gorgeous. The forests looked black in the distance, and there was freshly mown grass to spread my blanket on. I tested the water with my feet, but it was quite too cold to actually go in all the way. So I settled for lying in the sun for a long time. Happy. Writing music in my head.

Mariella, Plätlinsee, GermanySince I had come this far, I decided to go the distance and drive the last bit to the Müritz, Germany’s second biggest lake after Lake Constance and the biggest one entirely on German territory. Where I ended up as the sun came down though was a different lake even further on than Müritz which is called Plauer See. I went to the village of Zislow, a place I had actually been before, went down to the lake shore, and witnessed what I can only describe as amazingness.

Zislow, Plauer See, GermanyThe sky had gone overcast, and the surface of the water was dim with the rippling of tiny waves. It was as though the water was shivering in anticipation of rainfall. Single sunbeams came through the clouds and drew patterns on the water in the distance. In German, some people call single, visible rays of sun that look so mainfest that you can touch them „Engelsfahrstühle“ – elevators for angels. I felt like I would have to see winged creatures ride up and down the streams of white light and dive into the water like children on a slide.

Zislow, Plauer See, GermanyAs I sat and watched, the clouds parted, and the sun came out again. The dance of light it performed on the water is plainly indescribable. After a day filled with peace with my thoughts flowing freely, a day with nothing to crave and no one to miss, this was indeed the perfect dusk, the perfect transition into night, into whatever would come next. You cannot seek out these moments. They are given to you. It was a moment of pure grace.

 

Footpath in Vipperow (Müritz), Germany

I had a really bad day this week which called for compensation, and to get some of that, I rented a car on Saturday to drive out of the city for a day. I cannot wait to write about all of it. For today, I am bringing you a somewhat unusual bridge I found which I guess isn’t technically a bridge.Vipperow, GermanyI found this path, which I suppose should be called a rampart, in the tiny town of Vipperow at the Southern side of Lake Müritz. Lake Müritz is, after Lake Constance, the second largest lake in the country, and I just read that its name stems from the Slavic morcze meaning little sea – I loved that, obviously. The path crossing a small swamp and leading down to boathouses by the lake looked so enchanting, with the dandelions spreading little dots of yellow into the juicy green. Had it not been so damp, I would have sat down and started writing a fairytale.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

A Mystical Place – Kap Arkona on Rügen

Kap Arkona. An intriguing name for an intriguing place.

Sighting Tower, Kap Arkona, Rügen, GermanyIt is a rather grey and rainy day as we get in our rental car and drive to Putgarten, where we have to pay the whopping 4€ for parking and then start walking. We walk through the small village of Putgarten with its clean tidy houses and cobble stone streets.

Putgarten, Rügen, GermanyAndrew stops for recording songs every now and again. He will later use them for sampled pieces of electronic music. It makes me more aware of the soundscape that surrounds us. The little shuttle’s motoric roar on the pavement. The clip clop of horse shoes as a carriage passes us by. Wind, always wind swishing across the wide open landscape and the already barren fields. The light houses that we have seen light up from our bedroom window in Lohme at night and the sighting tower are visible early on over the width of the countryside.

Lighthouses, Kap Arkona, Rügen, GermanyWe turn left at the fork in the end of the path toward the light houses first. The smaller one is made from red brick (my heart beats faster…) and designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, an architect responsible for most of the Prussian neo-classical architecture in Berlin’s city centre. It is almost 200 years old. Its taller brother is 100 years old and the one that we have seen light up. They look like Laurel and Hardy.

Lighthouses, Kap Arkona, Rügen, GermanyThe lighthouses are quite iconic, but funnily enough, what gets to me more is the view of the tiny building across from them, just by the entrance to one of the two military bunkers. It is simpler and less considerable, yet the white and red colours against the grey sky glow and glisten in my eyes.

Kap Arkona, Rügen, GermanyThe two bunkers were mainly used by the military of the socialist German Democratic Republic, although one was built for the Nazi Wehrmacht. They house exhibitions today. Military history is not unusual up here, I have been to bunkers on the neighbouring island of Usedom, too. Andrew seems fascinated. I have never given it too much thought. Maybe because it makes me slightly uncomfortable.

Military Bunker, Kap Arkona, Rügen, GermanyWe keep following the path that leads us to a small tree-lined alley. To the side there is a small stamped out trail in the grass. I suggest we go down there, through the bushes wet with raindrops. Just a few steps into the thicket and we get to the top of the massive cliff, to the overgrown ledge barely secured by a wooden bannister. The views of the Baltic from here may be the most spectacular we have had all weekend. The sun is breaking carefully through the thick grey clouds, the sea is howling under us, golden marram grass and even the bright orange fruits of the sea buckthorn are contrasting the reserved dark colours of sea and sky.

Kap Arkona, Rügen, GermanyAndrew is recording sounds again, but all of a sudden he points behind me and tells me quietly to look – there is a deer, staring curiously at us, quite close and not really as shy as it should be. I carefully try to take out my camera and photograph it, but as it goes, the second I press the button, it decides to hide away into the thicket and I only catch its rear. As much as it has felt like we were the only two people in the world up here, I am enjoying the fact that we had a quick moment of company of an inhabitant of this magical and slightly mysterious place.

Kap Arkona, Rügen, GermanyIn one of the small souvenir shops, I go to look at the jewellery. The rings are  tied to adder stones, or as they are called in German: Hühnergötter, chicken gods, – small rocks that have natural holes in them. They are found on Rügen often, and according to ancient Slavic pagan beliefs, they protect from the Kikimora, a poltergeist from Slavic mythology who killed or harmed poultry and eggs. Today most people use them for decor, but they still remind of the Slavic history of the region – because the earliest settlements in what today is Northeastern Germany were not Germanic, but Slavic. I pick a ring with an amber stone. The saleswoman unties it from its adder stone and I start wearing it right away. It has intricate silver ornaments holding the tear-shaped amber. A mystical, a nostalgic piece of jewellery. It will give me bittersweet memories of this weekend and of this place that I love so much whenever I wear it.

Kap Arkona, Rügen, Germany

Baltic Love – Rügen in Light and Shadow

My love for the Baltic Sea is endless. My eyes grow wide and dreamy when I talk about it, and I have an infinite supply of tales to tell about different cities, especially the hanseatic ones, along the shores of this most beautiful of seas. When Andrew and I made for two days on Germany’s biggest island Rügen, I was excited like a four-year-old at Christmas. I will soon tell you about our hikes from the little village of Lohme, where we stayed, along the coast with its famous chalk cliffs. But today all I want to share with you is my passion for the Baltic Sea in pictures.

National Park Jasmund, Rügen, GermanyMy sister once said she prefered the North Sea, and when I asked her why, she said: „Because I like the Elbe River better than the Alster.“ To someone from Hamburg that makes immediate sense. The Elbe and the North Sea are less domesticated, more untamed, wilder. The Alster and the Baltic are calm and reliable – some may say boring. I cannot for the life of me agree with the last point. I have seen the Baltic shimmer in all different shades of blue and green and grey, I have seen it crushing towering waves onto the sand and lie still like a mirror. It has never once bored me.

Kap Arkona, Rügen, Germany One of the things I love is that the Baltic can change colour from grey to blue and back in a matter of minutes. Also I am convinced that the sky is of a more intense blue than elsewhere (if it is blue that is, and not overcast). I feel like the Mediterranean is always blue. Granted, a beautiful blue. But the colour range of the Baltic just seems richer, and sometimes a grey sea is just what I need. Grey and angry.

Baltic Sea, Rügen, Germany

Baltic Sea, Rügen, GermanyImages like this make me feel free. Where might that boat be going? Is it maybe without aim and just leasurely, idly swimming by? How symbolic of life is a boat on a sea – trying to fight through the storms it might encounter and trying to hold on to the peaceful sunny days?

Forest, Rügen, GermanyThe Baltic Sea is also so different from the Mediterranean or the Black Sea with their heat and palms and sandy beaches. Granted, you can have wonderful beach vacations by the Baltic, but generally the climate is of course rougher, harsher. I may like the Baltic better when there’s a strong wind and I’m wearing hiking boots and a rain jacket than when I’m wearing a bikini. The climate also grants that you have the most wonderful of combinations – forests right by the sea. When I walk that line between the rich green leafy thicket and the wide openness of the sea, I don’t need a Mediterranean beach.

Swans, Rügen, GermanyI am also fascinated by the swans at the Baltic. Seagulls, yes, but swans? When we went to Rügen now, I was almost surprised that they were there. I had only ever before in the Baltic seen them in Poland. But there were loads of them, and watching them dive into the tiny waves for food or sliding by majestically on the water was beautiful. In this picture, I especially like the two to the right. They look like a long married couple.

National Park Jasmund, Rügen, GermanyWhen the sun sets at the Baltic, and the sky is exploding in colours that you don’t get to see even in the most beautiful sunsets in the city, light fades, and the sounds of the waves and the wind become more dominant than what is visible to the eye, I get calm and relaxed and I can forget my busy life for a little while. There is peace.

Do you have a favourite sea? Have you been to Germany’s biggest island Rügen? Would you like to go?

Rügenbrücke, Stralsund / Rügen, Germany

The biggest island in Germany isn’t necessarily the most famous one. It is called Rügen and is in the Baltic Sea. And it is connected to the mainland city Stralsund by a stunning bridge, the Rügenbrücke.

When I was at college in the area, you could reach the island only by a tiny bridge, the Rügendamm, that always had horrible traffic jams on it. My sister once took ten hours to get off of the island in the car. Since 2007 the modern Rügenbrücke offers the much more comfortable way to cross the strait between the mainland and the island, the Strelasund.

When we went to Rügen this weekend, I took a picture on the way there in beautiful early autumn weather. The aesthetics of the modern bridge stand strongly against the bright sky with it’s Baltic blue colour, and I can’t wait to be by the beach of the sea I might love most of all of them.

Rügenbrücke, Stralsund / Rügen, GermanyOn the way back, Andrew took another picture of the same bridge in much more dramatic weather conditions. The steel towers almost disappear into the foggy clouds, and rain is starting to drum on the windshield. I can hardly believe that it is the same place – but in two different directions. It puts a whole new perspective on the idea of, well, perspective itself.

Rügenbrücke, Strasund / Rügen, GermanyIf you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!

I Left My Heart In Greifswald

There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better, some have gone and some remained
All these places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living – in my life I’ve loved them all.

The Beatles have left us with much wisdom to cherish in their lyrics, and I particularly love this song – especially in the Johnny Cash version. I recently got to visit one of the very places that I’ve loved in my life, and that I am sure will remain.

I spent three years as an undergraduate in Greifswald, a small seaside town by the Baltic in Germany’s far North Eastern corner and one of my beloved Hanseatic Cities. It was the first place I lived in on my own after moving out of my parents‘ house, the first place I truly chose for myself and that was not presented to me as a „home“, but that I made my home all by myself. My time there was full of life and opportunity and dreams. When I moved away, I cried bitter tears, and whenever I’ve returned, it has felt like coming home. This time around, my last visit had been two and a half years ago. All the more excited I was at the prospect of taking a day trip to this place I hold so dear to my heart.

Wieck, Greifswald, Germany

This is the view from the Draw Bridge onto the river Ryck’s mouth into the Baltic.

Andrew and I catch an early train from Berlin’s main station that takes us through the misty landscapes of Brandenburg into the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The rape fields in rich yellow blossom under the wide grey sky, and passing by all the stations with names that are familiar to me – it makes me so nostalgic. Is it really ten years ago that I first set foot here? As the train passes into Greifswald, my heart starts beating faster. We get off at the main station, and I feel it right away: I am home once more.

From the train tracks we walk through the old bus station directly to the rampart that is encircling the city center where the city walls used to be, and walk along it towards the waters of the river Ryck. The museum port is mostly unchanged from when I was last here. I love the old sailing ships and the boats they have made into swimming pubs, and I love the small and slightly sleeply port with the more modern motor and sailing boats.

Port, Greifswald, Germany

This picture was taken during my first visit of Greifswald in 2003.

We walk along the water. How many times I have made this walk I cannot count. The river Ryck is flowing calmly and quietly beside us, and there’s lots of men and boys fishing – no women or girls, I notice. I’d love to try fishing sometime. One man walks through the high wet grass at the embankment with four humongous fish on his hook. To our right, the cherry trees are in blossom. Many families are out and about on their bikes. Greifswald is a young city due to its high student population, but I didn’t use to notice that there were so many young families. Maybe that is just because that phase of my life was so far away when I studied here.

Ryck, Greifswald, GermanyFinally we make it to Wieck where the beautiful Draw Bridge makes my heart wide. It must be one of my favorite bridges. We cross it and buy Fischbrötchen at a road side stand – smoked salmon in a bread roll, and it tastes like heaven. Then we walk all the way up to the very front of the pier. Greifswald is set by the Bodden, a kind of lagoon, and not right by the wide open sea – but it is still the Baltic that we have a beautiful view of, and Andrew has never seen it so far. I wonder what that does to him. I get very excited about seeing places for the first time that I have heard much about. I want to ask him, but then it seems so much more natural to just keep quiet and look at the eternity that is the grey and mighty pulsating of Baltic Sea waves.

Pier, Greifswald, GermanyWe take a different route back into town, past the housing complex where I used to live, past the university library through the rose garden and past the theatre, across the big street crossing into town, the university cafeteria to our right, and memories keep flashing in front of my eyes. We enter the pedestrian zone, new shops have opened, it is so much more posh than it used to be. As the narrow street opens up onto the wide market square, I slow down a bit, but we keep walking, and only stop in the middle of the square. Instantaneously, tears are running down my cheeks, and I am glad I have Andrew to hold on to. It is only now that I notice how much I miss this place.

Greifswald, Germany

This is also an old picture, taken from the cathedral tower. We didn’t go up there this time around, but on a clear day it’s absolutely worth it!

From the market square and past the town hall – the large red building you can see in the picture – we make our way to the cathedral. My beloved red brick stone, but white washed inside, with beautiful painted ornaments in the cupolas, simplistic and without too much pomp. I think about how everything about Greifswald speaks to me. It is unostentatious and simple and honest, it gives me space to think with its width and the fresh breeze that is blowing through the streets.

I take Andrew to see the university and the buildings where I used to have my classes, and I have stories lined up about all these places. They are laden thickly with the force of memory. I keep thinking – and saying – how different it all looks – but while in other places it sometimes irritates and confuses me what time does to a place, in Greifswald all the change cannot take away from the bond I feel with the place. I am sure one day is really enough to *see* it, but of course one day can’t tell the story of the town, the story of three years of lived life here. As we board the train back to Berlin, my heart is cram-full with memories and feelings. But the beautiful thing about a place that has become home is that you can take it with you when you leave it. And Greifswald is most definitely in my heart forever.

Zugbrücke / Draw Bridge in Greifswald, Germany

This is a bridge that makes me nostalgic.

1Deutschland - Greifswald (Zugbrücke)2This is the old draw bridge in Greifswald in Pomerania in the North Eastern corner of Germany.

The time I spent in Greifswald as an undergrad student is a constant source of comforting memories to me. With Tübingen, where I went for my MA, I never formed an attachment quite as strong. Greifswald is a small, but very pretty town right by the Baltic Sea, not far from Poland, on the main land between the two islands Rügen and Usedom. Its quiet charms and cheerful beauty caught me from day one, and I spent three happy, carefree years there that I treasure until today.

When back in those days I needed to clear my head and get away from it all, I would mount my bike and make the 15 minute ride out to the district of Wieck, where the river Ryck flows into the Bay of Greifswald which then opens up into the Baltic. The old wooden bridge is a landmark of this part of town. When you stand on it and you look towards the Bay, you can see the colour of the water changing – the river is smooth and glassy, and then there’s a fine line after which the water is rough and grey. It is an abrupt change of colour, not a gradual one. It is promising the difference between the domesticated security of the river and the wilderness of the sea. When standing on this bridge, I feel in the transitional room between these two modes of life. Maybe this place is why Greifswald has always been home to me.

If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!