German-American Couple Visits the North Sea, Denmark and a Whole Hell of a Lot of Sheep

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“Stop. Stop. Stop.”

In mid-August, my German wife and I boarded a train which took us from Hannover to the North Sea of Germany. We met my wife’s family in Husum and stayed with them on the Nordstrand peninsula — in the tiniest, most 1970s bed and breakfast you’ve ever seen. Outside, we were surrounded by giant wind turbines, rolling green pastures and sheep. Oh God… so many sheep.

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Why are we all wearing socks, you ask? Oh, just the rocks and razor-sharp clam shells hidden beneath the mud…

We went for a walk through the Nordstrand mudflats during low tide (Wattwanderung) and visited the Hallig of Nordstrandischmoor. A hallig is an undyked islet, which means it’s basically just a little hill that becomes isolated by the ocean during high tide, and sometimes for several weeks at a time during winter. 27 people live on Nordstrandischmoor, and it is common knowledge that one of them is pregnant. (A real concern, when their only connection to the mainland is a rusty old construction railway.) The very thought of being trapped on this hallig for any length of time had me nervously checking the tide schedules and eyeballing the nearest sheep, wondering about its capacity to serve as a floatation device. “Mother of God, the ocean is closing in! C’mere you little shit…” *BAAA-A-A-AHHHG*

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That’s a church AND a school. “Welcome to 1st Grade, sinners!”

We also took a day trip to Denmark and visited the city of Sønderborg. I was super excited about this, as I am whenever I get to cross a border into a different country. It always feels a little naughty, like I’m getting away with something. Like I’m a drug mule with a colon full of heroin balloons, and my puckering anus is the only thing between me and a life sentence. I was disappointed when we didn’t have to stop for customs or border patrol — we didn’t even have to show our visas or anything! Oh European Union… you are awesome, but you are boring.

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“Where’s the civilian border patrol? Why is no one shooting at us?”

One the way back from Denmark, we stopped by Flensburg, which is the northernmost town on the German mainland. There, we ran into some kind of festival down by the water, where my brother-in-law and I poured shots of vodka into our Flensburger pilsners and named them “Titty Pils.” (My mother-in-law was not amused.)

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“I’m sorry, Schwiegermutter, but I am not the angel you thought I was.”

The next day, the whole family got on a ferry and rode out to another hallig, this one called Gröde. It is the smallest German voting district, with a whopping total of 17 inhabitants. They have a church, a cemetery and an elementary school in which two students are enrolled. Two. You can imagine what prom will be like when they’re older:

“Would you like to dance, Grizelda?”

“I’m sorry, Orbert, but Papa says dancing gives vigor to the Devil’s loins.”

…and then they just sit there, gazing out the window at the tallest hill on the island, at the peak of which are two sheep enjoying the most violent, wool-slapping sheep sex on earth.

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Oh yes, those people laying in the grass in boots and full raincoats are “sunbathing.”

I can’t really do justice to all the things we saw at the North Sea and in Denmark, so I’ve put this little video together. It summarizes the whole trip in about 60 seconds:

***WARNING*** Video contains a lot of annoying wind noises and more than a few swear words.

*To clarify that last bit, I wanted to take a picture of the ocean, not record a video. You feel me, iPhone 4 users?

And of course, here’s a picture gallery. I took 90% of these pictures, but the ones that aren’t completely awful were taken by my wife. Please click one to begin the slideshow.

Thank you for reading our blog and have a wonderful day!

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9 thoughts

  1. Let me give you an advice so you don’t have to embarrass yourself in front of your mother-in-law the next time you wanna get drunk. Just order a beer and Korn (we usually refer to that as a “Herrengedeck” [something like “a gentlemen’s set menu”] or “Lütt un Lütt” [ Low German for “small and small”]). That’s sounds very classic and you may surprise her with nice manners. Just until you drop it, because we usually drink that with one hand on the same time. I´m very sure that there’s no classier drink that is sipped in a nastier way than that one. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife mentions that quickly in the video. It’s a tradition here in Germany (at least in the northern part): When a young man turns 30 and he’s still unwed, his friends haze him in public. The hazing always seems to involve copious amounts of alcohol, humiliating costumes and the cleaning / sweeping up of things off the ground. I’ve seen this sort of thing like 5 times in the last 2 years. Seems like adding insult to injury, if you ask me, but they always seem to be having an awesome time. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess as long as they all have fun. :) In Korea, it happens on his wedding day. Right after they get married, they drive around downtown and haze him with his bride watching. It’s all in fun, but you feel a bit bad when you see a new groom walking around tied to a car while his wife sits in the trunk in her wedding dress laughing. :)

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