leisure, photography, seasons, summer, vacation, world

Throwback Thursday: In between

 

For decades, a secured border parted two countries here on Usedom: the German Democratic Republic (since 1989 a substantial part of the Federal Republic of Germany) and Poland. While about 90% of Usedom kept German after WWII, approximately 10% belongs to Poland since 1945. Nowadays, you can roam freely from one side to the other and the wooded path, built in the former no-man’s land, leads you right to the shore of the Baltic sea.

All humans (and animals as well) are living together on this wonderful planet. Despite cultural differences, it’s great to roam freely and get used to these differences. All of us can benefit from knowing each other Even when it comes to misunderstandings sometimes, in general, all of us benefit.

Goods, habits, culture, and much more enrich our lives, our minds, our experiences, and our common ground for further growth as mankind. Help to keep the fences down between states, countries, and people! Or, to quote a song by the British rock band Pink Floyd “Turn down the walls”.

 

Take care!

leisure, photography, seasons, summer, vacation, world

Throwback Thursday: On the beach

The sun is warm,
the sea is cold.
The surf rolls in
and wets your feet.
Collecting shells,
finding colorful stones,
watching the gulls passing by,
listening to the wind
carrying their cry.
Enjoy your life
before growing old!

 

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Take care!

animals, bird, flowers, landscape, leisure, nature, people, photography, review, seasons, sport, summer, travel, wildlife, world

Throwback Thursday: I’m back …

… from Usedom at the Baltic Sea. OK, I came already back on Saturday from my 2-weeks family vacation. Although it wasn’t a typical family vacation because I was on Usedom with my wife, daughter, and grant-son. That little guy is 5. So this was his first vacation where he was able to notice everything and he liked it a lot. One of his statements was “I like our new home more than our old home”. He didn’t realize, that the vacation home was our home only for our vacation.

Back in 2019, when we were in the Netherlands with him, he was too young to notice such a change. Back in 2018, I was already in Ahlbeck with my wife and we decided to come back with our grant son for his first beach vacation. Unfortunately, this come-back lasted longer than expected because of the SARS2-CoV / Covid19 pandemic.

This time we rented a vacation home near the middle of the town. Ahlbeck is quite small, with only about 3,400 regular citizens but with more than four times the number of guest beds. The apartment, we rented in 2018, was also very lovely, but reaching the beach from there was quite complicated because a huge rehab clinic building barriers the direct way and we had to make a long way around. Reaching the pier also lasted about 20 minutes by foot. You can see the pier in the image above from 2018. We love to walk along the surf in the evening, so we had to pull out the rental bikes first to reach the beach. Very inconvenient. That’s why we decided to get this time an apartment closer to the town and with easier access to the beach. It’s only about 200 meters as the bird flies and about 300 meters walk to reach the waterfront.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t perfect beach weather this time. Some drizzling nearly every day for at least some time distributed over the whole day. But, I won’t complain. We had some beach weather, we had cycling weather, we watched the neighboring towns as well as the next town in Poland, which is only about 4 km away. We also rented bikes for our stay and surprisingly the little guy was able to cope with the (quite small) distances on his bike. The longest distance we cycled in one day was 12 km with a couple of pauses. We cycled mostly along the sea on the promenade connecting the 3 neighboring towns grouped under the name Kaiserbäder. They have a lot of bicycle tracks here.

I love the area at the baltic sea for the small villages, the avenues with their chestnut or oak trees, and the forests reaching up to the coast. The sea does not have a noticeable tide (only about 10 cm), the huge beaches with very fine sand, and the flat-bottomed sea which is quite warm and less salty than the other oceans. So, these beaches are very entitled to kids, especially smaller ones.

The term Kaiserbäder (Kaiser = Emporer; bäder = baths) was chosen because these towns were visited by the Emporer of the German Empire back in the 19th century a couple of times. The word Bad (= bath) in a town’s name refers to the idea of being a place for curing and rehab. In the late 19th century, people had already come here to the coast for spending some leisure time, cure, and recuperate. Especially the rich ones and the noble men and women. Even the Emporers were here a couple of times and that’s the reason, why the towns have chosen the name Kaiserbäder to operate under that name. Nowadays, everyone can benefit from the beauty of the coast and retreat from the burdens of daily chores.

For one day (without having a certain date in my mind) it was planned to visit a nature protection area nearby (ok, 1 1/4 hours drive by car) to see White-tailed eagles (very good chance), osprey (maybe – a hope), grey cranes (quite good chance because they are quite common here but very shy), and red kites.

In the end, I saw 2 white-tailed eagles sitting in the trees far-far away and one flying from one side to the other (👍), one osprey (sitting very far away, then flying even further away, but also flying a bit closer to capture him), 5 cranes flying by, 1 stork, 1 crane with a chick in the woods (no photo possible), many grey herons and 3 great white egrets, common terns, lots of different ducks and geese, many swallows, black-headed gulls, cormorants. I’m stopping here to not bore you.

In the meantime, the others were visiting an adventure park in a town nearby very suitable for kids under 12.

For 4 days starting with Ascension Day, the German Masters in Kite-Surfing took place here right next to the pier. I watched the sportswomen and sportsmen for a few hours distributed over several days with my camera. You know, I like to see them “flying” over the water. This was an unexpected event and therefore not planned. But, very welcomed. Even the wind was unexpected those days: some competitions had to be canceled because of too heavy winds.

In the end, this was a family vacation and not a photo trip. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy about the images I was able to capture. The nature protection area has to stay on my list. I have to come again with more time and arrive earlier. Without the overcast sky, I’d have come back with less usable images because the light conditions would have resulted in either overexposed skies or in hopeless underexposed subjects.

As usual, click on an image to enlarge it!

Take care!

flowers, photography, spring, world

Throwback Thursday: A blue morning

Last week on Saturday morning, my alarm clock rang very early again: at 4:30. Many people don’t like getting up so early. They even don’t like getting up earlier than necessary or earlier than on a weekday morning. Me, usually, too. But, sometimes, the plans say different. So, this weekend: getting up early, drinking one coffee, having a shower, and jumping in the car.

Depending on the general temperatures of spring, around mid-April, the bluebells start blooming and their blooming time only lasts about 3-4 weeks. They depend on loose and nutrient-rich soil and must not become overgrown with bushes. The flowering cycle must be finished before the canopy of the surrounding deciduous trees closes and no light reaches the ground anymore. Although they were very common in Europe after the last ice age, they are very rare now, except in England and Wales. This small (tiny) forest is about 1,5 hour’s drive away from my home. Thus, I had to get up early if I want to be there at sunrise. And it’s only a very small timeslot to find rich blooming ground as well as not too dense foliage.

This forest is a nature-protected area. So, leaving the few paths is not allowed. I’m fine with that rule. But, there are many others not caring about it. The locals usually complain about the reckless visitors. When I was there for the first time, besides me only a few joggers were passing by. During my second visit, 10-15 photographers were also there, most of them equipped with apparently good equipment and a tripod. But, they should know better. When walking through the flowers to get ‘better’ spots / sights, they are trampling down the flowers and compacting the ground to make it next year harder for the flowers to breakthrough. They withdraw their energy into the onions. When I was there last year for my third visit, only very few flowers were blooming. Because of the cold weather, nature was way behind normal development. This year the timing was perfect. Many, many blooming flowers were covering the forest ground. Even from the parking ground about approximately 200 m away as the bird flies, I was able to see the blue glowing in the forest. And only a couple of quite well-behaving dog photographers (dog among the bluebells) were there. But, it was still quite full for the small area.

In the end, I was back at home at about 10:00. Time for breakfast!.

Take care

 

 

photography, spring, world

Throwback Thursday: Rewarded!

I assume, most of us like sleeping a bit longer on weekends or public holidays. Me, too. But, sometimes certain ideas require something else.

The week before Easter, I got a hint about a special occasion on Holy Saturday morning in Cologne. Cologne is not that far away, only a nearly 1-hour drive. So, I set my alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. When it rang, I got up and checked the sky if stars were visible. They were. So, starting the coffee maker was the next step before heading to the shower. Less than half an hour later, I sat in the car heading to Cologne.

Unfortunately, there were a few fleecy clouds between me and my target. Nevertheless, the results are quite satisfying, except for the black sky. Approximately 20-30 minutes later, the sky would have been perfect.

I gave it a second try on Easter Sunday morning, but now, the moon went down in a different position, so the composition wasn’t possible anymore. According to the source of the hint, this image is possible only once a year. So, Easter Sunday was already too late. The last image is taken on Easter Sunday morning, the others are from Holy Saturday.

Take care