Let’s talk about summertime. About freshness. No. Not about the fresh temperatures. But about fresh things that you can find now everywhere.
Fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, fresh drinks, juicy fruits…
Wolfenbüttel has been a gardener’s town.
More than 100 gardeners grew vegetables and provided people with tubers and salads. Today unfortunately not much is left. But we looked out for some traces of the old times and searched for gardeners.
When we were strolling through town we not only noticed the numerous half timbered houses with all the tiny details. But we also came across a special flower-bed. In front of the church St. Trinitatis. This one was looking different to the other flower-beds. And when you take a closer look you will realize. Those are no flowers. This is vegetable. In the middle of the city. No wonder. As this flower-bed is right beside the gardener’s memorial. And there they really grow vegetables.
Also some seldom varieties. At least we had to ask at several points to find out what it is. Some vegetables we knew. Like mangold or lovage. But there were others. And – as always – we were curious and asked around. The answers were vague: „Maybe green cabbage. Or a special sort of savoy cabbage?“ „No this is mangold. A special type of mangold.“ Hmmm… nobody really knew.
So we went to the gardener’s museum.
200 people are caring for this museum in their free time. Among them are also some gardeners. They should know. Of course they did! It is a special type of green cabbage, called: „Lerchenzunge“. (Lark’s tongue). Wonderful. So this is cleared.
Once we are there we can as well have a look around. The museum is right to my taste. Ha, ha. Taste has a double meaning here! Because this museum is not only about theory. Here you can do some gardening. You will find a lot of vegetable patches and some flower-beds. Everything grows here. And therefore the taste. You may harvest here. With competent support you can learn about plants and gardening and you may try it out yourself. Especially the harvesting of potatoes is supposed to be very popular. With a tasting afterwards of course! As I said. Totally to my taste.
So I had a look around the patches and found something. I only say: Yummy! But I get distracted…
In the museum you will hear all about the history of the gardeners and learn about the tools and equipment. You can stroll around in the garden and – as mentioned – do it yourself during guided tours. One tool has even been invented in Wolfenbüttel. The „Schüffeleisen“. A special tool to get rid of the unwanted plants. Again something learned.
In the house everything is like in former times. From the washstand over the oven in the living room to the cooker and the welsh dresser in the kitchen. And there even is a boiler room. In those boilers everything has been cooked: sausage after the slaughter, clothes from the whole family and apples to make apply syrup. They still work though. At special days the boiler will be fired. So the gardener’s museum is worth a visit. As it does not open on a daily basis here is a tipp from us: When the colourful ribbons are flutter in the wind on the flagpole the museum is open. By the way: There is also freshly baked cake.
Enough talk bout fresh and gardening and harvest. Now we want to do it ourselves and want to cook something. No sooner said than done.
Right now there is so much ripe for harvesting. Everywhere fruits twinkle below the leaves. Salad is shining green. Herb gardens flow over. Corn fields glow yellow or are just harvested. At the market so much is offered. And the air is full of smells and flavours. And there are still a handful of gardeners in Wolfenbüttel. So we went to see the „Gemüsescheune“ (vegetable barn). Here vegetable is still grown. So we harvested a salad and some herbs.
The first ingredients were there. Then we went to the flower-bed at the gardener’s memorial to harvest mangold. There are some plant with various glowing colours. Wonderful. The other things we had to buy in the supermarket. Next time we have to find out where we can get fresh eggs, butter and milk from a farm. But that’s a different story.
Good. So we went to the chef of the „Jugendgästehaus“. A kind of a youth hostel. There we cooked with all these nice things a mangold strudel. How it is done you will find in detail in a different article:
How to make mangold strudel
It was really funny anyway to work with such nice fresh stuff and cook with it. After work we enjoyed some fresh air. You can get around quite well by bike in Wolfenbüttel. We rented e-bikes from the tourist office and cycled through green parks and along the water. Did you know that the air is little bit more fresh at the water? They say it is about one or two degrees.
You can also experience some fresh air right in the city. We like to sit outside and enjoy a coffee. Have we talked about freshly roasted and freshly made coffee, yet? Or how about a freshly baked cake? Or a freshly grilled bratwurst? Everything is available.
And there is freshly brewed beer. Yes, we found that as well. There is a new brewery – Mad Dukes Brewery. They have celebrated a party for their first fresh craft beer. There were some nice varieties: An espresso-stout, a pale ale and the new „Weizenbüttler“, a wheat beer. For the special burst of freshness try the beer ice cream. There were all three of them as ice cream. It’ s a must. An explosion of flavours.
After all this partying we went to the beach. Quickly we arrive with our bikes at the „Strandwolf“ and had a freshly made cocktail while we were playing with our toes in the sand. Great! If you need more freshness put you feet into the water.
There it is again. The feeling of freshness. „Wellbeingbüttel“. At summertime.
We tried it and cooked with freshly harvested ingredients from the region of Wolfenbüttel. Thanks to the kitchen staff of the Jugendgästehaus in Wolfenbüttel that we were allowed to look over their shoulder. And thanks for the Gemüsescheune that we could watch the harvesting. And thanks to the town’s gardener for the nice vegetable patch in the city.
We want to make mangold strudel with a side salad.
So let’s start.
All the ingredients.
Let’s first prepare the strudel dough.
Mix egg, flour and water
And knead it.
Add oil and work it in.
Do another pressure test.
Let the dough rest for at least half an hour.
During that time you can prepare the mangold.
Wash the mangold, dry it and rip the stem out.
Cut the stems.
Cut the leaves.
Peel onions and garlic and cut it.
Sweat the onions and the garlic and add the stems
Cut the cheese into cubes.
Add the cheese to the eggs
Add the mangold leaves to the frying stems and fry them as well
Add the fried mangold to the egg and cheese cream and mix it.
For the salad
Wash the salad and pluck it. Pluck the leaves from the herbs and fry the herbs in oil and add some maple sirup
Grate the carrots and add some lemon peel
Cut an apple into small pieces
Fry the apple with a little bit of sugar and add the carrots
Let the apple and carrots dry on a kitchen paper
Back to the strudle dough
Stretch the strudel dough out. Start with the hands an turn the dough around.
Work on with the rolling pin.
Stretch the dough further over your hand.
Put the dough on a clean dishcloth and stretch it further.
Put some melted butter on it.
Put grounded almonds on it.
Fry some whole mangold leaves shortly in olive oil from both sides.
Put them on the dough.
Add the pressed mangold mixture.
Put egg yolk on the edges
Fold the strudel and roll it with the dishcloth into a firm roll.
Put the strudel into an oiled form, put egg yolk on the top and put the strudel into the oven.
While the strudel is in the oven you can prepare the sauce.
Heat egg yolks in a bain-marie and stirr them with some starch flour, salt and vegetable stock.
Decorate the salad on plates and add the crispy herbs and caramelized apple and carrots
I went on with writing my book and really managed to finish the first text version. Yeah! Now I will start with proofreading and then of course I have to search for the adequate photos. Phew! That will be quite some work, too.
Achim worked on a photo calendar and on a photo book at the same time. Yes! There will be two different photo calendars in 2018 in cooperation and there will be a photo book. Details will be provided soon. The most difficult part was to select the photos. And assigning them to the respective month in the calendar. And then the job files have to be prepared as well. All these things are time consuming and we could not do them within a regular work week.
After that our official time in Wolfenbüttel started with a craft beer party. Great start! The topics this week were otherwise half-timber, gardening, half-timber, cycling, half-timber, vegetables, half-timber, cooking, half-timber, beach, half-timber and museum.
Here you can the full story about Summer Time in Wolfenbüttel
And here you will find the recipe for How to make Mangoldstrudel
You can’t avoid half-timbered houses here. We really have to start marking which houses and doors and details we already have photographed… I think some photos are double already. Okay at the doors there are different decorations: blooming flowers instead of a Christmas wreath, but otherwise… How can we memorise it?? And there is a photowalk scheduled… Luckily there is a topic fixes otherwise we would have taken pictures of the houses and doors for the third time.
We enjoyed riding our bikes in Wolfenbüttel. It is much fun. If the weather would have been a little bit more friendly we would have covered more kilometers. Here you can cycle often on side roads or in parks and against the one way direction. And there are no big inclines. Very comfortable.
In the end we could peek into the smallest house which is just being formed into a holiday flat. We are really curious how it will look in the end. But the first impressions are promising.
Now we are going for one week to Bremerhaven and after that we will be in the region again – at the Northern Harz Foreland.
The ‚Lüneburger Heide‘ – or Luneburg Heath. A well known landscape – like the Black Forests – and maybe it has the same problem. You would think that only senior bus groups are traveling there and that there is nothing but the moorland. Far wrong! Again.
We have been very curious about this heath landscape and were really happy to see a sign „Welcome to the Luneburg Heathland“. But… We could not see any moorland but only fields and farm land. Then suddenly we spotted a glimpse of this typical scenery. Covered with heath and in-between now and then a tree. But then it was gone again as we drove by.
First we went to our hotel.„Die schmucke Witwe“ – ‚The spruce widow‘. Only later on we learned about the history of this term during a guided tour. What a pity that the hotel itself does not provide the story. A lost opportunity. The widow of the pastor of the local church could live in this house until her very end and was paid by the church. Sometimes there were several women living here. What a story!
The hotel now hosts a decoration and gift shop, a café and has some rooms. In the shop you will find nice handcrafted things and souvenirs and in the café you are served homemade cakes. There are only 8 rooms, but each has its own name and sign. In the room you will find the matching poem. We stayed accordingly at the „Lüneburger Heide“.
Fascinating Lancscape Luneburg Heath
In the afternoon we finally saw the Heathland. On the one hand it looks always the same but on the other hand it looks completely different. There are deep gorges and valleys with the typical herbs at the sides and on the ground. Or there are wide and huge flat spaces. And again there are smooth hills and waves. Again and again a tree protrudes from the heath or some bushes. Mostly birches but there are also some old and solitary trees. This is even without the flowerage a fantastic view.
Hiking through the Luneburg Heath
The heathland is great for hiking as you mostly walk on sandy paths. Sometimes you have to step over roots but not very often. There are wide ways where you could even drive on and small paths. The nature reserve has a good infrastructure and there are many many hiking ways or round trip routes.
In case you have problems with walking you hire one of the numerous coaches and have someone drive you and meanwhile you admire the sight. Some spots you can only reach by foot or by carriage like the museums village Wilsede. Cars have to stay out.
What would the heathland be without the typical grey heat. It is very possible that you find yourself in the middle of such a herd. And those huge scraggy animals with their long wool distribute an intense calm though. And they smell great. Just step in the middle of them and enjoy. Or take a seat on one of the numerous benches and watch shepherd and dogs do their delicate work. It is stunning how these animals keep a huge flock together without much ado.
Moor at the Luneburg Heath
Another typical landscapre is the moor. We took a round trip that led us half of the time over pedestrian bridges. And also here you will be astonished how different the moor can look. Sometimes fresh and green. Then full of white blossoms from the cottongrass. Then again brown and brackish and sometimes full of dead trees that form artistic sculptures. Every couple of meters you spot another world and can’t stop looking around. Or taking pictures.
The Crazy House
In case you should have had enough amazement you can do something completely different and turn yourself upside down at the ‚Verrücktes Haus‘. That means ‚crazy house‘. The house is really topsy-turvy and is also a little bit inclined to one side. Inside everything is upside down. When you step in you might feel uneasy in the beginning. Our tipp: Pause for a moment and take some deep breaths. Afterwards you can plunge in and admire everything unhurriedly. And we can only recommend it. Because you will see a lot of love for the small details. So take a look around and put your head into one or the other thing.
Creative people can think about crazy photo motives. When you do a one-eighty with the photos afterwards you can see amazing results. With a bunch of people it is even more fun, because everyone creates different ideas and you can inspire each other. We enjoyed every single minute in the house and laughed so much.
We had another premiere this week. We attended a travel blogger meeting. We do not regard ourselves as travel blogger but we call ourselves ‚content producers‘ because we do not fill our own blog with stories but give away the photos we shoot and the texts we write and publish very often as guest bloggers.
Read our photostory: At the Luneburg Heath at Bispingen
Therefore we do not care as much about our own blog as travel bloggers would do. Furthermore you won’t find any hard facts on our site. I do not write about historic dates, opening hours, entry fees or other details. Instead we want to inspire. It is all about making the reader want to go where we have been and visit the hotel or the destination.
Thus the Heide blogger event – as it was called – was a tantalizing experiment. We tried out whether such an event would suit us.
What we learned about fact finding tour or travel blogger tour so far was that a group of bloggers is carried to the assumed highlights of a a region and everybody takes the same pictures and posts them on the respective channels. And that no consideration whatsoever is shown for the circumstance on-site like weather, exposure to light, visitors concentration and much more.
All the more so since we were happy that we had been asked before what we would be interested in and what we would like to see. We were especially interested in the beautiful landscapre of the moorland and in the ‚crazy house‘. But after our arrival we were given a programme, with not much space for something individual. In the end nearly all the bloggers did the same things. The group stayed together with just a few exceptions. Which was a pity because we just were not interested in some things at all and would have liked to do something different during that time.
Also our overall reluctance towards touristic guided tours has been confirmed once again – unfortunately. Only a handful of guides are able to adjust their tour for the group and change it accordingly. Instead the ever same text is recited with the same jokes and anecdotes and all the same knowledge questions like: „What do you think? How old is this?“ or „Do you know what X means?“ And „Do you know what this device is for?“ We much more prefer to discover things on our own and we like to ask questions. Mostly the guides cannot answer those apparently because they have not learned them beforehand.
We organized some blogger events ourselves before but those were more about exchange of knowledge similar to bar camps. At the Heide Blogger Event a workshop was offered with very interesting subjects. – at least in the programme. Unfortunately this part was way too short and we could not discuss the really exciting questions. Too bad! We would have been interested in the opinion of the participating companies what they expect from bloggers.
Talking about companies… We would have loved more exchange with the participating hosts and touristic companies. Sadly nearly all companies just presented themselves and did not take advantage of the huge expertise of all the different bloggers. When do you have the chance to have 15 experts for a special subject sitting in front of you and can openly ask them questions?
Instead they only talked about their companies. That was a lost opportunity. A long time ago I wrote about „what bloggers can do for companies“ (in German). Some things changed meanwhile but overall the text is still applicable. I also wrote about blogger relations. (also German) Also here not much has changed.
We will keep in mind the incredible landscape and the ‚crazy house‘. The Heide was stunning – even without pink or lilac blossoms.
The crazy house was made for us. Here we could go wild and act out our creativity. Passive consumption is not really something for us. But being active is. So we had much fun to come up with new ideas for photo motives all the time. And that had an impact on the group as well. That was great.
We got great photos anyway. Though the weather was not playing along. And it was nice to see the Luneburg Heath with its own special landscape. And networking is always good as well. Therefore we are happy that we met so many new bloggers so that we can recommend one or the other in the future to hotels or destinations when we are asked whether we know someone.
Conclusion: Some things were exactly as we have suspected. But we will take part in such an event in the future if the subject suits us and exchange of knowledge is not neglected. And if some conditions are met. We actually have invested in this meeting because we did not earn anything during that time. We also did not have enough time to produce content. That is editing photos so that they can be published and writing texts. We can not deduct this time from our next customer. Therefore these hours will come from out private time. And some of the events in the program already wasted a lot from our precious time. During this time we could have been productive or could have enjoyed some private free time. So we will have a closer look in the future on the organization of such a blogger meeting. We do not exclude our participation completely but there are some mandatory conditions:
enough time for content creation
selectable items from the program
no peer pressure
enough space and time for networking and exchange with participants but also with hosts and touristic companies