Monday 1 September 2014

Lüneburger Heide

Whenever Marco and I go to Germany to see my family, my Mama has a brimful schedule of outings planned for us. Over the past years, I have been introduced to or become re-acquainted with some beautiful corners of Northern Germany this way. Most of our excursions also include a stop at a charming café for Kaffee und Kuchen as a bonus.

We have just come back from another visit, and this time my parents, my Opa, Marco and I spent a day in the Lüneburger Heide. This is a protected area of undulating heath in the Northeastern part of Lower Saxony, coloured purple by blooming heather during late summer. On this lovely, sunny day, we went on a tour in a horse-drawn cart near the village of Undeloh.

View of the heath with its typical juniper growth and a gorgeous big sky.

Despite the pleasant sunshine it was windy on the heath, so we wrapped up in warm woollen blankets to stay cosy in the coach.

The rents.

The trees and the hubster.

Bee-keeping is one of the traditional industries in this area. The hives are sheltered inside little sheds, and even from the distance, you could see the bees going about being busy, making the famous heather honey.

We ran into a big heard of typical Heidschnucken sheep, which have been used as a natural way of maintaining the landscape of the heath for ages. They are kept in the traditional way, roaming, searching for food in wind and weather, with a shepherd and dogs looking after them. They keep the grass around the heather short, preserving the characteristic environment of the area. Their meat and wool are another popular heath commodity. 

A sheep barn with the traditional thatched roof.

The roof on this barn was just being redone, you can see that it is unfinished at the front. The reeds will be cut down and the whole ridge will be finished with a layer of heather.

Due to its status as a preservation area, you are not allowed to pick any heather from the heath directly. There is still a lot of opportunity to take some with you as a souvenir, in the form of commercially raised plants and various posies and wreaths, which a lot of local people sell out of their front yards.

After we finished our horse treck, we drove on to Schneverdingen. This town has a park that combines over 150 different kinds of heather in a stunning year-round display of colours

My Opa and Papa in their green tops stood in nice contrast to all the different purple hues.

For the best view, we climbed the little viewing platform. This is Schneverdingen's coat of arms.

And this round flower bed was arranged in the shape of a giant compass.

We spotted two wren fledglings in the vicinity of the park. Here is one, they just wouldn't sit still to have their photograph taken.

We saw another herd of sheep, roaming right past the park.

On the way back from the heath, we stopped at the picturesque Café im Rilke-Haus in the little artist village Fischerhude.

This attractive little house with its surrounding gardens is situated right on the banks of the river Wümme. It used to belong to the artist Clara Rilke-Westhoff, who lived here with her daughter after her marriage with poet Rainer Maria Rilke had crumbled. The people who turned it into a café left it mostly unaltered, and you take your home-made cake in the former library, sitting on Clara's furniture, surrounded by her art. Even though she was a life-long sculptor and painter, starting to create at 17 and being trained by August Rodin, she was never as renowned as her husband or other artists of the same school of style.

These are a few snapshots from our after-cake-walk. Stuffed badgers seemed to be the taxidermy du jour, this fellow was one of the two I spotted.

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).


  1. what a colourful account of your trip home, Annika! Now I got Heimweh ;-)

  2. I love heather, it reminds me of my Dutch family's home near the Veluwe. I picked a small bunch when I was there this summer and have pressed it as a little souvenir.


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