Tag Archives: on the road

On the Road: Through a bit of Germany 2014 – Pt. 2: KZ Ravensbrück

Lies auf Deutsch

With the anniversary of the beginning of WW2 today and regional elections, where brown-ish parties have a far too high chance of joining the state parliament, approaching, I decided that it was about time that I posted this second part 2 of my Journey through a bit of Germany 2014. If you remember from part 1 did I try to do something different and selected destinations for the end of the day and stopped wherever I felt like it on my way there. Unlike the first part is this just about one stop, as it deserves its own post.

Day 1/2 – Stop 7: KZ Ravensbrück

The exhibition hall and official entrance
The exhibition hall and official entrance

As part of my Journey Through a bit of Germany 2014 I made a stop at the Memorial for the Woman’s Concentration Camp (KonzentrationslagerKZ) Ravensbrück near Fürstenberg/Havel.
Like I told you with my last post, did I want to explore a bit on my own and Ravensbrück became my first major destination for that and I had made arrangements for accommodation there. After I arrived during the evening, I got my keys and had a brief look inside my room before I set off to Himmelpfort (see last post). When I returned it was still early, but already too late to properly have a look around the exhibitions, so I just strolled a bit through the grounds instead.

Simple yet horrifying

All around the area they have small and large markers telling you what a part used to be. One of the first that caught my attention was for a small way between two buildings. It doesn’t look like anything special, just a plain, small way, broud enough to stand in, that for me became one of the places I felt tears welling up inside me: This simple way was used for executing hundreds of women (“Erschießungsgang” in German). I took a photograph to show you the contradiction of this, but I deleted it, as it didn’t seem appropriate to keep.

Just beside the way is a building that didn’t look like anything special either that housed the crematorium. Three iron – I guess – ovens standing in line, silently telling of their former use. I am honestly one of those people that couldn’t care less about other people’s – at least those I never knew – miseries, but I was barely able to step inside that room. I only had one foot inside and I retracted it as soon as I had seen everything from the door. My deepest respect for those who were able to get inside to put paper crane chains, flowers and other things on the fence that cut off the room for the audience. I couldn’t bear it to get any closer.

A little behind the crematorium is a prison complex. Again I only took a few steps inside to see that it was part of an exhibition and decided to look at it the next day. Just with this short look I already had a feeling of dread and the need to get out again, before disturbing the place any further.

A view towards Fürstenberg. A statue is standing on a cobbled ground before the lake.
The look towards Fürstenberg

Right beside the complex and across from the crematorium starts a long wall with iron lettered names of several different countries. In front of it is a field filled with small gray pebbles and signs claiming:

“This was the place where the gas chamber stood that took the lives of thousands of women and children from more than twenty different countries”

Four memorial plates are put onto what now became a grave field. The first two telling what I wrote above, the third remembering the Sinti and Roma and the fourth remembering the Jewish victims. The field stretches as long as the wall with the country names that beside Germany include: France, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Poland and more.

Behind the field is a wall that closes off an actual graveyard, but I only had a look at it from afar.

If you think the contradiction of the way was bad then I probably shouldn’t mention that the first picture on the side is right across from the grave field. A beautiful lake side with Fürstenberg in the background. It is partly morbid, partly fascinating how something like that can be at a place so horrible.

Not really a walk in the park…

When I had looked at the prison complex I had seen a field behind it and on my way back I went off to look at a few more buildings and found the entrance to it. Across a vast field that took about twenty minutes (This is about the time that past from when I last talked about the time with a woman from the staff until I checked it later; it makes more sense that only so little had past, but it felt way longer) to cross, lay the ruins and dug out remnants of the other complexes: Working offices, canteen, prison blocks, roll call area and right at the end a dressmaking shop, one of the few buildings that are still standing. Unlike my initial intention to only have a look at a couple of signs I walked all the way to the last building, trying to not let the bizarreness of the situation and the weird feeling I had, get to me. The field is covered with different kinds of pebbles: Small dark ones marking a pathway, grayish larger ones everything else. Where ever there used to be a building there is now a depression in the ground and there are many (about twenty in total if I remember the sign correctly).

A look at the lake from the entrance
A look at the lake from the entrance building

When I reached the dressmaking shop I had a look at my watch, as I knew the exhibitions would close around six. As I still had about half an hour left until then I went inside and was greeted by creepy statues, created by an artist to symbolize the different inmates. With an even stranger feeling I crossed the whole hallway as well and only had a peek into the adjacent rooms, not daring to get inside. With a feeling as if someone would lock me in any minute I went back to the entrance as soon as possible.

As I didn’t want to return the way I came I left the path and walked behind the building towards were this walk had initially started. Shortly towards the end even came grass again where I could walk beside ruins of other buildings, like a laundry.

When I had left the field I passed a sign that told me that what was around me – the garages – were used by Soviet soldiers after they had freed the camp until 1977 and I remembered my dad telling me that when he was here during his army-time they had to pass these soldiers.

Life beside the camp

Other buildings used by the Soviets were the so-called “Führerhäuser” (Führer houses) that stand on small hills overlooking the camp. Initially the male officers – and I think their families – in charge of the camp lived in them, now one of them  holds an exhibition about the houses‘ history. The inside of the house was far from what it had originally been like, as the Soviets refurbished and remodelled the rooms to house, I think, up to a dozen men. You could still see the original style – that was frankly quite beautiful with lots of wooden ornaments, but not everywhere.

Between them, the barracks and the field is also a large house with a changing exhibition. I can’t remember what it was about when I was there, I kind of only skimmed through it. The building used to be an office I believe – and it’s still partly used as such.

A bit outside of the ground stand the housings for the Guard women, one of them now holds an exhibition about their way of living, their work and their crimes and the others are part of the Youth Hostel, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

All of these buildings are part of the camp, but yet parted from it through distance, walls and gates, showing how different the life must have been for inmates and guards.

Personal impression

If I haven’t overlooked anything then the whole area holds six permanent and one changing exhibition, but during the night I decided to only look through the one in the entrance building and after that the three exhibitions mentioned above.

Walking the ground, with nearly no one else to see was strange and unlike my intention to just explore this on my own, I really would have liked to have someone with me. Though I doubt that even then I would have dared to look at the exhibition that would provide me with faces for the victims, I don’t think I could bear that knowledge.

One of the Guard Houses
One of the Guard Houses

While I wrote the draft for this I sat on my bed in the Youth Hostel (Jugendherberge) I stayed at for the night, in a house that used to house the female personnel of the camp, a Guard House. It was not until I woke up and realized that it was half past Midnight – directly within the ghost hour – and my inability to find sleep again that I decided to type this down right away. Even while my Laptop was making its usual noises I could still hear the unusual ones from outside: Wind or frogs/toads that sounded like broken screams, a dogs bark that reminded me of shouted commands and well the general quietness of the place. It already felt strange from the moment I settled into my room, but during the night it became worse and even though it was nearly half past two I was wide awake and unwilling to return to sleep until I gave in around four.

I’m glad that I cut out Sachsenhausen as second major destination. If I already want someone with me here I doubt going there would have been any different.

Important Heritage

In a lot of German schools it is mandatory to visit at least one Concentration Camp – not mine, at least not my class. While I was there, there were at least two school groups, though one of them was probably a bit too young to understand everything (sixth grade maybe?). They ran around playing hide and seek between the Guard Houses, laughed and were generally quite noisy and that just felt wrong for a place like this.

Students have to get an understanding for history and memorials like this, that keep it alive, are an essential part of this. With all the stuff happening in the world, especially the rising influence of brown-ish parties, it’s more and more important that people learn about our past and most of all learn from it to not let anything like it happen again.

On a completely different note: A couple of KZs were also in the news recently as they ordered that you should not be able to catch Pokémon on their grounds. Hunting Koffings or Weezings (Gas-Based Pokémon) or the Gastly-line (Ghost Pokémon) there, is pretty morbid and inappropriate, but also a bit ironic and fitting. It could encourage people to go there, but most would probably ignore the learning aspect of the trip and simply concentrate on the catching.

Well, this concludes this part of the Journey.
Have you ever visited a KZ? What were your experiences?
Do you think it’s a good idea to keep such places as a memorial?
What you can expect from the upcoming posts:

  • Day 2: Fürstenberg -> Radis
  • Day 3: Radis -> Halle (Saale)
  • (The rest of the Journey: Halle, Koblenz, Kassel)

Stay tuned. I hope it wont take me that long to get the other parts up.
Read in English

Mit dem heutigen Jahrestag des Beginns des 2. Weltkrieges  und den Landtagswahlen, bei denen bräunliche Parteien eine viel zu hohe Chance haben, dem Landtag beizutreten, fand ich, dass es an der Zeit ist, diesen zweiten Teil 2 meiner Reise durch Deutschland 2014 zu veröffentlichen. Wenn ihr euch an Teil 1 erinnert, habe ich versucht, etwas anderes zu tun und ausgewählte Ziele für das Ende eines Tages auszuwählen und habe auf dem Weg dorthin, da angehalten, wo mir gefiel. Im Gegensatz zum ersten Teil ist dies nur ein einziger Stopp, da er seinen eigenen Beitrag verdient.

Tag 1/2 – Stop 7: KZ Ravensbrück

Das Ausstellungsgebäude und offizieller Eingang. Auf einem Containerähnlichen Gebäude stehen die Worte "Ravensbrück Gedenkstätte Memorial" Eine Treppe führt zu ihm hinauf.
Die Ausstellungshalle und der offizielle Eingang

Im Rahmen meiner Reise durch Deutschland 2014 machte ich einen Zwischenstopp an der Gedenkstätte für das Konzentrationslager (KZ) Ravensbrück bei Fürstenberg/Havel.
Wie ich schon in meinem letzten Beitrag gesagt habe, wollte ich ein wenig auf eigene Faust erkunden und Ravensbrück wurde mein erstes großes Reiseziel dafür und ich hatte mir eine Unterkunft in der Nähe besorgt. Nachdem ich abends angekommen war, holte ich meine Schlüssel und schaute kurz in mein Zimmer, bevor ich mich auf den Weg nach Himmelpfort machte (siehe letzter Beitrag). Als ich zurückkam, war es noch früh, aber schon zu spät, um mich in den Ausstellungen richtig umzusehen, sodass ich stattdessen nur ein wenig über das Gelände schlenderte.

Einfach und doch erschreckend

Überall auf dem Gelände haben sie kleine und große Markierungen aufgestellt, die einem sagen, was ein Teil früher war. Einer der ersten, der meine Aufmerksamkeit erregte, war ein kleiner Gang zwischen zwei Gebäuden. Es sieht nicht nach irgendetwas Besonderem aus, nur ein schlichter, kleiner Weg, der  breit genug, um darin zu stehen, der für mich zu einem der Orte wurde, an denen mir die Tränen aufstiegen: Dieser einfache Gang wurden Hunderte von Frauen hingerichtet („Erschießungsgang“). Ich habe ein Foto gemacht, um den Widerspruch zu zeigen, aber ich habe es gelöscht, da es mir nicht angemessen erschien, es zu behalten.

Gleich daneben befindet sich ein Gebäude, das ebenso wie nichts Besonderes aussah und in dem sich das Krematorium befand. Drei Eisenöfen – glaub ich – stehen in einer Reihe und erzählen leise von ihrer früheren Verwendung. Ich gehöre ehrlich gesagt zu jenen Menschen, denen das Elend anderer Menschen egal ist – zumindest jenen, die ich nie kannte -, aber ich war kaum in der Lage diesen Raum zu betreten. Ich hatte nur einen Fuß drin und zog ihn wieder raus, sobald ich alles von der Tür aus gesehen hatte. Mein tiefster Respekt für diejenigen, die es geschafft haben, hineinzugehen, um Papierkranich-Ketten, Blumen und andere Dinge auf den Zaun zu legen, der den Raum für das Publikum abschneidet. Ich konnte es nicht ertragen, näher heranzugehen.

Etwas hinter dem Krematorium befindet sich ein Gefängniskomplex. Auch hier machte ich nur ein paar Schritte hinein, um zu sehen, dass es Teil einer Ausstellung war, und beschloss, sie am nächsten Tag anzuschauen. Gerade bei diesem kurzen Blick hatte ich schon ein Gefühl von Angst und dem Bedürfnis, wieder rauszugehen, bevor ich den Ort weiter störte.

Der Blick nach Fürstenberg. Eine Statue steht auf einem gepflasterten Platz vor dem See.
Der Ausblick Richtung Fürstenberg

Direkt neben dem Komplex und gegenüber dem Krematorium beginnt eine lange Mauer mit eisernen Namen verschiedener Länder. Davor befindet sich ein Feld, gefüllt mit kleinen grauen Kieselsteinen und Schildern, die sagen:

„Hier stand die Gaskammer, die tausenden Frauen und Kindern aus mehr als zwanzig verschiedenen Ländern das Leben nahm.“

Vier Gedenktafeln werden auf das heutige Grabfeld gelegt. Die ersten beiden erzählen, was ich oben geschrieben habe, die dritte erinnert an die Sinti und Roma und die vierte an die jüdischen Opfer. Das Feld erstreckt sich so lange, wie die Mauer mit den Ländernamen, die neben Deutschland auch Frankreich, Niederlande, Dänemark, Norwegen, Großbritannien, Spanien, Rumänien, Ungarn, Polen und andere Länder trägt.
Hinter dem Feld ist eine Mauer, die einen echten Friedhof abschließt, aber ich habe ihn mir nur von Weitem angesehen.

Wenn ihr denkt, dass der Widerspruch des Weges schlimm war, dann sollte ich wohl nicht erwähnen, dass das erste Bild auf der Seite genau gegenüber des Grabfelds ist. Eine wunderschöner Seeblick mit Fürstenberg im Hintergrund. Es ist teils morbid, teils faszinierend, wie so etwas an einem so schrecklichen Ort sein kann.

Nicht wirklich ein Spaziergang im Park …

Als ich mir den Gefängniskomplex angesehen hatte, hatte ich ein Feld dahinter gesehen und auf dem Rückweg ging ich los, um mir ein paar weitere Gebäude anzusehen und fand den Eingang dazu. Über ein riesiges Feld verteilt, dessen Überquerung ungefähr zwanzig Minuten dauerte (Das ist ungefähr die Zeit, die vergangen ist, von dem Zeitpunkt an als ich das letzte Mal mit einer Frau vom Personal über die Zeit sprach, bis ich sie später überprüfte; es macht mehr Sinn, dass nur so wenig vergangen war, aber es fühlte sich viel länger an), lagen die Ruinen und ausgegrabene Reste von anderen Komplexen: Arbeiterbüros, Kantine, Gefängnisblocks, Appellplatz und gleich am Ende eine Schneiderei, eines der wenigen Gebäude, die noch stehen. Im Gegensatz zu meiner ursprünglichen Absicht, nur einen Blick auf ein paar Markierungen zu werfen, ging ich den ganzen Weg bis zum letzten Gebäude und versuchte, die Bizarrheit der Situation und das seltsame Gefühl, das ich hatte, nicht an mich heran zu lassen. Das Feld ist mit verschiedenen Arten von Kieselsteinen bedeckt: Kleine dunkle, die einen Weg markieren, graue, größere, alles andere. Wo immer es früher ein Gebäude gab, gibt es jetzt eine Vertiefung im Boden und es gibt viele (insgesamt etwa zwanzig, wenn ich mich richtig erinnere).

Blick auf den See vom Eingang aus. Viel grün.
Ein Blick auf den See vom Eingangsgebäude aus

Als ich in der Schneiderei ankam, schaute ich auf die Uhr, denn ich wusste, dass die Ausstellungen um sechs schließen würden. Da mir bis dahin noch etwa eine halbe Stunde Zeit blieb, ging ich hinein und wurde von gruseligen Statuen begrüßt, die von einem Künstler geschaffen wurden, um die verschiedenen Insassen zu symbolisieren. Mit einem noch merkwürdigeren Gefühl überquerte ich auch den ganzen Flur und warf nur einen Blick in die angrenzenden Räume und wagte es nicht, hineingehen. Mit dem Gefühl, als ob mich jemand jede Minute einsperren würde, ging ich so schnell wie möglich zum Eingang zurück.

Da ich den Weg, den ich gekommen war wieder zurückgehen wollte, verließ ich den Weg und ging hinter dem Gebäude in Richtung des Ortes, an dem dieser Spaziergang ursprünglich begonnen hatte. Kurz gegen Ende kam sogar wieder Gras, wo ich neben Ruinen anderer Gebäude, wie einer Wäscherei, gehen konnte.

Als ich das Feld verlassen hatte, ging ich an einem Schild vorbei, das mir sagte, dass das, was um mich herum war – die Garagen – von sowjetischen Soldaten bis 1977 benutzt wurden, nachdem sie das Lager befreit hatten, und ich erinnerte mich das mein Vater mir erzählt hatte, dass sie, als er während seiner Armeezeit hier war, diese Soldaten passieren mussten.

Leben neben dem Lager

Andere Gebäude, die von den Sowjets genutzt wurden, waren die sogenannten „Führerhäuser„, die auf kleinen Hügeln über das Lager hinwegsehen. Ursprünglich bewohnt von männlichen Offizieren – und ich glaube, ihrer Familien -, die für das Lager zuständig waren, ist jetzt in einem von ihnen eine Ausstellung über die Geschichte der Häuser. Das Innere des Hauses war weit entfernt von dem, was es ursprünglich war, da die Sowjets die Räume renovierten und umgestalteten, um, glaube ich, bis zu einem Dutzend Männer unterzubringen. Man konnte noch den ursprünglichen Stil sehen – das war offen gesagt recht hübsch mit vielen Holzornamenten, aber nicht überall.

Zwischen ihnen, der Kaserne und dem Feld befindet sich auch ein großes Haus mit einer wechselnden Ausstellung. Ich kann mich nicht mehr daran erinnern, worum es ging, als ich dort war, ich habe es irgendwie nur überflogen. Das Gebäude war früher ein Büro, glaube ich – und es wird auch heute noch teilweise als solches genutzt.

Etwas außerhalb des Geländes stehen die Unterkünfte für die Wärterinnen, eine von ihnen zeigt jetzt eine Ausstellung über deren Lebensweise, ihre Arbeit und ihre Verbrechen und die anderen sind Teil der Jugendherberge, aber dazu komme ich gleich.

All diese Gebäude sind Teil des Lagers, aber dennoch durch Distanz, Mauern und Tore von einander getrennt und zeigen, wie unterschiedlich das Leben für Häftlinge und Wärter gewesen sein muss.

Persönlicher Eindruck

Wenn ich nichts übersehen habe, dann beherbergt das ganze Areal sechs Dauer- und eine Wechselausstellung, aber in der Nacht entschied ich mich, nur die im Eingangsgebäude und danach die drei oben genannten Ausstellungen anzusehen.

Es war seltsam, über das Gelände zu gehen als fast niemandem sonst zu sehen war und im Gegensatz zu meiner Absicht, dies alleine zu erforschen, hätte ich wirklich gerne jemanden bei mir gehabt. Obwohl ich bezweifle, dass ich es selbst dann gewagt hätte, mir die Ausstellung anzusehen, die mir Gesichter für die Opfer gegeben hätte, glaube ich nicht, dass ich dieses Wissen ertragen könnte.

Eines der Wärterinnenhäuser. In der Mitte sind hölzerne Balkone, die sich über drei Fenster verteilen. Links und rechts davon jeweils ein Fenster mit Holzklappen.
Eines der Wärterinnenhäuser

Während ich den Entwurf hierzu schrieb, saß ich auf meinem Bett in der Jugendherberge, in der ich übernachtete, in einem Haus, in dem früher das weibliche Personal des Lagers untergebracht war, einem Wärterinnnenhaus. Erst als ich aufwachte und merkte, dass es halb nach Mitternacht war – direkt in der Geisterstunde – und meine Unfähigkeit, wieder Schlaf zu finden, entschied ich mich, dies sofort zu tippen. Noch obwohl mein Laptop seine üblichen Geräusche machte, konnte ich die ungewöhnlichen von draußen hören: Wind oder Frösche/Kröten, die wie gebrochene Schreie klangen,  Hundegebell, das mich an gebrüllte Befehle erinnerte und die allgemeine Ruhe des Ortes. Es fühlte sich schon von dem Moment an seltsam an, als ich in mein Zimmer kam, aber in der Nacht wurde es schlimmer und obwohl es fast halb zwei war, war ich hellwach und nicht bereit, wieder einzuschlafen, bis ich gegen vier Uhr nachgab.

Ich bin froh, dass ich Sachsenhausen als zweites großes Ziel gestrichen habe. Wenn ich hier schon jemanden bei mir  haben wollte, dann bezweifle ich, dass es dort anders gewesen wäre.

Wichtiges Erbe

In vielen deutschen Schulen ist es Pflicht, mindestens ein Konzentrationslager zu besuchen – nicht meiner, zumindest nicht meine Klasse. Während ich dort war, gab es mindestens zwei Schulgruppen, obwohl eine von ihnen wahrscheinlich etwas zu jung war, um alles zu verstehen (sechste Klasse vielleicht?). Sie liefen herum und spielten Verstecken zwischen den Wärterinnenhäusern, lachten und waren im Allgemeinen ziemlich laut und das fühlte sich für einen Ort wie diesen einfach falsch an.

Schüler müssen ein Verständnis für Geschichte entwickeln und solche Denkmäler, die sie am Leben erhalten, sind ein wesentlicher Bestandteil davon. Mit all den Dingen, die in der Welt geschehen, insbesondere dem zunehmenden Einfluss von bräunlichen Parteien, wird es immer wichtiger, dass die Menschen etwas über unsere Vergangenheit lernen und vor allem daraus lernen, damit sich soetwas nicht wiederholen kann.

Etwas ganz anderes: Ein paar KZs waren kürzlich auch in den Nachrichten, als sie forderten, dass man Pokémon auf ihrem Gelände nicht fangen darf. Die Jagd auf Smogon oder Smogmog (auf Gas basierende Pokémon) oder der Nebulak-Linie (Geister Pokémon) dort ist ziemlich morbid und unangemessen, aber auch ein wenig ironisch und passend. Es könnte die Leute ermutigen, dorthin zu gehen, aber die meisten würden wahrscheinlich den Lernaspekt des Ausflugs ignorieren und sich einfach auf das Fangen konzentrieren.

Nun, damit ist dieser Teil der Reise beendet.
Hast du schon einmal ein KZ besucht? Was waren deine Erfahrungen?
Hältst du es für eine gute Idee, solche Orte als Gedenkstätte zu behalten?
Was ihr von den kommenden Beiträgen erwarten können:

  • Tag 2: Fürstenberg -> Radis
  • Tag 3: Radis -> Halle (Saale)
  • (Den Rest der Reise: Halle, Koblenz, Kassel)

Bleibt dran. Ich hoffe, dass es nicht so lange dauert, bis ich die anderen Teile fertig habe.


Blog-Parade ferngeweht – City, Country, River: P for Peene

Some time ago ferngeweht made a Blog-Parade about the old children’s game „City, Country, River“ or „Stadt, Land, Fluss“ as it’s called in German and asked for 26 Bloggers to write articles about a city, country or river for a respective letter. This time around Sabine wants 78 Bloggers (3 for each letter) to do the same.

I already participated in a previous Blog-Parade of hers (Fernweh) where my post got added to the e-book version containing nearly all entries and also two others about travelling (Strangest Travelling experiences and Travelling Glitches). When I saw the first Parade I wanted to participate, but my chosen letter was already taken and my time/motivation back then wasn’t that good to begin with.

Not that this is any better this time around (*click*), but I decided to apply for the river version of the letter P.

And as you’ve already figured out: I managed to get it. 🙂

Additionally, this post also qualifies as first „Travelling T-Day„, a category I introduced when I talked about the schedule (I just don’t have a picture for it yet >_<).

So without further ado, let me tell you a bit about

The Peene

The Peene is a river in North-East Germany; in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western-Pomerania) to be more precise and if there weren’t those huge corn silos I’d be able to see it from our bath-/bedroom windows. So it’s obvious why I chose it, right? 😉

Anyway, as the Peene is a German river the pronunciation has nothing to do with the English „pee“ – even if the Slavic origin of the word (Pěna) – meaning „foam“ or „foaming river“ – could be associated with the word. If you go for a similar sounding word I’d recommend a look at „penny“. Here you simply stretch the sound of the e for the „ee“ and add the short one at the end. Easy, right? 😉

River basics

Geografische Karte des Peeneverlaufs
(c) Ulamm

The Peene is a river system consisting of the Peene and other rivers that have Peene in their names (see picture) and several side-arms running towards or away from it. The Peene – that is actually only called Peene – I’m going to talk about origins near Gnoien and runs past Demmin, Jarmen (my home town that I’ll be using as an example throughout the post), Anklam and reaches the Baltic Sea as Peenestrom (strom = stream/river) in Peenemünde (münde being an abbreviation of Mündung, meaning „water mouth“) – at least that’s what I get from local knowledge and the quite confusing Wikipedia article.

This part of the Peene is about 126 km long, it’s longest distance is 185 km in total. The river is sometimes referred to as the Amazon of the North (Amazonas des Nordens) due to the curvy course of the river and its natural habitats of many different (sometimes endangered) species.

Wildlife sanctuaries and shipping

The mill & the filling construction
The mill & the filling construction

These natural habitats are often even sanctuaries, where beavers, (sea) eagles, otters and all kinds of little critters can live and re-populate. Some towns – like Demmin and Jarmen – even use the beavers for touristic advertisement (Jarmen recently got a wooden beaver statue at the town entrance). The habitats range from normal river valley (Peenetal 😉 ) to moors, with the moor even being the largest low-level moor (fen) (Niedermoor) in Middle Europe and other parts run through an Urstromtal.

Some parts of the Peene can be passed through on special river tours, where you can see these habitats. As the river(s) runs through a couple of lakes – like the Kummerower See – these tours are sometimes combined with tours there. Other parts are still used for shipping freight or (hobby) sailing, but pretty much every part can be accessed via canoe, with several stations along the way.
There are a few harbours along the Peene; in Jarmen there is the mill directly beside it and sometimes you can see the transport ships being filled from the mill and/or the tall silos that are blocking my/our view. ;)Obviously there are also a couple of bridges that are either high enough for boats to pass below or able to be drawn up.
Jarmen has two bridges: One for the (former Federal Road/Bundestraße B96) Country Road (Landstraße) L35 and one for the motorway (A20) directly alongside it. With an motorway entrance just outside of town it’s quite easy to cross the river here. The next proper bridges are, I believe, in Loitz and Anklam.

Foto der Landstraßen-Brücke über der Peene
The feet below the bridge (by the yellow sign) belong to the motorway-bridge 😉

But that’s not all there is to it

The Peene also has a history of being a natural border within the state that is nowadays called Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, but used to be at least two different parts.
During the Swedish occupation of the North, for example, the Peene was basically the border in most parts between Swedish-Pomerania and New-Western-Pomerania. During that time a lot of towns alongside the Peene – like Jarmen – were under Swedish occupation. Later it cut off the Prussian region of Stralsund. Today the Peene is usually part of a county on both sides, but before we had the „Kreisgebietsreform“ (county area reform) where Jarmen became part of the new county called „Vorpommern-Greifswald“ the Peene used to be the border between the counties „Ostvorpommern“ and „Demmin„, if I remember correctly.

An especially interesting tale concerns the part of the Peene along the town of Anklam. Where the Brandenburger (or -ian?) and Swedish armies fought over the town and its access to the river.
In a bit more fictional way this plundering and destruction is composed as a theatre play called „Die Peene brennt“ (The Peene burns) and is performed every year around September and shows how the Anklamer drove off the occupiers. Unfortunately I never managed to attend one of the shows, but some day I certainly will. 😉

My Peene

As I mentioned a couple of times now, do I live relatively close to the Peene. Growing up we met down there to just sit around and chat, to explore or to relax in the sun – if it wasn’t that time of the year where all the dead fish lay in the river after repopulating (Nearby we also used to have a large playground with a wooden ship where you could climb and play, but only the giant sand box it stood in now remains of it).

I made a few tours on the river – and I really like being on a river boat or ferry. One was in elementary school, that I mentioned briefly before, where a classmate described the animals we could possibly see as „Bibers“, „Adlers“ and „Otters“ (horrible plurals of Beaver, Eagle and Otter) and the other a trip as part of a birthday party from a friend of the family. Both were great and I don’t mind going on another trip.
If you live here it’s easy to come across different parts of the river, so it’s not surprising that I’ve seen it in at least Demmin and Anklam as well.

Flussverlauf weiter an der Mühle entlang

As I now mostly stay in Neubrandenburg I don’t have time that I could spent down at the river – and it would be weird because off all the anglers standing down there. Still I enjoyed going down there again to take the pictures for this post.

I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to the Amazon of the North and maybe you find yourself thinking about visiting it one day. 😉


On the Road: Through a bit of Germany 2014 – Pt. 1

As my plans for a visit to London are thickening and I’ve already talked a bit about travelling this year (Most ridiculous experiences, Worst experience), is it high time that I catch up with my travel logs, so here is the first part from my Journey through a bit of Germany 2014.

A different experience

That year I thought I’d try something different by travelling a part of my Journey by myself. I wanted to experience what it was like to not be confined to anyone not willing/able to participate or waiting for me to pick them up/drop them off.

So, what did I do?

For the first three days of my vacation I selected destinations for the end of the day (2 youth hostels and my aunt’s place in this case) and just stopped everywhere I felt like stopping along the way.

Through this I wanted to explore all those things that I had noticed while driving by but never had the chance to actually look at. And it felt like I stopped a lot of times.

Day 1:

Start: Neubrandenburg
Destination: Youth Hostel Ravensbrück, Fürstenberg/Havel

Stop 1: Prillwitz

When you drive down the B96 (B = Bundesstraße/Federal Highway) you see quite a bunch of brown signs beside the road; each one advertising a local cultural place. The first one I saw was for the Jagdschloss (Hunting Lodge) Prillwitz  and the Schloss (Manor) Hohenzieritz, so I made a detour.

Before I go into more details about this stop I’d like to add a few thoughts on the translation:
In German we often use the word Schloss to describe different larger buildings that were mainly inhabited by nobles and the actual translation would be castle. However, most people associate castles with high towers and maybe even draw bridges and stuff, but most of the German castles aren’t like that. So in case of the Jagdschloss I chose the term Hunting Lodge, while the other one feels more like a Manor. If you know a better term to describe those two, let me know!

Arriving in Prillwitz I first looked for a place to park my car, which I found beside the old church. It is a simple and quite shabby looking church, but with the coat of arms on the benches, grave plates and the carved mural (?) behind the altar it was still quite charming.

Still, my actual goal was to take a look at the Jagdschloss, but unfortunately it was closed and I could only take a glimpse at it through the trees and hedges. It didn’t look as fancy as I would have expected and I didn’t like that it was closed.
Realising that, I went a bit alongside the area of the Lodge and found a lake behind it. Just in the middle of it was an artificial island that was buzzing with birds that I do believe were either seagulls or cormorants.

After that I turned back to the road and went on to

Stop 2: Hohenzieritz

The Manor in Hohenzieritz used to be the residence of the (grand) duke Karl (Charles) II. of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and his family, but he himself wasn’t really what made this place important. It was his daughter Luise (Louise) whose name is still deeply interwoven with it.
Luise was not just a duchess, she married beyond her rank and became the wife of King Friedrich Wilhelm I. of Preußen (King Frederick William I. of Prussia). She was a well loved ruler and her death at 34 was devastating to her family. Therefore her father created a memorial in her death room in the Manor.

You can still visit the memorial and some other rooms of the Manor for a small entrance fee , but most of it is used by an office of the Müritz National Park. In an adjacent building you could also see the remains of the exhibition from the anniversary of the memorial in 2013. I looked at both things and at some point I felt a bit ridiculed by the repetitive description. I understood after the first time that there was the memorial of Queen Louise of Prussia in Hohenzieritz, I didn’t need to be told that it was for several more times …

Behind the Manor there is a huge park. It is quite beautiful and tranquil and I would have liked to explore it more, but as the sun was burning down on me and the distances seemed rather far I only looked at a few places. While walking through it I thought about taking my parents – especially my Mum – there, as I am certain they would (have) enjoy(ed) it. For a moment I rested in one of the rose hedge constructions and made notes for this post, while enjoying the quietness of the place – except the buzzing of bees and bumblebees.

Stop 3: Weisdin

After that I returned to the main road and continued down and made couple of minor stops. In Weisdin I wanted to look at the church – I really like looking at churches -, but it was closed and instead I went a bit down a side road and found a small Manor at the end of a pebble road. That one still seems to be in private usage, as I saw sun loungers in the backyard that also had direct access to a lake.

Also beside a lake was one of the many private accommodations you have in the area. Whenever I drove by I saw the sign advertising it and wondered who would actually stay in a place that close to the road and honestly a bit creepy looking. Curious as I am, I stopped and asked what exactly they were offering. Confused at first the owner was quite nice and showed me the small bungalows that looked directly onto the lake behind the house. The bungalows reminded me of the way most Lauben (small houses in gardens, but not as big as the translation summer house might suggest) I know are build. For 5 to 15 Euro you could rent them and even get a rowing boat as well. If anyone is interesting in such a thing: Just let me know. 😉

Stop 4: Neustrelitz

Another town that is deeply associated with Louise and her family is Neustrelitz which not just has the Neustrelitz Manor (Schloss Neustrelitz), with the Manor Park (Schlosspark), but also several other places I did not visit.

What I did take a look at – or at least tried – was the cemetery church, but too many people were lingering around and I only admired the architecture from the outside. Interestingly the cemetery itself seems to have quite a number of mausoleums or buildings similar to that.

In the end I went on and decided to get some lunch in the restaurant „Am Glammi“ (At the Glammi; with Glammi being a shortened nickname for the Glambecker See/Lake) overlooking the Glambecker Lake. Unusual for me I even decided to sit on the porch and order a fish dish. I can’t say I regret that decision. 😉

Stop 4 1/2: Godendorf (Ortsteil/district: Scheidemühle)

Oben Parkplatzschild für "Hillly & Billy Town" Besucher. Darunter ein Schild: "Leinenzwang für Hunde und schlecht gelaunte Gäste.
On leash/lead area for dogs and grumpy guests.

The next stop wasn’t really a stop but more of a not-wanting-to-get-lost-and-finding-something-funny-instead kind of thing. I actually wanted to reach the Müritz National Park, but the entrance didn’t want to appear before me, though through this I came across the Hilly & Billy Town ranch.

At first I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the entrance sign to a ranch in the middle of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern that was something I did not expect to encounter.
So I had to stop.
I parked in the ranches parking lot and went on to take a look around. Soon I was greeted not just by funny signs (see picture), but also a quite nice and large dog (I think some kind of Dogge/Mastiff?).

Soon my looking around was discovered as I got closer to the inn on the grounds and – I think it was the owner – chatted me up, asking if they could help me.
She told me that you could rent bungalows on the ground, participate in riding lessons or ride a pony or bring your own horse for tours. Pretty convenient for a holiday for a rider. Though not for me then. 😀

Stop 5: Fürstenberg/Havel

Die Kirche in Fürstenberg vom Platz davor aus. Mehrere flache Türmen erhöhen sich stufenweise zu einem Spitzen.
Isn’t it stunning?

For quite some time now the church in Fürstenberg had caught my attention while passing by it on our way to Berlin. From the outside it looks stunning, as it thrones above the market place and now I finally had the chance to see it for myself.

As I needed to drive a bit further to reach the hostel I parked my car in a parking lot near the turn and walked towards the church. In that short distance I could personally experience why the inhabitants of Fürstenberg want the highway (B96) out of their town. It’s no fun walking beside the road on a small walkway while trucks pass by directly beside you… For twenty years the initiative „B96 raus!“ tries to get rid of the highway with little to no success and for their sakes, I really hope they will succeed one day.

After a short walk in the sun I finally made it to the church. I enjoyed the view from the outside for a moment, circling around it before I entered through the main gate.
Well, I was quite disappointed.
On the inside the church tries to be semi-modern. It has a few abstract paintings and murals, modern chandeliers and a simple wooden organ.
Not at all what I was expecting. 🙁

To overcome this I got myself some (self-made) ice cream and went to the harbour, sat down on a bench and ranted at my Mum over the phone …

After that little break I drove to the Hostel and checked in before I went to my last stop.

Stop 6: Himmelpfort

Remember when I told you about writing to Santa when I was a kid? Well, Himmelpfort is the place I wrote to.

But long before Santa settled here there were monks that not just founded the local monastery, but also gave the village its name.

As two monks stood on a nearby hill they looked up to where Himmelpfort now lies and were awestruck by the light falling down before them and declared that this  certainly was the gate to heaven (Himmelpfort or Himmelspforte means Heavens‘ Gate or in Latin: coeli porta). And thus they founded their monastery and from it and around it the town was build.

By now there is only the ruin of the monastery left. Beside it now stands a church, a bell and even a small labyrinth. Within the church you can find the Coat of Arms of the family von Trott (Trottsche Wappen) and according to the flyer from the church its origin is similar to the legend of the Merseburger Raven that I mentioned in one of my stories over at DF.PP Entertainment, but with a nicer twist as the people who were accused of stealing the family jewellery were not killed, like the ones from the other legend. Still, both families decided to include the thievish animal into their Coat of Arms.
Nearby is also a lake that has some more stories to it regarding a greedy fisherman, but I wont go into more detail here.
All in all a quite a beautiful side this whole area.

But let’s get to the interesting stuff: The Santa Clause Post Office.
The Post Office consist of a letterbox outside of the main house which includes offices for the helpers, a restaurant and I believe some rooms for travellers. In the yard behind it there is Santa’s House and I really couldn’t resist taking a look around.

The house is stuffed with Christmas trinkets, memorabilia and all thinks Chrismas-y. To see this in the summer was a bit weird, but well, I chose to go there that time of the year. 😉
In the winter months there are all kinds of events and a Santa will be around for visitors, but of course not during the summer.

So after I got some refreshment I followed a couple of elderly people into a herb garden nearby and saw one of the largest Insect Hotels I ever came across – needless to say I got my dad a small one for Christmas that year.

Stop 7: Ravensbrück

After exploring Himmelpfort I went back to the Hostel and already did some first exploring on the side of the KZ (concentration camp), but I’ll talk about this experience in a separate post.

This concludes day one of this part of the Journey. I hope it wont take me that long to get the other parts up. I decided to split it here as the log was already quite long and the other days would have made it even longer.

What you can expect from the upcoming posts:

  • The KZ Ravensbrück
  • Day 2: Fürstenberg -> Radis
  • Day 3: Radis -> Halle (Saale)
  • (The rest of the Journey: Halle, Koblenz, Kassel)

Stay tuned.


On the Road: Giving a Lift

I’ve been meaning to write this post since 2012, but as I think it would fit the Blogparade „Travelling Glitches around the World“ (Reisepannen rund um den Globus) by Gecko Footsteps I decided to finally finish it – even though it happened in good ol‘ Germany. 😉
For quite some time now I’ve been taking passengers along for the longer distances between the parts of my Journeys and one encounter does definitely count as a Travelling Glitch in my book.
But before I get to that, let’s have a look at

How I get my passengers:

There are different platforms (everyone who ever looked for stuff like that knows which ones I mean, so I’m not going to advertise them) out there that give drivers the possibility to put up their route ad and offer a ride/lift for everyone that wants to travel the same direction in exchange for a little money.
Those interested can then contact the driver and arrange everything, like where to pick them up/drop them off; how to find each other, etc..
Usually this is easily done and most of the time the people I end up with are nice and interesting, but there are a few exceptions to that and one of which is what I want to talk about today.

A ridiculous idea

For some reason did I decide it would be a good idea to travel from Berlin to Hamburg and back to Greifswald/Neubrandenburg on the same day. Little did I know that this would turn out to be one of my worst decisions.
But why did I do that?
Well, as far as I remember was the whole ordeal on a Sunday.
The Saturday before that I was at a Powerwolf concert in Berlin and on Sunday we had a meeting from the Eventteam – the student group I was the head of at the time – in Hamburg that could not be postponed due to scheduling issues.
So basically: I didn’t have much choice, as I already had the tickets and the other thing couldn’t be changed either.
To at least get something out of this I then decided to pick up passengers from Berlin to Hamburg and from Hamburg to Greifswald on my way back.
So far so good, but then stuff happened.

Where are you now?

When I arrived in Hamburg I soon noticed that the original meeting point (Dammtor) was under construction, so I had no chance to park, let alone pick someone up there and decided to look for a different place.
After quite some time I found a parking deck a bit further away and told my would-be passengers that I parked in THAT parking deck (giving them the exact name that I can’t recall any more) and that they should try to get there instead (as new meeting point). I got a message from one of them saying that they found the train station nearby and I believe I forwarded that as well.
With the thought that everything was settled I then went to the meeting.
Unfortunately it dragged on a bit longer than I expected so even though I hurried I got to the meeting point later than I had said, but when I arrived no one was there. So I went to pick up the first person at the train station she had mentioned earlier.
At the same time I got a call from one of the others that wanted to know where I was and I told her that I was picking up the other passenger and that they should wait at the park-house.
As it turned out they thought I was in the parking deck near Dammtor (a parking deck near the original meeting point by a totally different name).
I told her that I didn’t park there and that I was on my way to pick them up, anyway.
If I remember correctly I got at least five more calls until I finally made it there and somehow found my way to them through the construction stuff.
This whole driving around (me missing a few turns along the way due to rising anxiety of what might happen when I arrive included) made us actually start an hour after the original plan.
The mood in the car was accordingly sour and down.

Are we there yet?

Time and again I tried to initiate a conversation, but I felt too… bad (for a lack of a better word) for making them wait so long(, even though it was only partly my fault) that I stopped trying at some point and just silently drove.
As it had been a long day and I usually made a stop there I took a break at a Fast Food restaurant along the way. Too anxious to say more I simply stopped and asked if anyone wanted to get something, because I was hungry and needed something to eat.
No one wanted anything, everyone stayed in the car and I had to fast eat my burger sitting behind the wheel and continue driving as soon as I was finished, abiding to the dark mood in the car.
A little while earlier – before the stop – one of the waiters asked me when we would arrive and I told her a certain time, which I later realized was a complete miscalculation on my part as the sat nav was set on my home and I didn’t include the dinner-stop.
Needless to say we arrived way later than I told them.
When we finally made it to Greifswald they all got out and I told them that they still owed me the 10(?) Euro for the ride, to which one of the waiters subsequently replied that due to the delayed start and the misinformation I gave them, she’d only give me five Euro and the others followed suit, intimidated by her.
At that point I was far too tired and exhausted to complain or tell them that most of it was their own fault, so I simply accepted it and just drove home – I didn’t feel like driving to Neubrandenburg, so I made a stop there and ranted at my Mum in the middle of the night about it.
With some distance to the whole thing I later pondered if it would be a good idea to create a dictionary Me-German/German-Me as I really did not understand how they could have misread my initial notification SMS…

The Morale of the Story

It’s been nearly four years and I still remember the dread and anxiety I felt during that ride and afterwards. It simply was the worst ride I had so far.
There was another one that turned ugly afterwards, when I got a bad rating by the girlfriend of a passenger for changing the destination after a discussion with BOTH passengers about what would suit them best and driving carefully (~100km/h on the motorway at times) after a Festival-weekend, but it wasn’t as bad as this one. At least the ride itself was great thanks to the other passenger that I’m still in contact with.
Long story short: You can have a lot of luck with the passengers you’re taking with you and it also can turn out badly (last minute drop out, language barriers, tense atmosphere,… ).
I certainly will keep posting my route ads if I drive alone, but after this and some other incidences I decided for myself that each of my route ads will include the following information:

  • The time is only an approximate value and can change due to different circumstances. In case of serious changes you’ll be notified.
  • If your English is better than your German: Please use it!

Better save than sorry, I guess?

On the Road: Of Angel Chicken Wings and other oddities

Or (some of) my strangest travelling experiences

Those of you who follow my Blog for a while now, have probably read some of the tales falling into this category, but when I saw the Blogparade by Mit Kind im Rucksack (With Child in the Backpack) on ferngeweht, I simply couldn’t resist to participate and give you a little overview about mine and add a few I haven’t managed to write about yet.

I don’t know why, but it seems like on every journey I take – be it short ones or longer ones – something strange – or rather, ridiculous – is bound to happen, so this will only scratch the surface and I’ll mostly focus on the stuff that happened recently that I haven’t written about yet.

Sometimes these things happen, simply because the whole situation is strange to begin with.
Like when Breagit and I spontaneously decided to take a two hours train ride to Berlin, just to get some bread. Other times they happen because of the people involved, like that time I had a midnight chat in the back of my car at a Festival. Or when Black Kat and I went to a The Other (Horror Punk) concert at the Weekend of Horrors only to exit the hall into bright sunlight.

Sometimes there are other reasons…

Lost Direction

Whenever I drive somewhere for the first time and take someone with me, I always assure them:

„There is a high chance that I will take a wrong turn at some point.“

And I’m usually right.
It takes me a few times to remember a route, but when I do it’s not hard for me to follow it (or recognize it even years later), but when I use the sat nav I don’t always realize if the turn I’m taking is the right one.

But I’m good at that without proper navigation, too.
Two years ago Janzy and I went to Ireland for Halloween (I know, still lacking a travel log, I’m working on it) and for our first day we rented a car to get to our B&B in Navan and continue from there. Unfortunately my sat nav did not have maps for Ireland so we had to focus on manual maps, which wasn’t easy as the highways were a bit confusing, it was dark and we really had no idea where we were.

At some point we simply drove into the town/village Sword – and yes, that is really its name – and looked for someone who could help us. On our way we saw a few children dressed up for Trick or Treating and finally found an electronic market that was still open.

So we went inside and asked for directions to Navan.
The shop assistant was quite confused about our request and right away asked us: „What do you want in Navan?“
Well, we had our B&B there, so there was that…
Luckily he could give us easy to follow directions as it was somewhere close to his own home and after way more hours than we had planned we finally made it there.

Navigating during the day then worked way better and we didn’t have any troubles finding Newgrange and Tara, but back in Dublin something else was lost to us.

I don’t know how many times we walked up and down the O’Connell Street looking for the Hard Rock Café in the alleys on either side of the road, but for some reason we couldn’t find it.
Towards the evening, we’d partly given up the search, but still occasionally glanced into an alley, we went down the street again and lo and behold, there it was, mocking us with it’s bright name-sign as we approached.
It’s probably one of those buildings that you can only find when you’re not looking for it…

Strange Stops

With travelling comes taking breaks and some of them are more intentional than others.
Besides having a whole Youth Hostel nearly to myself (report follows) or staying at a Hotel that turned out to be Motel (same here) there were a few other accommodation surprises over the years.

Like that time Feuerflügel made arrangements with a friend of hers so I could stay there and totally forgot to tell me the guys name. Or the first time I decided to sleep in my car, because rain had soaked my tent and pretty much everything in it (see midnight talk-link). Or that time when I barely slept at all because of the location of the Youth Hostel (soon).

But accommodations aren’t the only stops.
Festivals are a great source for unintentional breaks, especially if you wait about five and more hours to enter a Festival ground that’s only a few kilometres away and people start running into the fields beside the road to relieve themselves (report later).
Or when you have to take a stop to wait for a Ferry because your sat nav decided it would be more fun to take that route instead of the bridge beforehand … (happened to me twice, guy-name link + Metalfest 2012).
Or you take a break on your way back from a Convention at a resting place called „Brocken View“ (The Brocken is a mountain in middle Germany), but it’s nowhere to be seen.

Sprachfasching (Word-messes)

Those who know me personally, know that sometimes the things I say don’t really make sense, but I’m not the only one suffering from that syndrome. Quite a bunch of strange words or discussions were created during my travels.

I told you about the Pony with Horn and the Spaghetti Fish and other things said during that particular Wacken, but I have yet to tell you about the (titular) Angel Chicken Wings.

During InGenius‘ and my visit to Stockholm we discussed a lot of things. Plans, stories, ideas, writing in general and how many wings Archangels in general and in particular in Supernatural have.
While we were in the greatest Book Store I’ve been in so far, I incidentally picked up a book about Angels that said that the Archangel Gabriel has in some sources 152 (or 146 or something like that) wings.
When I mentioned it in a later discussion, we imagined how so many wings would fit on a body and got to the conclusion that they had to sit on things like hands and feet as well.

At some point InGenius commented:

„You could make a lot of of … Angel Chicken Wings from that“

We laughed about this and discussed it a bit further (how would one make Angel Chicken Wings in a SPN setting?). Incidentally SPN itself made a joke about frying an Archangel in the episode Changing Channels, well and there is always GraceCelestial Poultry, so it’s not surprising something like that comes up at some point …

Anyway, somehow we then got to the discussion about strange signs.
In my early days of travelling, when we explored nearby towns back in my school days, I once came across two arrow-signs, hanging directly below each other, reading:

„Lunch Specials: 5.XX DM“
„Funeral Services“

And yes, they pointed in the same direction …

When InGenius then told me about a sign that offered you:

„Second-hand Coffee to go“

when you read it the wrong way, I totally lost it and had to sit down for a moment, in combination with the Angel Chicken Wings this was just too much for me …

It’s in the genes…

Now, you’ve read a few strange stories, but long before I paid much attention to anything – or existed – there already were a few things that I’m told on occasion.
Contrary to what I grew up with, my parents travelled quite a bit before I was born and have many stories of getting lost while picking mushrooms, visiting bone houses and what not, to tell.

But there is one thing, I’d like to use as the final story of this post:

One time my parents and grandparents were driving with my grandpas Trabi (Trabant) and my grandma yelled at them from the back-seat:

„You guys keep looking straight ahead now.“

And proceeded to change the elastic band of her underwear right then and there. >_<
Doing weird stuff while travelling seems to run in the family …

For more stories about my travelling check out the On the Road-Category. 😉

Hope you had fun reading this


On the Road: Travelling with a Heavy Heart

For the first time since it happened my Dad and I will be driving to Mum’s/our relatives for our more or less regular Pentecost visit.
It will be very strange to be there without her.

The missing Navigator

Whenever we went to see our relatives, since I got my licence, Mum would sit in the back seat giving us directions and telling us when to switch the motorway and we would tell her that we know and that we can read the signs.
Whenever she saw me struggling to keep concentrated she would give me snack or something to drink, as we kept a basket with food and drinks on the back seat beside her.
Now both those task will have to be done by my Dad and it will be really weird.
We will find our way, but she wont be there with us.
Though the hardest thing will be that down there, where Mum grew up, will also be all those people that knew her and now have the chance to express their condolences in person.
It will be a difficult weekend full of tears, even though I’m tired of crying, but my heart doesn’t care about that.

Small steps

These past few (nearly three…) months I’ve been trying to get some kind of normalcy back into my life and as my Dad supports me in pursuing my own adventures this even included minor trips.
The first time meeting people that know what happened is hard, but at some point you have told them what you need to tell and you can commence to different topics, which takes your mind off off things.
My first visit was to Janzy in Hamburg where we participated in the Lange Nacht der Mussen (Long nights of museums). It was an interesting, educative and really nice trip, but the whole time there was this aching in my heart when I thought of my Mum.
Whene I was travelling in the past I would call her or at least text her to give her an update, but this time I had to inform my Dad about all the things happening.
It felt really weird and it still does.
Another way of me to get used to texting my Dad and enjoying stuff without having the chance to tell her about it was for me to participate in the meetings of the local Animexx group in Greifswald. I discovered the HGWAnime last year and one of their meetings was my last trip I could still tell her about. I felt the need to go there again, to be able to continue going there without thinking of that last time and so far it worked and I could enjoy my time there without thinking too much about her.
Two weeks ago Breagit and I also made another trip to Berlin for Germany’s version of the Free Comicbook Day. We were so busy throughout those hours that I barely thought about her, but still managed to give my Dad some updates.
Another thing I have last done when she got out of the hospital in January was the Sabaton concert I attended with Anice. I was so occupied by my fear of losing her that I only could really enjoy the concert when the main band started.
Next week for the first time I will attend a concert again. It will be in the same hall, but a different band and a different person to accompany me. I’m not sure how that will turn out, but I made the decision to see this band last year and I really wanted to see Blind Guardian in a standalone concert for quite some time now. I really hope I can enjoy it.

What is ahead

Last year I talked about my Fernweh and slowly but surely it keeps sipping in again. With all the sadness and memories surrounding the places I know here my urge to just drive/fly away, abroad if possible, is becoming stronger and stronger. But so far I don’t have any set plans for actual journeys, like the ones I did the past few years. But I want to continue to explore stuff and I’m certain my Fernweh will find a way. Probably even more so when I start typing up my travel logs from last year…
P.S.  On a completely different note and in a different tone: My Post about Fernweh is now also available in an E-Book for ferngeweht’s Blog-Parade: 49 Gedanken zu Fernweh (49 thoughts on Fernweh), you can check it out if you like, some entries, including mine, are even in English.

On the Road: A rather ridiculous trip

Facebook has a new feature that tells you what you posted today throughout the years. Out of curiosity I clicked on it today and as my Blog has been gloomy and not as funny as before I feel like I should tell you about this ridiculous/strange trip that happened exactly a year ago – like I wanted to a year ago…

It all started on a misty morning in April…

Like almost every day I drove down to work by bus and even though it was fairly early was it a morning like any other. Expect: When I looked outside I only saw mist blocking my view. Still, through this mist I saw a black clad figure making its way through the thick layers of water. It did not take me long to recognize it as Black Kat.
When we both finally arrived at work I told her about it and she told me that she had seen me the day before as well holding a paper bag from the soup bar.
I don’t really remember the exact conversation, but the following theory was created through it:

The rustling in the bushes is not the wind and it is not movement of animals. This rustling comes from paper bag-packs (pack as in wolf pack not backpack) that form when people thoughtlessly throw away their trash and are now eagerly waiting for scraps.

Or something like that.

But this was only the beginning…

During lunch another colleague, let’s call her Breagit, mused that she wanted to go to Berlin again. The weather had cleared, it was sunny and she was out of bread.
While passing by a truck sporting the incredibly melodic logo/brand name „Badusch“ (technically: Bad und Dusche => Bath and Shower => Basho) and enduring a drunkard on the playground were we ate, the musing turned more and more into planning.
So shortly after this lunch break, when we checked the connections and looked at our work load, we made the decision: We leave work earlier to drive to Berlin to get her some bread.

And so we did…

With a Länderticket (state tickets Berlin/Brandenburg ticket in this case) it is easy to get from Neubrandenburg to Berlin and use public transport without additional costs. Through this we didn’t have any trouble to get to the special bakery Breagit had in mind. As this very special bakery that makes bread that bodes well with her and that you can’t really get in Neubrandenburg was our destination – and not because there are no bakeries here…
While getting the bread was a very serious business when it comes to health terms, we did have moments throughout the trip were we just looked at each other, recited the trucks logo and started laughing because of the absurdity of this situation.
We earned a lot of confused response when we talked about this trip to other people.
My Mum for one wasn’t entirely sure she understood correctly what I was telling her on the phone when I told her we were on the train to Berlin to buy some bread and only wished us to have fun. Later, when I had explained it a bit more thoroughly, she called us bonkers…
Well, rarely anyone makes a two/four hours trip on a whim just to get some bread.
Besides this, another constant reminder of our spontaneity was Breagits repeated use of the phrase:

„Usually when I come here I have [this-and-this] with me.“

While it was less convenient we did indeed manage to get around just fine and also found a few other things to buy besides the bread (e.g. a Cookie for me 🙂 ), even without the stuff that would have made the trip easier.
On this very trip I also saw/entered the Grober Unfug comic book and the Otherland book store for the first time and declared them evil and worth another separate visit with more time to spent there.

And so it ends…

With the shopping done we soon had to depart again for our two hours train ride back. And one would think that the ridiculousness would end, but well…it didn’t.
When we waited for the train to stop at our destination we noticed an unattended bike and wondered if people would look at it the same way as they would an unattended suitcase. People are afraid of suitcase-bombs, so we speculated how one would use a bike in a similar situation. We came to very interesting conclusions concerning the frame and the bomb material…
Luckily the owner of the bike came out to pick it up to exit with us and it was not a bomb in disguise.
Long story short: This was a day that started strange and became even weirder along the way.
Though I wouldn’t really mind having such days more often – especially now that my thoughts have an ever higher tendency to turn dark.
Hope you enjoyed the tale.

A different kind of Halloween

Last year I told you about my experiences with Halloween and that I consider it to be one of the most interesting feasts I know.

Last years Halloween in Hamburg was fun – and I still owe you the review on the HellNights part of it – but it was still just Halloween in Germany and the same old story I already told you about.
We ended up in an Irish pub on the Reeperbahn, with a hilarious live band, nice drinks and a really funny barwoman, but the only costume was a Batman that briefly entered the room …

This isn’t technically something bad, but as you might remember did I also tell you that

it is one of my goals to one day spent a Halloween in the U.S. and/or other places with Halloween/Samhain traditions to see how it is celebrated there at first hand.
(Quote from the other post)

And guess what?

That’s what I’m doing this time. 😀

Throughout the year I discovered a more thorough interest in a certain country and as I already told you in my review for The Hunter’s Moon do I blame this on several posts by The Fairytale Traveler and Ed Mooney Photography.

With this and the fact that I still had quite a bunch of vacation days left for the remainder of the year an idea started to form.

An idea that became a plan that would have me spent

Halloween in Ireland

(and not just in an Irish pub 😉 ).

The original plan spanned over two weeks, starting from the 24th October to the 2nd November. This way I would have also been able to attend the Bram Stoker Festival. Unfortunately everyone I asked or told about this was unable to cover the costs for such a trip. With no one to accompany me, on what would have been my first flight ever, I canned the idea and stopped thinking about it.

Yet, it was still there at the back of my mind, waiting to be unleashed again. I wanted to go and the fact that I was also suffering from Fernweh at that time didn’t really help my case. In the meantime I had changed my plans to spent Halloween in Hamburg again. This time with a former fellow student of mine: Janzy (the one from the Jazzfrühling).
But when the trip to the MPS in Hamburg didn’t still this urge to go travelling, the idea returned on our way back.

Hamburg has an airport after all.

Not even a day after the medieval festival I started making preparations for the shortened trip (only from the 31st October to the 1st November) by working up my courage to write to one of the persons that started it all: Edward Mooney.

With his amazing help I managed to not just get an outline of activities, but also learn about things I would have otherwise spent hours googling for the same information.

Let this be a HUGE (public) THANK YOU, Ed!

As I wanted to surprise Janzy with this idea and give her a part of it as Birthday present did I not tell her at first and simply grinned like an idiot when she mentioned wanting to visit Ireland when we were on the phone one evening.
Still, the more concrete my plans became, the more I felt that I’d be overwhelming her if I only told her on my arrival.
Yet, I wanted to SEE her reaction. Luckily there are things like Skype. 😉

When I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer and had her ok, that she wouldn’t mind travelling somewhere two hours away from Hamburg we changed from phone to Skype for the revelation.

The part I gave her as gift was The Dublin Ghostbus Tour and I sent her the link for it.
She scrolled up and down the page to then start the following conversation

„And where do I see where it is?“
„Up at the top in the headline: DUBLIN Ghostbus.“
„Yes, but there isn’t a Dublin two hours away [from Hamburg].“
„Sure, by plane.“
The gears were visibly turning in her head until realization dawned upon her.
„No, no, I can’t accept that as a gift!“
„Everything is already planned.“

She was really delighted, yet shocked, about this turn of events.
And I was glad she liked the idea as much as she did. 🙂

So now after booking everything, struggling with car rentals and anticipating this moment for months it is finally happening!

When you are reading this post we hopefully safely landed in Dublin! 😀

Shortly afterwards we’ll be renting our car to drive up to Navan for our B&B and then a bit further to Athboy for the Torchlit Procession to the Hill of Ward (Tlachtga).

Tomorrow we’ll be exploring Newgrange, Tara and then Dublin by Ghostbus.
As we decided to return on Monday, do we also have the whole Sunday to spent in the Irish capital city.

While I’m writing this I’m really excited for the trip.
Driving on the left (*cough*wrong*cough*) side of the road, exploring a new country, spending Halloween where it is properly celebrated.

I doubt even rain would make this any less incredible, but it won’t rain anyway. 😀

Stay save in this spirit filled night and have Happy Halloween! 🙂

Have a carved pumkin for the way

Have a carved pumkin for the way


P.S. This is a scheduled post so it might be that it doesn’t reach my  Facebook or Tumblr page.

A special place for book lovers…

is located in the Mecklenburger Schweiz (Mecklenburg Switzerland).

As I mentioned in the beginning of and throughout the Book-Week had I planned a trip with my Mum to a Book Hotel or more precisely the Gutshotel Groß Breesen that claims to be the first Book Hotel in Germany.

We had discussed a trip to this place for quite some time now, but this year my Mum got it from me for her birthday and in the end of July it was finally time to go there.

Getting there and the first impression

Their logo

As we aren’t familiar with the region the hotel is located in, we used a satnav to find our way. Yet, even though mine has current map material, we struggled a bit towards the end.
The address of the hotel claims to be „near Zehna“ in a „Dorfstraße“ (Village Road) and my satnav was clever enough to send us into the Dorfstraße of Zehna…
Luckily it isn’t too far to Groß Breesen from there and we just needed a look at a printed map and were back on track.

Already when we entered the entrance hall we were met with the sight of up to twenty boxes, completely filled with books of all kinds. A sight that already let a grin spread across my face in anticipation of what lay ahead for us.

After we picked up our key card and found our room we had a look around, before settling in.

The Hotel

The room we had was a nice double-room that had already two books lying on the window sills. One by two pastors telling stories from their sheep and the another describing funny situations. I didn’t read either, but my Mum picked the comedic one.

You could get jealous of all these owls..

You could get jealous of all these owls in the hotel…

Just beside our room was the first library, but also three more shelves in the different hallways. In the library you had a couch and two armchairs to get comfortable in and if you wanted, you had also the possibility to listen to music from a player in the corner. Alternatively you could sit on the terrace right outside the room. We used the chance to sit there a couple of times in the evening and in the morning, before it got too warm/too cold out there and we moved to the garden or the arm chairs/our room respectively.

Next during our exploration we looked through the book boxes on our way to the vaulted cellar with the restaurant and already picked up a couple of interesting looking ones. We also discovered that there seem to be two more buildings containing the guest rooms and another, a bit larger, library in the cellar of one of them. Outside you had chairs and tables from the restaurant, but also many more possibilities to sit in the garden.


During our stay we enjoyed the awesomeness that was the restaurants food. It was always delicious, always an enormous amount of food and did I mention delicious?

Aside from that were there three things that stuck with me like the taste of the food:

During our first breakfast I had an encounter that I would have not expected to have. When I turned around from picking up a role (Brötchen 😉 ) I saw a man standing there that looked awfully familiar and he recognized me as well.
A hotel in the middle of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern isn’t really a place you expect to – or rather want to – meet a former professor/student…
At least my Mum was highly amused by this and I was surprised how much he remembered about me…

On our second evening we sat outside to have dinner and my Mum had ordered a bread-plate and as it was still warm the insects still flew around or more precisely: The wasps. They were pretty annoying, but it was really interesting to see one of them slowly cutting off a slice of meat from Mums cold cuts and fly off with it…

When we sat outside on Saturday the waitress came up to us, asking whether we knew English and were good at it, which I replied to with „I like to think so“. When she next asked if I’d be able to translate the menu, I told her that I’d try, but wouldn’t promise anything. Not long after this she brought me a tiny Langenscheidt dictionary, a pen and scribbling paper alongside the menu and I started working. With my own vocabulary, the dictionary and the waitresses mobile phone (aka Leo.org) we managed to translate the meals. If it hasn’t been changed then the translation of the menu is still by me. 🙂

Read where ever and when ever you want!

The best thing, however, was that no one judged the place you chose for reading. Or the time.
The hotel provides you with a variety of different chairs, benches and couches to get comfortable in/on, both in- and outside. Even when food or drinks were served they would make sure to place them were you could still read your book. Everyone passing by just gave you a smile, instead of the scowl you occasionally get elsewhere. The overall lovely and welcoming atmosphere was even more heightened by this. And just look at some of the places outside:

A couple of sitting/reading places outside

Benches, canvas chairs and many more

Luckily I'm not afraid of angels ;)

Luckily I’m not afraid of angel statues 😉

Who wouldn’t want to spent time with a good book there?

Everything in this hotel simply allows you to enjoy your reading experience just the way you want/like it.

Except, for example, a Mum that teases you with a „Still not finished?“ when she is done with her first book, while you’re still stuck with yours….thanks Mum…
To be fair did I pick a rather heavy piece with Jack London’s John Barleycorn and she had the comedic one I mentioned before.

Books as far as the eye can see

Even more impressive than the vast collection of sitting possibilities were the numbers of books you saw wherever you looked.

They lie in piles, in boxes or suitcases, on shelves in the different hallways, in the library room with the terrace or in the two rooms of the cellar library and a huge barn containing about 250.000 books alone…
Even though we had planned to take a look at the latter we were soon overwhelmed by the books we already had at our disposal, so we shelved (pun intended) that experience for our next visit.

This huge collection was brought there by the guests and other donors and will probably continue to grow and change as besides providing a place to stay and read, they also offer you this trade:

Leave two books with us and take one with you in return.

We have by the way left a couple of my Mums book just as well as Tiger Tiger and The Haunted Glass from the four that were initially intended to go there.

The thing I was wondering about most regarding the books I saw, was that there were barely any of the Fantasy genre, but I guess we Fantasy readers are simply too much like dragons and hoard our preciouses unwilling to give away any of our treasures (The Hobbit sends its regards for this metaphor…).
The book I did find was Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin where up until now I only knew its story from the movie version and I managed to read the first book (A Wizard of Earthsea) during our stay and picked this one to take with me when we left.

And even though there is now an English menu have I not seen that many English books, but a few are there. You just have to look a little longer or you bring your own and leave them there to enlarge their collection. Alternatively there might me more in the barn, but you’ll have to explore that one yourself. 😉

Simply put: This trip was an incredibly relaxing experience and both of us really enjoyed it. We already are looking forward to staying there or visiting again one day and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in books. You won’t regret it. 🙂


© I obviously don’t own the rights to the logo.

Re-Wri-Day: Weekend of Horrors

If you ever had a look at my archive you will notice that August is the month I posted the least so far. As there is no post in 2012 and only one in 2013 was I curious as to what it was. I thought it was my post for Wacken 2012, but was kind of surprised to find another post instead.
What is the Re-Wri-Day?
Inspired by EdMooneyPhotography’s Re-Work-Wednesday and based on the fact that my writing style for this Blog has changed over the past two years I kind of created my own version of this.
But why the strange name and what does it mean?
I’m awful when it comes to puns and I couldn’t help myself but to turn re-write and Friday into one strange word: Re-Wri-Day. Sorry…
But in conclusion: These posts are supposed to be always published on a Friday, but not necessarily on every Friday, just the Fridays when I feel like editing an old post beforehand.
And what am I doing with this?
I am taking my old posts from the beginnings of writing this Blog or just former posts and read them again to see what things I can change or add. They wont necessarily be actually re-written, but some changes will be made.
In the Re-Wri-Day post I’ll also give you a couple of thoughts on why I had chosen the topic and stuff you might be interested in.
So, let’s have a look at the post I found: Weekend of Horrors 2011
The first thing I noticed in the post while skimming through it, was a weird phrasing for one of the pictures‘ caption. As I hit the Edit-button I soon started reading again, changing phrasings and adding headlines.
In the post I am telling two tales – one is a rephrasing of a Short Story that was read to us and the other of something that happened to us – and I didn’t like the way I wrote them. So I rephrased and highlighted them to turn them into actual tales.
On the one hand am I wondering if I should leave the old entries to be in the writing style I had at that time, but on the other hand do I not like what I wrote and simply have to change it, so I did it again for this post.
Anyway, I probably already arrived at the M’era Luna (where I still haven’t finished the review for 2013), which is my last festival this year.
I’m curious if there will be Daleks again. 🙂
P.S. This is a scheduled post so it might be that it doesn’t reach my Facebook, Tumblr or Google+ page.