Pomp and Splendor in the Ludwigslust Palace

This summer I was exploring another palace in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region in northeast Germany. Pomp and splendor on a high level, surrounded by an enormous park, a so-called palace garden and with a very unique church facing the palace. I would compare this with the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam near Berlin.

One of the many various things I did this year was the visit in Ludwigslust. The day started by driving east with the goal of a coast town, changed already after 20 kilometers into ‘let’s go to Schwerin’ where is another palace and changed again then into Ludwigslust, south of Schwerin. Mainly because I have never been there. And for my sweet sweetie it was both the same: he didn’t know any of them. And for me it was a great surprise.

Ludwigslust is just about 40 kilometers south from Schwerin, half an hour drive through a very nice landscape with a lot of forests. We arrived in the little town around noon and found a parking space right in front of the very big palace.

The first thing I noticed was the cascade opposite to the enormous entrance of the building and more far away the Greek temple like church. All calling for long visits.

Ludwigslust once was just a hunting lodge for the duke Frederick II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin who had his main seat in the Schwerin palace. It was first built in 1724, so not that long ago, by Prince Christian Ludwig. 20 years later he became the reigning duke and changed the name from Klenow (the name of the area before) into Ludwig’s joy (Ludwigslust) and made it his main residence.

During the years of construction and of course later the place grew from a very little village to a town. Today there are still the housings of the people who worked for and in the palace along the way to the catholic church. The castle or palace was rebuilt between 1772 and 1776 to plans of Johann Joachim Busch in a late Baroque style. The E-shape is better visible from the back side. The duke liked clearly a mixture of old styles: Corinthian in the central blog, Ionic in the side wings, some Neoclassical style in the facade and a Doric portico. Brick and sandstone were used as construction material. The (40) statues on the roof give it an interesting look, like people are walking on the top of the palace.

We bought a ticket to visit the inside, the gardens and the church opposite.

One of the first rooms we saw was the golden hall (Goldener Saal). Beautiful, I liked the mirrors in which you could overview even more. Mirrors were often put in big halls to make them even bigger but also to multiply the candle light and make the room much brighter. Very impressive are the Corinthian columns, the very decorated ceiling and the wonderful wooden floor. To watch people dancing on the floor from the surrounding balconies must have been such a joy.

We walked through a lot of other rooms like the private ones of the duke and duchess.

Inside the palace there is also a restaurant with a terrace facing the gardens, a perfect place to rest after a walk through the amazing palace and enjoying the sunshine, before you walk over or to the church or through the huge (120 hectare) park.

When the last duke abdicated in 1918, the palace was used as a residence for the family. After 1945 it hosted various administrative offices and is today a museum, open to the public.

The cascade opposite to the entrance of the palace on the Schlossplatz (palace square) was originally built in wood and only later changed into sandstone. The water feature was built in the years 1780 to 1785 and was connected at the canal system of the palace gardens. During wintertime the water still flows and not seldom gets ice sculptures.

We enjoyed our stay very much. It was only half a day, we saw also the church and the gardens, but it should be a whole day. There is so much to see and enjoy, not to hurry through all of it. We didn’t visit the village at all.

Ludwigslust, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern/Germany:

For more information:
If you want to see more pictures about Ludwigslust Palace
More about the region Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

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Sandy views – Beach Impressions

Beach, beach, beach – I walked this summer a few times along the shore of an ocean or sea and enjoyed a little photography there. Here are some of my beach impressions, some are a little altered for fun.

Enjoy the photos!

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Against the Wind in Nordfriesland – Sankt Peter Ording

The little Spa Resort of Sankt Peter Ording on the Eiderstedt peninsula offers a great variety of nature and leisure. It is the only seaside resort in Germany that has a sulfur spring and the most overnight stays of Schleswig-Holstein. I have been there for some mud flat hiking.

We found a place to sleep in a little village nearby and a little outside the ‘huzzle buzzle’ of SPO, short version of Sankt Peter Ording. My purpose was mainly to do some mud flat hiking. Friends told me the best place to do so would be here. So most of the time we spent in the nature resorts but one afternoon we had also a walk through the little town.

We more happened in the center of the town because we were looking for some tourist information. We found it right at the market place, parked out car and walked over to the tourist information center. I would really recommend to go to some because they can give you good directions and what absolutely to see and what you maybe could skip.

Historically SPO is a conjunction of a few fishing villages. Sankt Peter was first mentioned in 1373 and was called then Ulstrup. Once there lived the Vikings. In the middle of two centuries ago the two villages Sankt Peter and Ording merged into one village.

The life was not always easy in the area. Dunes wandering with the strong winds that even for a long time parishioners had to shovel their way to the church. Planting a permanent vegetation helped a lot to stop the continuous sanding. In the ’70s of the 19th century the tourism started with the first hotel and is still a famous health resort for the high levels of aerosolized salts and iodines. I know that during the WWs people would send their children here for a better health. But also today it is a great place for people with hay-fever for example, no allergens are her. The air is good for heart, metabolism and blood circulation.

The stilt houses along the beaches – by the way the beach here is the largest in Europe with nearly two kilometers to walk before you actually can touch the water – are characteristic and are saving them from flooding during storms for example.

After getting more wisdom we just walked into the old center. I loved loved loved the little thatched houses, more cottage-like sometimes, and especially the front-gardens. They are always so full of flowers, oftentimes wild flowers, but always like English gardens or cottage gardens. A dream for all nature and flower lovers.

There is also (along the beaches) a very new part; one with hundreds of shops and restaurants. We had a look there as well and took a break with coffee and some snack sitting in a beach chair on the sidewalk of the main street.

We visited also the very small local museum which was very interesting. In the evening we were lucky to go for an organ concert in the main church of SPO.

We unfortunately had not enough time to see the Robbarium, a place for injured or ill seals. The lighthouse didn’t seem to me a must-see, maybe I am wrong with that. I think it is very nice you have hotspots along the beaches so you can surf in the internet even sitting in your private beach chair at the beach. The beach is a great sports ground for Kite-surf, Kite-buggy, Kite-sailing and Kite-flying. You see, the wind is the key-ingredient here. Did you ever hear about the against-the-wind-triathlon? It is an annual event here.

Sankt Peter Ording, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:

For further information:
A little bit more about Sankt Peter Ording (in German)

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Ocean and Sea – The North Sea (National Park)

The North Sea between Scandinavia, England and the northern main land of Europe (roughly said) is the connection to the Atlantic Ocean. It has also a connection to the Baltic Sea by way of the Danish Skagen Odde opening.

I visited this summer the North at Sankt Peter Ording for some mud flat hiking. In the tourism center I read a few interesting things about the area and the North Sea. For example I never knew that it is one of the most altered coasts in the world even though I knew it is densely inhabited. It has a length of nearly a thousand kilometers and was damaged by over-fishing, dredging, dumping and agricultural and industrial runoff.

The name North Sea is common today in most of the languages but once was also called Frisian Sea (because along the south and east coast there were and still are the Frisians) meanwhile the Frisians called it West Sea.

It still has a great biodiversity but most of the animals have now a much declined population. There are many organizations trying to maintain at least what is still there. Imagine there were living once pelicans and flamingos along the southern shores. Birdwatching is very popular here. The Wadden Sea National Park – including 3 countries: Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands – helps to conserve the nature.

Historically the North Sea has seen the rise and fall of the Viking era, the Hanseatic League had a minor role in this area but the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) was based very much on the North Sea. Unfortunately in the world wars it was a battle ground and in the aftermath a lot of chemical weapons were dumped into the waters.

Today along the southern shores there are a lot of windmill parks, huge, seemingly endless you can see them out of the plane when flying from Hamburg to London or Dublin for example. Unfortunately they still drill for oil and gas as well. As recreation zone it offers of course long beaches, most of them of white, fine sand. But also bird-watching, recreational fishing, windsurfing (good strong winds nearly everywhere) and the mud flat hiking. There is a North Sea Trail going through 7 countries along the North Sea.

We just walked along the beach of Sankt Peter Ording and did a little bit mud flat hiking. But it is definitely different to other ocean or sea shores and on the German side it gives a great introduction to the culture of northern German people.

North Sea:

For more information:
If you want to know more about the North Sea Trail

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Hiking in the Mud Flat, Wadden Sea or Watt

Part of UNESCO’s World Heritage, the Wadden Sea is a kind of intertidal zone in the North Sea. The tide goes out and leaves the flat bottom. You can walk from island to island in those hours… for some people the only way to leave their homes. The around 500 km along the North Sea shore are heavily altered, yet it seems natural.

When we were visiting Sankt Peter Ording this summer, we had a few walks in the salt marsh – a coastal intertidal zone with grasses, shrubs and herbs that are regularly flooded by salt water during high tide – and the mudflat or Watt itself. It is one of the most interesting and richest ecosystems and was always on my to-absolutely-do-list.

Mud or tidal flats are coastal wetlands that are exposed twice a day. They are essentially sediments of estuarine silts, clay and animal detritus. Very often these lands were dredged and developed into agricultural areas. Along the North Sea many places are used for sports and tourism like mud flat hiking or land sailing.

Tidal flats are very important and rich ecosystems. Migratory shorebirds find there food here, crabs, fish and mollusks are living in the mud and for many other animals they are vital. Mud flats are also preventing coasts from erosion. The same the following marsh land with a great variation of herbaceous plants, shrubs and others. These mud flats exist in the whole world in many areas where there is open sea.

The Wadden Sea, like it is called along the North Sea coast, stretches from Den Helder in the Netherlands to Skallingen in Denmark and has a length of 500 km. Nearly everywhere you find dikes and causeways.

We have been to Sankt Peter Ording in Northern Germany for a few days and hiked there the mud flats and beaches. There are enormous beaches with fine, white sand, beach chairs and restaurants. If you go out on sand banks you can see harbor seals and walk also from island to island further north of SPO. I thought the salt marches are also very interesting and we had to walk several times on long boardwalks (2 kilometers and more) to go through the marshes and arrive at the beaches and/or mud flats.

The area is not that much anymore threatened by tourism (there are huge plans of conservation) but by invasive species like algae or plants.

I enjoyed very much just walking barefoot on the mud, soft, wet and wavy (because of the water moves at high tide). It feels really good and I would like to do it again. If you are interested: before you book a place where to stay (especially if you are there only for 1 or 2 days), take good information about the tides, they vary every day. You find them in the Internet. I would recommend the summer months as the water and wind are warmer. During the winter time you will get very cold feet. Of course you can walk also with wellies, but the fun is to feel actually the ground under your naked feet.

Wadden Sea:

For further information:
Website of the Wadden Sea World Heritage

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