Wadden Sea National ParkJuly 2 in Germany
Today we are enjoying our second day on a free grassy pitch at Südwesthörn, within the Wadden Sea World Heritage site, just 14km away from the Danish border. Aided by the constant wind at this coastal spot, the temperature has cooled to a comfortable level for Poppy, never rising above 23°C in the van.
The 80km journey here was shorter than the ones we'd made on previous days, but nearing our destination country of Denmark, we felt we could slow down a little and enjoy soaking up the sights that go towards defining Germany. For us, the following epitomise this part of the country: getränkehausen (drinks supermarkets that are stacked high with crates of beer), an abundance of high quality, interconnected cycle paths, flyers advertising flohmarkts (flee markets), flat fields growing sweetcorn and grain, arrays of wind turbines, well maintained parks and roadsides, as well as freibads (open air swimming complexes) in towns and signs directing you to badestelle (wild swimming spots) on rivers, lakes and at the coast.
After several kilometres on a narrow rural lane, past tractors harvesting hay, we arrived at Südwesthörn. Four vans were already occupying the dedicated 'grasscrete' pitches but we pulled up alongside, front on to some sort of water processing building and facing away from the 5m high dyke separating the site from the North Sea.
We took a wander up the steps and peaked over to find a sloping grass bank with large white wicker boxes that folded out to provide sheltered seaside seating. We'd previously seen them for hire at resorts but here they appeared to be free for anyone to use. The tide was out a long way, exposing an extensive area of mudflats, that were sectioned off by wooden fences into 'fields'. This was part of the conservation element of the Heritage Site; providing habitats for wading birds who came from the far north and south. Further along, these mud fields had been colonised by grass, the salt water draining out via straight sided channels dug into the earth, the more mature areas were grazed by flocks of sturdy looking sheep.
Vicky was pretty tired so spent the afternoon reading while Will repurposed a couple of strips of leatherette from the old bench cushion, sewing them together to make a container for our awning straps and pegs, before getting to work fixing the bathroom door handle that was a bit loose. Maybe Vicky should relax more often 😉
Later on we had a short wander and ate sild und brötchen (pickled herring on a bread roll) and eis (ice cream) at the little imbiss nearby. When the tide came in Will joined a few others for a dip in the small estuary where bathing facilities had been provided. The following day we rode the tandem along the good quality concrete cycle track and walkway that ran adjacent to the dyke. We managed nearly 9km before deciding to turn back, but if we had carried on for another 5km, we would have reached Denmark! Because the track ran one side of the dyke or the other, we either got a view of the fields of crops inland or the mudflats and reclaimed sheep fields to the seaward side. Looking past these there was a far off sea with grey silhouettes of an island archipelago, reflected in the water. Greylag geese flew overhead while small flocks of Starlings fed amongst the sheep. Striking black and white Oyster Catchers called out with their bright orange beaks and we eventually remembered the name of the Lapwings that strutted regally at a safe distance, occasionally taking to flight and exposing the white underside of their wings. After a rest back at the van, Will once again enjoyed a swim, then got to work making summer fruits jam with goosberries, redcurrants and strawberries.
Because both of us have had appointments with the doctor in the UK, we've needed to change our travel plans and have spent a lot of time looking forward, thinking about where would be best to visit, so much so in fact, that the 2nd anniversary of us leaving our home in Netherton completely passed us by! It was the 27th June 2016 when we posted the keys back through our letterbox and we've been on the road ever since! We can't quite believe the time has gone so quickly, but would certainly agree with the saying 'time flies when you are having fun'! We feel very lucky to be able to live the life we do and hope to enjoy the next three years touring, just as much as the last two!Read more