Monday, October 27, 2008

Excuse me- do you know where we might find the North Sea?

It sounded simple to us. We live on a fairly narrow strip of land with the Baltic Sea 10 km to the east and the North Sea about 45 km to the west. We've spent a lot of time at the Baltic Sea and we were anxious to check out the other side. So, on Saturday we packed a little picnic, got in the car and drove west. We stopped in Husum, a harbor town where we enjoyed walking around and having the local specialty- shrimp sandwiches- which are a lot better than they sound. But Husum is situated back along a canal so we didn't really see the coast. We jumped back in the car and started driving. Our view westward was mostly blocked by large dikes but we didn't feel like we were close to the shore. There were just vast expanses of pancake-flat pasturelands and lots of sheep. We drove over a narrow causeway, which made us feel that we were going to an island even though we still saw pastures on both sides. We drove all over, seeing homes built up on little hills and trenches dug in the fields for water drainage. It seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere, but still no sign of water. Eventually, we came to a small parking lot that butted right up to a large dike. We paid a Euro to park and climbed up the hill expecting to reach the top and gaze out at the picturesque water view. Instead it felt like standing on the edge of Kansas with grassland stretching out before us as far as we could see. Not a single tree, just sheep munching grasses and a paved path leading out farther than our eyes could see. But there were lots of people walking the path so we figured that it must be the way to the beach. So, we walked. And we walked and we walked and we walked. Meanwhile, the sun was starting to sink and the wind was picking up and we even scheduled a "drop dead" time for turning around. But we couldn't give up! After about an hour, we approached a collection of buildings that looked like an old farm. By then we had figured out that we were at Wattenmeer (Tidal Flats) National Park. We veered off to the left where we followed a puddly path toward some steps with the shimmering reflection of light on water beyond. We reached the top of the stairs, the reward of our long journey and looked out- at a sea of sand and mud! Technically, there was water there, about the amount you could safely put in a toddler's wading pool. Lots of shells and tiny crabs. But no beach and no crashing waves! If only we had been there at high tide.

1 comment:

cortina said...

what's the saying? its all about the journey, not the destination? .... great talking to you today! i feel ya, sister!