Wordless Wednesday ~ At the Beach…

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… in West Runton, Norfolk, UK

This post takes part in Wordless Wednesday.

And I said last year about Brexit…

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… ” The Brexiteers only want tougher border controls until they go on holiday! It will be interesting what they are going to say in two years time when they have to wait a week to get out of Britain to go on holiday!”

Well, life is always faster than I expect it to be. This year British holiday makers already have to wait up to 4 hours or more to get either out of Britain on holiday or back from holiday as the BBC, The Independent and other news pages report.

Of course, this has nothing yet to do with Brexit but with new security measures to tackle the huge terrorist threat facing western civilisation in general and the EU specifically.

It just proofs what I think: “Whichever liberty you take from your neighbour will be taken from you too!” You don’t want free movement for others you won’t have it either.*

It’s going to be interesting to see how it will be in two years time depending on what Britain and the EU manage to negotiate.

For now, I just enjoy an article on NewsThump making light of the whole Brexit and free movement problem: Tighter Border controls should not apply when I’m going on holiday, insists angry Brexiteer!

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Heidenheim in Germany

*I am aware that measures need to be taken to protect our countries, however, to discuss this point would have taken too long and I am pondering this for another post.

 

 

Bee's Travel Thursday ~ Borkum

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Today I want to whisk you away to one of my most favourite places in Europe. I am speaking of a little island on the north-western coast of Germany called “Borkum”.

Borkum ~ a part of the East Frisian Islands and it’s Nazi past

It is part of the East Frisian Islands and used to be one big island together with Juist and a part of Norderney called Bant. It got destroyed by huge storms in the 18th century and I am not sure if that meant the end of its reputation for piracy and whaling.

 

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East Frisian Islands. Borkum is the one at the far left. Photo credit: eutrophication&hypoxia via Flickr

 

My American readers who are interested in history might know the island for its massacre of seven American airmen in 1944. Their plane crashed on Borkum and they were taken prisoners. They were supposed to be brought to a camp in central Germany but the commanding officers decided to walk the prisoners through Borkum town where they were objected to abuse by the citizens before being shot.

 

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you don’t think of Borkum’s Nazi past when you see this 🙂 photo credit: Erich Ferdinand via Flickr

 

I never knew anything about this before I researched Borkum for this post. It reminded me however of a pretty spooky experience in December 2000 or 2001. I stayed on Borkum for recovering from stress. At the beginning of December, a more or less ancient tradition takes place on the island which is called “Klasohm (this is a German link. There are no translations)“. “Klas” refers to Santa Claus and “Ohm” means uncle. It is a mixture of an ancient tradition of the men coming back from whaling taking back power from the women on the island and the benevolent Santa who brings presents.

Klasohm on Borkum ~ a strange ancient tradition

It is a tradition that is very sacred to the Borkumers and they don’t really like to have tourists around even though they can’t avoid that as tourists are their main income today. What happens is that seven young men from a men’s club run around dressed as “Klasohm’s” who hit women on the buttocks with horns. Local women do not mind so much. It seems to be an honour even though it can hurt quite badly. I was warned to keep away from the action as far as I could as they are not gentle. On the other hand, they also throw presents or sweets around for onlookers to catch.

 

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Photo credit: G. Meyer via Wikipedia

 

I found the whole experience extremely spooky. Borkum was rather sparsely lit and suddenly I was reminded of Nazi hunts of people who were not liked. Then I thought it quite strange that I was reminded of Germany’s Nazi past.

Today though I read not only about the massacre of the American airmen but also that Borkum was one of the places who kept Jews away on purpose and were famous for it. And suddenly it made sense.

 

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(Defendents at Borkum Island War Trial in Ludwigsburg, by Seventh Signal Corps Photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

It makes me sad that a place that is very dear to me as it is a beautiful spot especially healing for people with breathing and lung conditions as the island is low in pollen and other allergens has such a nasty history. Borkum has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen (well maybe Norfolk can compete 🙂 ) and the people are very friendly and open.

You can’t avoid Germany’s Nazi past when visiting

I suspect you cannot go to any place in Germany without the possibility of discovering some atrocity that happened in Nazi Germany. The country I come from has a gruesome past however it is a beautiful place and even though there are still those around who believe Hitler to be a hero most Germans are open minded and fight for civil rights, for equality and most of all are welcoming to strangers no matter if they are refugees, immigrants or tourists.

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photo credit: Graham Hills via Flickr

Even though I have a rather split relationship with the country I come from and its politicians  I am proud of how it welcomed so many refugees in the past year. I am aware though that such an immense influx of people from such a different culture creates problems and many who are afraid for their own well-being are easily lead backwards to racism and xenophobia.

Well, I did not plan to make this post such a history lesson and political opinion piece. When I write this it is the end of November and we hear an awful lot about Brexit and what US president-elect Donald Trump wants or doesn’t want to do. I am rather disillusioned about the future and fear for the young people all over the world. Where on earth can all this “we do not want immigrants” lead to?

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photo credit: Keoni Cabral via Flickr

Life is a cycle ~ the bad will end

To me, it seems it can only go in one direction and that is pure racism and atrocities never heard of. I am scared. I am shocked. I do not know how to deal with this. However, I am a survivor of abuse and if there is one thing I have learned in life and learned from looking into history then it is this: Life is a cycle. There have been times of freedom and civility and times of becoming cavemen and -women and atrocities. But none stay forever. History changes time and time again and some of us learn and some don’t.

We won’t stop the wheel of time or the wheel of change. I suspect the only thing we can do is cling to our values and do as much good as we can in the immediate area of our lives. And we can be grateful for the beautiful places given to us no matter how their past looks like.

Borkum is long walk on sandy beaches

When I think of Borkum I think of long walks at sunny sand beaches. Even though I mainly stayed on the island in Winter the weather can be stunningly nice and still warm. Even at the beginning of December one day, I sat at the beach in a protected spot and I could take my jacket off. That was brilliant.

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photo credit: rhiya via Flickr

Borkum is also known for a sort of beach seats made of Wicker. It is like a wooden bench with wicker protection around and some lovely colourful cloth protection from the sun. You can rent them at the beach and have the time of your life ;-).

 

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photo credit: Allie Caulfield via Flickr

 

On that particular stay, I spoke of earlier I had the chance to breathe freely and to let go of many of my self-set limitations. Borkum is one place where I discovered and re-discovered my love for poetry and where I started to believe that I could make my dreams reality. And look at me 16 or 17 years later: I have made many of my dreams reality and that makes me proud and happy.

Borkum’s sometimes quirky restaurants and cafes

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Heimliche Liebe a restaurant a little outside of Borkum Town, photo credit: Erich Ferdinant via Flickr

But Borkum isn’t only about going to the beach. There are many lovely restaurants and cafe where you can for example experience a genuine northern German tea ritual. The northern Germans brew their tea very strong. You get it served in a previously warmed cup and add a huge piece of sugar called Kluntje. When it hits the hot tea it makes a crackling noice which made children giggle. And you let cream run into the cup from the side which makes the cream “cloud” up in the tea. No stirring. You drink the rather bitter top first and then enjoy the very sweet bottom with all the sugar at the end. A great experience for tea lovers!

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photo credit: Arno Redenius via Flickr

Speaking of cafes: there is one little cafe that is quite quirky. It has attached a model train to it’s walls which go from room to room. Yes, you are right there are holes in the walls where the train comes through. You can imagine how children love that place :-).

Borkum ~ a lovely place for a family holiday

Borkum is lovely for a holiday stay for families anyway as driving your car is very restricted in Borkum town. You are only allowed to got to your B&B, holiday apartment or hotel and then have to leave it and do all on foot or with the little island train that takes you practically everywhere. But the Island is so small you can reach everything easily on foot or by bike anyway.

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photo credit: Janick Machol via Flickr

One thing that would either excite or scare children are the two lighthouses on the island. The younger one in the middle of Borkum town is a real feature and you can walk up and look over the Northsea and Borkum itself. A real treat.

Borkum lies within the Wadden Sea

And last but not least I have to mention that Borkum lies within the Wadden Sea an area of shallow sea, tidal flats and wetlands. You can find it on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list and any bird watcher and nature lover will a diversity of flora and fauna that will excite. There is also a colony of seals living close to the beach and in good weather and with binoculars you can watch them all day long. Or you take one of the tourist boats and get real close.

(it says in the text: Island faces, you’ve forgotten everyday life, the air smells of salt, there is sand stuck to your body, the new borkum film, 2011, part four, watching seals, video credit Borkum Fan via YouTube)

Did I make you curious?

There is, of course, much more to say about Borkum but I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own :-). So if this post has made you curious then take the time to visit Germany and go to Borkum and find out for yourself what the charm and spell is that it puts on you :-).

Resources and further reading:

Borkum on Wikipedia

Borkum Island War Crimes Trial on Wikipedia

WikiVoyage East Frisian Islands

Borkum on Germany Travel

Borkum on Borkum.com

Borkum on Virtual Tourist

Borkum on LanceWadPlan

Borkum on DW Made for Minds

Borkum on The Tour Expert

Bee's Travel Thursday ~ Nuremberg ~ Christkindlesmarkt

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Today I go all sentimental on you:I’ll introduce you to the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt which have visited as a child.

My grandmother had a cousin and good friend living in Nuremberg so we went there quite often but I was especially excited at Christmastime because even in the 70’s the Christkindlesmarkt was an experience. We lived about 2 hours away to the south-east from Nuremberg so it wasn’t that bad a drive.

The Christkindlesmarkt is the most famous of the German Christmas Markets and was mentioned since the 16reds. Even though the origins are not clear historians assume it developed from the weekly food markets and has only stopped between 1939 and 1948 and we all know why that was.

Yes, Nuremberg has its dark history but it has done a lot to work through its Nazi past and learn from it. Since the end of the war, the city worked hard to keep itself international and develop good relationships with its neighbours and countries from all over the world.

One sign of that is a part of the Christkindlesmarkt called “Market of the Sister Cities”. There are stalls that sell products from Nuremberg’s twin cities and I was astonished to see how many it has.

For me as a child, the “Christkind” and the “Kindermarkt” was the most important bit. The “Christkind” is a German character at Christmastime which is Christ as a child but in Nuremberg, it is enacted by girls. There is a competition of girls between 16 and 19 every two years and it is a great honour to be chosen as the Christkind. But it’s also quite a task.

Every Friday the Christkind has to speak the prologue standing on the balcony of the church. The prologue is a speech to welcome visitors to the market and was introduced by Friedrich Broeger at the first post-war Christkindlmarkt in 1948. It has been re-written several times since but reminds us of how we are still children inside and how giving not only to our own but the poor all over the world is an important part of Christ’s message.

I actually got tears in my eyes when I read the translation as I darkly remember standing in the middle of the square looking up at the Christkindl. The whole square was pretty dark but the girl on the balcony shone like an angel as all lights were on her. It was just such a solemn but amazing atmosphere. I believe it would be as exciting for children and adults today.

The Christlkindlesmarkt is actually more three markets. There is the main market where you can purchase mainly German products, the Market of the Sister Cities and the Children’s market where you can find stalls which are heated and where your children can do many activities like baking cookies or create Christmas decorations. These activities are for free but you have to pay for the merry-go-rounds.

The main attractions product-wise on the Christkindlesmarkt are the “Gluehwein”, Nuremberg sausages, “Lebkuchen” and “Zwedgenmaennle”. “Gluehwein” of course is mulled wine and you better go easy on it. It is a pretty strong brew. Nuremberg sausages are small but delicious sausages which are sold in a bun in threes. All good things come in threes as they say and I can assure you it is true even though I am not eating them anymore ;-). “Lebkuchen” is gingerbread and comes in all forms and sizes. I loved the huge gingerbread hearts you can buy there and hang around your neck. “Zwedgenmaennle” on the other hand are little figures made out of dried plums, nuts and raisins and look just too cute. We had one at home too but it is long gone since.

If you can spare a weekend at Christmastime or even a few days within the week then go and visit the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt. It certainly is an experience of a lifetime.

But make sure you book hotels, flights and train tickets well in advance as it is very popular and pretty expensive if you do it short term.

Video credit Don Scott via YouTube

Resources and further reading:

Nuernberger Christkindlesmarkt

Christkindlesmarkt on Wikipedia

Christkindlesmarkt on DreamEuroTrip.com

Christkindlesmarkt on Moms:Tots:Zuerich

Christkindlesmarkt on Zenventures

Bee's Travel Thursday ~ The "Brenz Ursprung"

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October 2016

I love this little jewel of Germany’s wells. So I’ll introduce you to it again here on “Just Fooling Around With Bee”

September 2012

The Brenz is a small river in the south of Germany which is a tributary of the Danube. Its source is  a lovely little pond nestles in the rocks of the Swabian Alb.

My parents used to take us there on the weekends and we had a meal in the restaurant close by. I had totally forgotten how beautiful it is until we went back in our holidays (and found out the restaurant has become kind of posh (but the Kaesespaetzle are brilliant 🙂 ) )

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For those who are historically interested. Georg Elser who tried to kill Hitler in 1939 has been working in a joinery in Koenigsbronn where the Brenz originates. Klaus Maria Brandauer portrayed him in the film “Seven Minutes“.

Bee Social:

Bee's Travel Thursday ~ 03Nov16

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September 2016

Here is a little report of our holiday in Glastonbury in June 2012 :-). Sorry if I bore you with the place but I just love it too much 🙂

June 2012

We had one nice day which was Monday. After about 4 1/2 hours we arrived at the campsite close to Glastonbury UK. We set up our tent and then had a stroll around Glastonbury. As we knew the weather would get worse, we decided to use the lovely weather at that moment and get up to the Tor. An ancient hill man made as the area around Glastonbury used to be wet marshland. The hill was the only possibility to grow any crops, and so they made it higher and higher.

Nowadays it is more known for its connection with the myths around Avalon and Pagan spirituality. No matter what: The hill is an amazing site and if you are lucky like us to be up there when the weather is fine you have a brilliant view around.

Well, of course, I took some pictures but somehow my camera is not working quite right so I will have to work on them. But these are some examples for now.

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The Tor from Well Lane

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View towards Bridgewater

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Jurrasic Hills surrounding Glastonbury

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On top of the world at last!

Bee Social:

Blog Love ~ Where is my Backpack?

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Yesterday I introduced you to a blog event called “Travel Theme” on Ailsa’s “Where is my Backpack?”.

Today I want to send some blog love along to her and her blog because it is such a great way to travel from your sofa or getting idea’s where you still want to go.

“Travel Theme” is only one part of her blog. There is a tab called “Epic Adventures” where posts of her journeys are brought together. And you can find a list of her travelogue entries on the right side of the blog.

So please head over to Ailsa’s “Where is my Backpack?” and find some lovely places and blog events. Thanks

poppy mug at Stone Henge

Stonehenge

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Bee Social:

Bee’s Travel Thursday ~5May16 ~ Glastonbury

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Today I want to take you on a little tour to one of my favourite places in the UK:

Glastonbury!

Many of you will know the place from the famous Glastonbury Festival which in fact does not take place in Glastonbury itself but a little outside close to Pilton on Worthy Farm. Well, there is the so-called Abbey Extravaganza, which takes place since 20 years on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey but let’s not hair split this topic ;-).

I had never heard of the festival when my obsession with the Glastonbury started. At the beginning of the 1990’s I spent a holiday with my ex-husband in Ireland and acquired a second-hand paperback of M. Zimmer-Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon”.

I was fascinated by the different take on the Arthur story and ever since I read the book I wanted to see Glastonbury. About 15 years later I actually managed with my ex-partner, and I loved it.

Glastonbury by M.S. Prada

photo credit: Mario Sanchez Prada via Flickr

The town of Glastonbury makes the most of the Arthur saga, the arrival of Christianity and the Glastonbury festival. I have never been to a place where New Age spirituality, Christianity and probably pretty much every other faith on Earth lives side by side so peacefully.

According to legend, Josef of Arimathea who gave his own tomb for Jesus’s burial came to Glastonbury and put his staff down when he wanted to sleep. It miraculously took root and became the famous “Glastonbury Thorn”. The original one was burnt as relics of paganism in the English Civil War. One was replanted on Wearyall Hill in 1951, but its branches were cut off in 2010. No one knows who was it and why he or she did it.

Glastonbury Thorn Ed Webster

photo credit: Ed Webster via Flickr

There are two other important trees in Glastonbury one at the Abbey and one at the Church of St. John. All three are Hawthorns but those in and around Glastonbury flower twice: Once in winter and once in spring.

I have been to Glastonbury twice and both times I felt like the town has its own microclimate. It felt a lot warmer and more humid than the area around which made it seem logic to me that hawthorns flower twice. However, the reason is probably more the fact that hawthorns have been propagated by grafting since ancient times.

Either Joseph himself or his son Josephus supposedly brought the chalice also known as the Holy Grail to Britain, but I do not go any further into this. It might end with Monty Python, and not everybody is fond of them ;-).

There are two favourite places of mine in Glastonbury. The Tor and the Chalice Well Gardens. The Tor has always fascinated me first of all as it’s name is the same as the word for Gate in German. And, coming back to “The Mists of Avalon”, it was the gate between the Isle of Apples (Avalon) and the surrounding Christian area. One of the priestesses decided to move Avalon behind a veil of mists into a different dimension to prevent their religion from being overrun by Christians.  This is where Arthur finds his last resting place in the book.

The Tor according to Wikipedia is a  “conical hill of clay and Blue Lias rises from the Somerset Levels. It was formed when surrounding softer deposits were eroded, leaving the hard cap of sandstone exposed. The slopes of the hill are terraced, but the method by which they were formed remains unexplained. Artefacts from human visitation have been found, dating from the Iron Age to Roman eras.” There is a roofless church tower on top.

You have a stunning view over Glastonbury itself and the surrounding landscape when you managed the often steep climb to St. Michaels Tower on the Tor. I have spent a few marvelous hours up there enjoying the hustle and bustle of tourists and my own ponderings about spirituality and “The Mists of Avalon”.

View Tor MS Prada

Photo credit: Mario Sanchez Prada via Flickr

Chalice Well Gardens is a beautiful multi-spiritual place nestled between the Tor and Chalice Hill. The introduction they give on their homepage explains this place better than I can:

Chalice Well is one of Britain’s most ancient wells, nestling in the Vale of Avalon between the famous Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Hill. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards, it is a living sanctuary in which the visitor can experience the quiet healing of this sacred place. For over two thousand years this has been a place where people have gathered to drink the waters and find solace, peace and inspiration.

At present, we work with the theme of ‘Many Paths, One Source’ to welcome all people of goodwill to the gardens throughout the year. We also mark ‘the wheel of the year’ at regular intervals with events of celebration, silence and meditation, and conversation. This includes an evening programme of music, poetry and performance throughout the summer months in our candlelit gardens.

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Chalice Well Gardens

If you are sensible to the different energies that work in this reality, you certainly realise that Chalice Well Gardens is a sacred and healing place. Spending time there in meditation and relaxing has kick-started several bouts of healing for me and I would not be who I am now if I would not have visited the Chalice Well Gardens.

That, of course, is the total opposite to the maniac activities to the Glastonbury Festival, which always takes place at the beginning of June. If you ever want to go: be prepared: The British weather has a reputation to lose and hardly does it at that time of the year. You will get muddy no end ;-).

I’ve never made it. The best husband (Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world and I had pondered on going when the children are a little older, but our distaste for crowds prevents us from doing so. I’d rather watch it on the telly :-).

There is of course much more to say about Glastonbury, but I leave that for another day. If you got curious though please have a look at these links:

On Wikipedia:

Other pages:

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Bee Social:

With Nelieta around the world/ Mit Nelieta um die Welt (#photography)

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She is with me since two months and I am so glad I met her in that little photography group on Facebook that we both have joined.

Such a caring and cheerful person. Her blog entries in Nelmitravel make me laugh, smile, think and want to travel. And they inspire me!

She travels and takes photos and shows parts of the world from a very personal point of view.

Thanks Nelieta for following!!!!!!

(Links in diesem Eintrag sind in englischer Sprache)

Sie folgt mir seit zwei Monaten und ich bin froh, dass ich sie in der kleinen Photografie Gruppe, der wir beide beigetreten sind, getroffen habe.

So eine froehliche und fuersorgliche Person. Ihr Blog  Nelmitravel bringt mich zum Lachen und Laecheln, zum Nachdenken und verreisen wollen. Und er inspiriert mich!

Sie reist und fotografiert und zeigt die Welt von ihrer ganz persoenlichen Sichtweise.

Danke Nelieta fuers Folgen!!!!!!