Last week I was on a short family vacation at the Northsea: me, my wife, and our grandson (5 3/4).
We were gifted with fantastic weather. Nicely warm and sunny days at the beach and on the many playgrounds the town set up over the years. We visited that town not for the first time. So, we were able to see the development. Especially my wife was there quite often when our kids were smaller. She went with only one at a time, while the others stayed home with me. Now, all of them are adults and traveling with their partners.
Being at the coast means having a good portion of wind around you all the time. During low tide, the beaches grow. When low tide is in the evening, you can have much space for flying a kite. We’ve chosen that way for the kite instead of going to the kiting ground because there are more pro-kiters and a small kid does not have the room he needs for his little kite.
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”.
The sun is warm,
the sea is cold.
The surf rolls in
and wets your feet.
finding colorful stones,
watching the gulls passing by,
listening to the wind
carrying their cry.
Enjoy your life
before growing old!
From today, a feature update of Luminar Neo is available. With the now published version 1.1 all proposed features are implemented. Therefore, there is no rebate for the reduced functionality anymore. But, with this code SOLANER-NEO, you can save 10€/10$.
One of the long-awaited features now finally available is the portrait background removal tool. Instead of manually removing the background and having to handle each hair separately, AI eases this a lot. With a single click the background can be made transparent.
We’re having a very interesting theme this week for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge hosted this time by Ana Campo, a guest host.
Over the last years, the traditional mail volume decreased, because our communications habits changed in accordance with the technical development. Most people have email and computers or at least a smartphone. Instead of writing on paper, we’re typing on a virtual or physical keyboard and sending out text messages or emails. Even invoices are arriving electronically. First countries already started to deliver mail less frequently. While we usually don’t get any mail on Mondays, I got news about Denmark, where mail is supposed to be delivered only once a week. The postmen now have more than one area to deliver the mail: each day in a different area.
According to statistics, I saw recently, the only kind of mail increasing in volume is the postcard. More and more people travel. Although even images are sent in huge numbers each day from one end of the world to the other. But, to make proof of having been on vacation, sending a postcard seems to be the only valid proof. So, whatever your vacation destination is, you go to buy a local postcard with a stamp and write a couple of meaningful paragraphs to describe the beauty of your chosen location (even if it is the worst place you’ve ever been) to make the recipient envy.
I’m also usually sending 5 postcards. Not to make my family envy, but to get some niche mail to the recipient’s postbox and send them kind of a smile in the face. But, quite often I stood in front of a postcard stand unable to pick a postcard because all of them were soooo ugly. In the end, I’ve chosen the least ugly ones. I’m also using a postcard app every now and then. I like creating postcards with my own images on my mobile and sending them via email or text message service. One of the apps has a very funny feature: it sets a virtual postmark on the virtual stamp by naming date and city based on the GPS location data of your location while creating the virtual postcard. But, that’s unfortunately not the same as a physical postcard. (click on the image to see it better)
At home, we have a twine in the kitchen, right above the kitchen door, where we hang up all postcards arriving over a year with small clothespins. Unfortunately, the twine is currently nearly empty because nearly no-one was traveling over about the last 2 years.
Another option I used every now and then is a postcard printing service. I’m creating a postcard with an app on my mobile with my own photos, typing in the address of the recipient and the message. The service company prints the postcard and sends it via postal service to the recipient. This is great when being domestic on vacation. When traveling internationally, it’s not so good, because the stamp won’t fit the country you’re traveling in.
Sometimes I’m also using a piece of software on my computer to create postcards. Especially, when I plan to send them online. The app on my mobile is not bad, but the options are quite limited.
Today, I’m sending you a picture postcard. It’s not from LA, because I’m not Joshua Kadison. It’s from the small town, where I used to spend a big part of live, although not my hometown.
Each year in September, when not having a pandemic around, a funfair comes to town for an extended weekend. Therefore our old town is decorated with old clothing as you can see in the upper left image. This image was even added to our state library as a document of traditional habits and customs a few years ago. The upper right is taken in May when blooming Japanese Cherries are decorating the streets. The lower right image shows the castle near the town in winter. Up to the 1960s, the descendants of the original owner were still living there. Now, it’s owned by the city government and hosts a museum and a great hall is used for civil weddings. The 3 images on the lower left are also parts of the old-town, and in the middle one, you can see the maypole with the signets of the 13 neighborhoods.
I hope, you enjoyed the postcard. Remember, you can enlarge the images by clicking on it.
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Sitting sun-kissed, mosquito-bitten, cooled down from rain while cycling and quite relaxed. That’s how I’m back to my desk at home. Most of the laundry is already done, fridge is full again and the pile of mail is worked through. During the last two weeks I was on vacation. Our vacation home was on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern state of Germany bordering south to Denmark. Schleswig-Holstein has two coasts: the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the east.
Fortunately, I scheduled my blog posts in advance as usual. It was our first vacation home without WiFi for very long time. I forgot to double-check the availability of WiFi in the vacation home while booking. To make it even worse, we were in a region with extremely bad coverage with mobile internet. Only few spots were usable to check emails or social media. The allowed data volume is consumed very quick under these circumstances. Even the local restaurants didn’t offer WiFi to their guests.
We were in the area called Friedrichskoog (a Koog named after King Frederick of Denmark, when it was created more the 150 years ago), a part of the grater area Dithmarschen. Dithmarschen is well known as being a source of vegetables and geese. We saw many, many fields growing different kinds of cabbage, carrots, chard, leek, onions, strawberries, potatoes, wheat and rye. While the rangers in the bordering state Lower-Saxon rise cows for producing milk, you can find here huge herds of sheep instead of cows (despite there are also cows here). Especially along the coast sheep are literally on every dike. I already wrote about the dike sheep and how near you can come to them in a past post. Although, that sheep were on the dikes in East-Frisia, which is part of Lower-Saxon. But, here’s the same – only the herds are bigger and there are more dikes. Btw. Dithmarschen is part of North-Frisia 🙂 wich is part of the state Schleswig-Holstein.
You might ask, why does Schleswig-Holstein have more dikes than Lower-Saxon? That’s because the locals tried to wrest additional land from the sea. You know, the North Sea consists of mudflats. During low tide the sea ground falls (nearly) dry, while high tide or flood the area is below the water again. This moving water brings silt and lays it down, where the streams are weak. So, people have started to put up rows of wooden piles in the mudflats called Lahnung (sing. / pl. Lahnungen). They are meant to give the mud some extra room get laid down. Over time, new areas of land were gained from the sea and parted by a new dike from the sea. This is called a Koog. The technique is quite similar to the Polder in the Netherlands. Because of the growing of the Koogs, there are some dikes one after another, just as the land grew. Nowadays, the still set up Lahnungen to gain new land (and save the dikes!!), but they don’t build new dikes anymore to part them from the sea. The new gained areas are left open to the sea as Salzwiesen (pl. salt meadows). Very special plants grow here. It’s also a breeding area for many sea-birds. And it’s a huge resting area during the biannual bird-migration in spring and fall. Thus, the salt-meadows are parts of the national park „Wattenmeer“ and thus under protection.
As usual, we picked our vacation home near the beach to be able to have an evening walk after diner alone the sea. It’s great to watch the sinking sun, the expanse of the sea (or the mudflat during low tide 🙂 ). Here we have that certain view, too. But the beach is different compared to other beaches. We have had to cross (climb up some stairs) the dike and walk down to the sea limit without having to cross sand or pebbles. We even does not need to climb over rocks. Here, the beach is green. It’s covered with grass. A strange experience. It looks like a lake or so, but not like being at the sea. It doesn’t make any difference. It’s the salty odour, the sound of the birds, the rolling waves and so on.
This land is quite flat. The highest points beside buildings are usually the dikes. This, and laying between two seas make the state the perfect land for producing electric power from wind. So, alone in the area Friedrichskoog, a small part of Dithmarschen, you can find over 90 wind farms with a total of 205 mega-watts, as I read in a local publication dedicated for the tourists.
It’s also a region ideal for biking. Fortunately, there were bikes in our vacation home included, so we didn’t have had to rent some. So, we rode around to see more of the environment. We also made a few trips to other towns nearby. That’s more to tell later :). I also was on the hunt for birds with my camera.
You knew, there is a very special horse breed living on Iceland. These horses are living outside the whole year. They are i.e. used for catching the sheep in fall and bring them back to the houses while they live free in the highlands during summer.
You can also come to Iceland to make riding holidays. There are offers for different kinds of riding skills. The cross country tours are the most challenging ones and you’re supposed to be a very good and experienced rider. The guided tours consist of 3 horses for each rider. The additional horses run free with the groups and without luggage or a settle. The tours follow paths to meet every now and then certain places for a rest where a car with some stray waits, to feed the horses. Drinking water isn’t a big problem here, but food.
We met such riding tours a few times during our trips through the highlands, as you can see.