A weekend with some of my dearest friends in the north-western coastal region of Germany
There is something very peculiar about the coastal region of East Frisia, located on the north-western tip of the country in the state of lower Saxony. Once you visit the place, its culture and feel manages to remain alive in your senses for eternity.
Typical to the region are houses with red bricks, dikes along the entire coast (it is the land of the high and low tides), loads of fresh fish, ferries and boats to the islands in the North Sea, black tea and homes with maritime flair- windows laced in white frilly curtains, white cutlery (with blue print or pink flowers) and a lighthouse or shells placed on windowsills....
Not to forget, we are in the north of the country, in the state of Lower Saxony. So the land is very flat. Not even a hill in sight.
We drove to Neßmersiel (ß=ss, pronounced Nessmersiel). This was our place of choice, as our highlight for the weekend was 'Wattwanderung' (a guided walking tour across the sea at lowtide, to the island Balturm). It would start at 7 am the next morning from the shore of Neßmersiel.
If you are travelling with train, you will need to get off at Norden or Esens. From there you take a bus. It is extremely tedious time wise.
In Pictures above are glimpses in and around our B&B-
Apartmenthaus Seestern (See: Sea, Stern: Star)
Lets check out if we can walk to the North Sea from our B&B ..
Do you notice whats written on the cap in the picture above? If you meet anybody in north of the country, they are going to say 'Moin' or 'Moin Moin' to you. Just say 'Moin' back. That means 'Hello' :)
Oh yes greeting most people who come your way is typical German though. The baker in the shop, the old lady in the street or the stranger in the bus will generally acknowledge the crossing of your paths with regional versions of 'hello' .. I love this part of German culture! <3
You will cross the tiny village to get to the path, that leads to the dikes. It is a long but a charming walk. House-gardens lace the street, each with hundreds of blooming flowers. Their array of color, bumblebees and honey bees felt so good to us city folks.
At the end of the village, the road tends to go a little high and the landscape of East Frisia welcomes you..
Do you see the first glimpses of water at the horizon in the picture above? That is where we needed to be the next morning, for our trip to Island Baltrum.
But before that.. anybody here who fancies a plate of noodles with fresh shrimps? ;) With over twenty scrumptious fish dishes to choose from, reading the menu is quite a delightful activity out here.
Please reserve your table at the restaurant of choice in advance via a phone call. Else the super market might be your only savior ;)
Die Wattwanderung (Hiking across Mud Flats)
East Frisia is the land of high and low tides. Here there are local families, who have specialized in the specifics of the northern coast over generations. They carry out guided tours at low tide. You can book your tour online. Beware.. there are a lot of groups that will begin at the same time. So, make sure you find the right group :)
The guided Tour was to begin at 7 am (Wattwanderung: Watt- Mud Flats, Wanderung: hiking). For which we needed to arrange for Chucks (as the shoes would probably rendered useless due to the mud and its wet stench). Our pants needed to be above knee-level (as there is a possibility that you can sink to your knees in some patches of water on the way to the Island). Our backpacks needed to have water bottles as the tour would last about three hours. Also it is wise to carry something to munch on. Take a thin rain coat, as the weather is super unpredictable. It will be sunny in a moment and raining in the other. A cap is big help too :)
Our tour-guide was highly knowledgeable. We learnt about the algae which are eatable (and tasted them. Not bad ;) and were informed about the few restaurants at the coast which offer tasty algal salad. We saw so many patterns on the sea bed including a lot of spiral ones caused my Wattwurm (Wurm: Worm).
All we wanted on reaching, was to stand below a shower or get sprayed with gallons of water. That's exactly what was available on arrival :) Stretches of white sand lined the shores of the Island.
East Frisia Tea Party
Our very next wish was a place to sit down. If accompanied by yummy coffee and cake would be utmost delightful. Cafe Kluntje is famous for its 'Tea Party' and cakes :)
When you order one tea, you receive a kettle with almost four cups of tea in it. Then you place Kandis (rock sugar from the region) at the base of the cup. Hot black tea is poured over it. After which you add a tea spoon of cream to your tea. What happens after that is spectacular!!!
Warmed up in the tiny house and well fed through huge chunks of cake, we decided to walk to the beach. The north side of the Island is exposed to the waves and harbors sandy beaches, the other faces the mainland. This is typical of all Islands of the North Sea and so is unexpected rainfall ;)
I got a chance to dip my feet in the clear but cold water and then it poured like crazy. Which dimmed our hopes of going for a swim. So we strolled around tiny streets instead, before heading back in a Ferry. It was now high tide.
Do you spot the windmills on the horizon in the picture above? :)
Our Evening in Neßmersiel
And now who's up for Sea Food? :)
There was so much to choose from at the Restaurant zum Alten Hafen (zum:To. alten:old. Hafen: Harbour). We tried out a big variety including omelet with crab-meat, pan fried sea bass, pizzas topped with tuna to noodles prepared with sea food. And yes, for those of you who checked out the Beer glasses, 'Jever' (pronounced: Yewer) is the regional Beer. Its Factory is located in the city of 'Jever' (it is the Capital of Friesland, and a popular holiday destination) which is close by :)
A big thunder storm came by in the night. So we stayed in and played cards.
The slice bread on my plate above is called 'Rosinen Brot' (Rosinen: Raisins, Brot: Bread). It is typical to the region and sweet in flavor. A variety of home made berry-jams, different types of cheeses, scrambled eggs, fruits and yogurts made us quite happy :)
We would now head out to check out a highlight, just 20 minutes of a drive away in the coastal village of Norddeich (Nord: north, Deich: Dike), before heading home in the afternoon.
Our first stop was the Seehund (Seal) Station. We enjoyed reading about them in interactive museum section, watched them getting fed at the pond and played with them. Played meaning, if I moved my finger in a big circle, the seal would follow it and circle around as well :)
Norddeich, is a beloved vacation destination of the locals. So we made it a point to check out the beach. For which we walked on top of the dike. There were so many kites every where and crowds thronged the water. It was extremely windy! (typical north coast ;))
At 'Cafe Ten Cate' in Norddeich
As we were pressed for time and super impressed with the Tea Party on Island Baltrum, we decided to indulge once more before leaving. Watching the droplets of cream gently explode in tea was exciting. This time I ordered a piece of the regional cream cake with rum and raisins. Yum!
So, folks end of journey! East Frisia's Culture stays true to every place you visit there, whereas its tiny destinations have multifaceted beauty. I will be posting about them in the coming months. For now, how did you find this one? :)