Greetings from the Plains

Another remote post, this time from the great Northern Plains. The Northern plains of Germany, that is. A beautiful spot – largely unrecognised and underrated by anyone who is not a local. Awww, how misunderstood we are, us Northerners… But seriously – “Germany” evokes visions of 500 and one varieties of beer, busty blondes in “dirndl” dresses, mountains, fairytale castles, sauerkraut, Munich beerfest,  hevvy acsents and verry littel untershtandink of humor. Unfair – the North is nothing like that. And proud of it.

I know what I am talking about. I am a Northerner by birth – in fact, a true Hanseatic Northerner, born in Bremen – but I spent almost 10 of my (young) adult years in the South of Germany, Bavaria to be exact. Before I moved away from home, I always thought that Germany was Germany and Germans were Germans – no matter where they came from. I couldn’t have been more wrong, as I soon found out when I settled in the city of Würzburg. The food, the accent, the lack of humour, the effing mountains closing in on me all the time – it never let me forget that I was not at home.

In the early days of my Bavarian exile, I used to take the train home every few months. A major trip of eight hours, it was. And the best bit came shortly after Hanover, about 6 hours into the journey and nearly home. For a long time I could not put my finger on it – why I suddenly felt so uplifted once the train left Hannover and what it was that made me smile and look out of the window expectantly. Was it the fact that everything was familiar? Was it the close proximity of many places which I knew?

Eventually I found out what it was – it was as if the heavens had suddenly opened up, once the train entered the great plain of Northern Germany. The landscape completely flat. No mountains to frame obstruct the view. Instead., a huuuge expanse of blue above, dotted with white clouds, the occasional church steeple piercing the sky, sometimes endless avenues of Poplar trees competing with the steeples. The heavens coming down right to Earth, kissing life and embracing light. Ahhh – home, that was coming home.

I am still utterly fascinated with the Northern sky. I adore the big expanse of it. When I am home, I can’t get enough of it and after years and years of admiring it, I still take pictures of it. Others find the North boring – the horizon just a flat line, nothing to see and do. But what else do you need, when you have the sky touching you deep in your soul? There is, after all nothing more perfect on Earth than the view of the sky above.

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