Having only just been at the sea the week before, we arranged to have a short work-week and spend a few days with Stefan in his holiday home on the island Föhr at the north sea. It was a fair distance away and this time we decided to go by train rather than arrive exhausted from driving. Overall the trip would take us about 7 hours.
When we got on the train at Berlins main train station, it was already absolutely crowded. The first leg was spent on a fold-out seat next to the bicycles, but we entertained ourselves by playing a talk-box, which is basically a game with a whole bunch of creative questions to get to know each other a bit better. We told some interesting stories from our past, but really had to admit that we already knew each other pretty well. Who’d have thunk it? Eventually we switched trains and got some more space, so we could comfortably sit, read and write blogs. Another couple of hours later and we were onto the ferry. It was a bit windy 🙂
On the other side Stefan picked us up and we walked over to his house, through the very pretty old streets of Wyk. After dropping off our bags he gave us a short tour of the town and the beach. On our way we had to drop by a classic place of Wyk: The 50c ice-cream place. This place is run by a guy who had been selling nothing but chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice-cream from his classic machines – next time we’re there I’ll have to take a photo of them. We wandered the promenade and beach a bit and Stefan also showed us the communal herb garden and the Stork sanctuary.
As today was a festival day, there was plenty of activity in the harbour, including a rubber-duck race, which was super cute. On our way back we went shopping for dinner and had some awesome home-made meatballs at Stefans, paired with a nice local beer he had organised. Now I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I enjoyed this one!
As darkness fell we headed out to the beach once more to watch the fireworks. This was the end of the festival day, “Föhr on fire” and this was the last year it would happen, so they made an effort. The fireworks were set-off on a barge which had been setup specifically for this. It was a spectacular sight, although it was getting a little cold. We followed the crowd and headed home and called it a night.
On Sunday we decided to take a bit of a bike tour. After an excellent breakfast made by Stefan, we pumped up the tyres of the old bikes and got on our way. It was a bit windy at times, but it was nice to be outside. Along the way we stopped to check out the milk station, where you could bring your bottles and re-fill your own milk anytime. If it wasn’t Sunday, you could also tour the factory and possibly buy cheese… And we all know how much I like cheese, right? Unfortunately it was Sunday, so we moved on after checking out the machinery and being impressed with the “pay at the pump” credit card option for the milk station. Our goal was to go to a “Watt Walk” which you can do with a guide during low tide, because the ocean totally recedes in this area. We were a bit early so we headed to a local township to grab some lunch before coming back, only to find out that the winds were so strong that the water did NOT receed today and there would be no way to do the walk. To be fair, it probably would have been too cold for me anyway 🙂 As the ride there took over an hour we decided to break up the ride home by stopping at a well-reviewed cafe. and OMG it was worth it. I had the best strawberry cake I can remember! We also saw a classic car with little “Don’t touch” notes in all the windows 🙂
Our next stop was on a place google maps found for us – an ancient grave site. We walked the beach and the path near the beach, but could not find it. After walking past twice Stefan decided to go off-road, walking straight through some reeds, eventually finding a fenced-off area which had the grave-site in it. It wasn’t much to look at, but it was ancient, and we did have to work to find it 🙂
Stefan had one more stop planned for us – an old church which had the graves of sailors around it. These graves had stories about the people, not just names, which made them interesting. Unfortunately you had to know ye-olde-german and spend a long time deciphering the fading texts to understand it completely, but we got the gist of one or two of them. The church itself was massive and smelled a little damp… it also had a boat suspended in one corner. Sea-farer church I guess! As we were riding through the township of the church we came across this odd little store which made us stop… they sold a random collection of everything, across two old (sand-and cobble-stone floor old) buildings. It was eclectic, selling alcohol, perfumes, crystals, tea and coffee. They even sold Kopi Luwak – the coffee beans digested by cats. As tempting as it was, the average quality of the coffee did not entice me to try it here 😅
Another 20 minutes later we made it back home, in time for dinner. We decided to head across the road to order some pizza and have a movie night in, watching a downright terrible horror movie, which made us laugh more than jump 😂.
Monday we decided to take it easy and spend some time at the beach. The weather was friendly enough to let us be at the beach, though not friendly enough for extensive swimming: The water was cold and the wind did not help in warming up once you left the water. We all waded in a bit, but only Stefan was tough enough to actually go for a swim. One cool thing at this beach is the disappearing jetty, which basically gets covered by water at high tide. This usually creates a moment when it looks like you are walking on water as the tide comes in or recedes, but due to the wind gave us more of a feeling of a sinking ship as the water exploded through the planks 😂
Around noon there was a lot of clouds and eventually the sky opened up – it was bucketing down. We very quickly grabbed our stuff and got off the beach, under the covers of the local shops. Somehow we managed to get separated, with Stefan and I waiting it out in the foyer of a chemist while Manja somehow made it into a tourist shop a few doors down. As the rain slowed we headed over to pick her up and head back home to dry off. Did I mention that Manja somehow convinced me to move around without shoes? Turns out my feet are NOT hardy enough for this – I felt like I was walking on needles the whole day, especially when we returned after the downpour and had to navigate fallen twigs. I was very happy to get back to solid, smooth, concrete when we left the asphalt and cobble-stone roads 😁
When we were dry again we headed back to walk along the shore for a bit, with Stefan showing us some of the local sights, including the lighthouse of Wyk: Which Stefan decreed as “embarrassingly tiny”, being just over a single story building in height. We were also shown the house in which Theodor Fontane stayed for a bit. Toward the afternoon we headed back via some shops, and Stefan made pasta with two sauces – a white-wine and beef creamy sauce and a tomato vegetable sauce with chilly. Both were delicious and we all ate way too much!
Tuesday morning was spent relaxing and waiting out the rain, before we eventually decided to explore the township on foot a bit. We headed to a well reviewed and nice-looking cafe. Unfortunately they did not have seats for us inside, so we sat outside for 2 minutes before deciding that this was way too cold. Given there were no inside seats, we continued on our way to the next cafe. Unfortunately that place wasn’t a cafe, but rather a shop selling locally made sweets, so we turned around to go back to town. We came by the first cafe again along the way, deciding to just brave the weather. We got lucky: As we arrived someone just left, so we got a table inside. Score!
We had some coffee and cake, all of which was okay. I had a chocolate salted caramel cake which literally made me feel ill about 3/4 of the way through – it was just too massive. Think chocolate mud cake with serious icing, in a large slice. Walking off our food babies, we headed to the port just outside, walking along the storm breaks and collecting some of the massive amount of plastic litter which was in those rocks. At one point we spotted a crab, and Manja and I were unsure on what to do. Stefan on the other hand just picked the little guy up and threw him back into the sea. When we asked him if this crab actually lived underwater and would survive he said matter-of-factly “No idea”. 😀
We continued along the pier and saw the source of much of the plastic, which we had initially assumed to be fishing line: The boat ropes were made of tiny strands of long plastic. I mean, I get it: It doesn’t absorb as much water, is resistant to mould… But can’t we just use good old hemp ropes? It’s worked for hundreds of years without destroying the ocean and everything around us!
On the way back we stopped past a games store too, where we picked up an escape room in a box as tonights entertainment. When we got back it was about time for dinner, so we jumped onto the bikes once more and rode to a beachside burger place across the island. The burgers were really delicious and made for a fantastic last meal of this trip.
When we got back the tensions rose as we worked our way through the haunted mansion themed escape room. It was great fun, and we managed to solve it just in time 🙂
Wednesday was our final morning with just enough time to casually get ready and have breakfast before jumping back on the ferry and taking the long train-ride home.