The preliminary plan was to not go to Föhr.
We had been eager on visiting the Greek islands. It might be good in July. Heat. Nice meals. Deep blue waters and whitewashed homes. Contemporary fish. Pleasant locals. That’s a reasonably respectable equation for an excellent vacation. The issue although is that Greece has 6000 islands of which 227 are inhabited. All of those islands, sound impossibly dreamy and exquisite. I am going down a rabbit gap that we name the web for days and emerge confused. I older I develop, the extra I benefit from the pathetic excuse of losing time on-line researching for holidays. After a lot deliberation and 20000 google searches later, now we have our coronary heart set on just a few islands however after attempting virtually 101 permutations and combos on Skyscanner, the shortest doable route includes altering flights twice and 17 hours of journey. We may very well be half method all over the world by then.
I began wanting nearer to dwelling ( Berlin) and immediately whereas wanting on the map of Germany, my eye gravitates to a tiny group of islands dotted on the border between Germany and Denmark.
The North Frisian Islands.
Floating within the bristling, turbulent North Sea, these tiny group of islands have a wealthy and assorted historical past having been dominated at varied factors of time by the Danes, the Dutch and the Prussians.
Whereas I like the sound of the historical past of the island, I’m not offered on the thought of holidaying within the North Sea. I’m nonetheless scarred from my time residing on the east coast of Scotland when large clouds of dreich gray mist known as the haar would drift in immediately from the North Sea drowning out the daylight like some alien spaceship from outer house.
Possibly the climate can be extra beneficial on the western fringes of the North Sea. Particularly in the summertime.
We settled on visiting the quiet, unassuming and extra finances pleasant Föhr which appeared like a much better match than its brash and extra upmarket sister, Sylt.
In order that’s how on a late, very tremendous night in early July we discover ourselves hopping on the hourly ferry service from Dagebull Mole to Föhr.
We attain Dagebull after an eventful 5 hour practice journey from Hamburg which concerned a hour lengthy break in-between in Husum due to a practice driver calling in sick. Nonetheless, we’re grateful. It’s a massive change from the times when Hans Christian Anderson used to vacation in Föhr (1844) -it took about 4 days to succeed in the island by street from Hamburg.
Whereas passenger vehicles bore into the stomach of the ferry, we climb upstairs to soak within the solar and benefit from the panoramic view of the ferry terminal. Its nothing dwelling to jot down about. We seize a bench in the direction of the rear of the ferry to soak into the broad expanse of blue sea in entrance of us. The ocean is calm and there’s a mild breeze blowing in from the ocean on which the seagulls slide forwards and backwards into the broad white hull of the ferry. After lengthy mournful bellow, the ferry slowly tugs away from shore into the shimmering golden night sea. The journey has begun. I really feel a magical and virtually therapeutic feeling of leaving land behind and crusing away to the island. All my worries and ideas are quickly saved in some invisible black field on land. In an island, surrounded by blue sea on all sides, no fears may hurt me, no sad ideas may fester.
After a reasonably serene crossing, the attractive promenade of Föhr’s most important city and transport hub, Wyk Auf Föhr comes into the sight. With over 4500 inhabitants, half of the island’s inhabitants resides right here and gives a handy base with loads of accommodations and flats to select from.
We stayed for Four nights within the Jugendherberge Wyk Auf Föhr . Regardless of being positioned on the perimeter of Wyk Auf Föhr, the proximity of the hostel to the seaside is a big plus. Plus the provision of full board was additionally a serious plus given how costly we discovered consuming out in Wyk Auf Föhr.
With little or no clue about how far the hostel is from the harbour, we hop on the native bus hyperlink that does the loop round all of the city earlier than hopping to the opposite key villages on the island. The driving force is pleasant and tells us that he’ll tell us when our cease comes. Few stops later, in entrance of an enormous corn area, the motive force drops us off with a cheerful wave. I have already got an excellent feeling about this place. The hostel is large and in summers primarily caters to very large college teams and households. There’s lot of pimply confronted moody youngsters working round. Fortunately, we’re housed within the extra tranquil west wing of the hostel away from the teams. There’s no wifi within the rooms, solely within the reception which initially looks like a little bit of a downer. Nonetheless, the knowledge of not getting any wifi within the rooms means I slip into a contented routine of studying a e book earlier than mattress and sinking into a really blissful, deep sleep.
Again to our first night within the hostel. After serving to ourselves to the beneficiant buffet dinner within the hostel we go for a wee marvel to the close by seaside.
The primary few hours in Föhr was the perfect climate we had for the entire journey. Clear skies so far as your eye stretched. The outcome : in all probability one of the crucial hauntingly stunning sunsets I’ve ever seen. The sky was slowly turning reddish pink with a lot of pale blue hues scattered throughout its fringes. With the tide receding you have got essentially the most uncommon sight of those naked mudflats stretching out to sea , on this case all the way in which to the neighbouring island of Amrum. Little swimming pools of water, nonetheless like glass, gaze again into the reddish pink sky making a dreamy atmosphere. Seagulls and terns swoop and scavenge for worms and all types of juicy morsels left behind by the receding tidal waters. Swallows weaving mysterious patterns throughout the sky added to the just about ethereal setting. Wow. What a welcome to Föhr.
A protracted stretch of gravel street and an empty blue horizon lies forward of us as we set out the next day to cycle the 11 odd kms to the northern fringe of the island of Föhr. We’re surrounded principally by inexperienced lush corn fields and the occasional area of golden wheat for a lot of the experience. Odd tractor, passing by, breaks the silence. As we carve into the stiff wind blowing in from the North Sea we feast our eyes on the dramatic cloud formations blowing in from the North Sea.
Our first cease was the impossibly stunning village of Nieblum lined with massive leaved linden bushes and wild rose bushes. If there was a prize for essentially the most stunning village in Germany, am positive Nieblum can be up there on the ultimate shortlist. One among first issues that strikes you concerning the linden lined lanes of Nieblum are its conventional Frisian homes with straw thatched roofs. I believe we should have stopped our bikes an odd dozen instances taking photos of those impossibly stunning homes. The wealthy legacy of homes in Nieblum is a reminder of the island’s golden period when within the 17th and 18th centuries, whaling introduced islanders work and numerous wealth. The individuals of Friesland and Fohr developed a status as wonderful whaling males. Their captains, boosted by their fruits of their endeavours, constructed quite a few spectacular homes in Nieblum which have been completely preserved since.
There’s an entire bunch of actions to maintain guests engaged in Nieblum. Apart from a reasonably respectable mini golf course ( 9 holes, €4.50) there may be the Föhrer Kerzenscheune the place youngsters can learnt to make their very own candles. Additionally it is value visiting one of many oldest church buildings within the island right here : St John’s.
The graveyard right here is stuffed with quite a few very ornate, superbly adorned tombstones that inform the tales of sailors from Nieblum and surrounding locations.
By way of food and drinks, there’s bunch of actually good eating places and bakeries to select from. We gorged on our packed lunch from the hostel however in the event you’re on a finances, I extremely suggest popping into the native Backer Hansen. Additionally if in case you have a candy tooth, I like to recommend popping into Cafe Cappuccino for his or her incredible gelato and wonderful vary of toppings. They communicate no english so be ready.
From Nieblum it was a 10 minute bike experience by means of some stunning countryside surroundings to our subsequent cease, the village of Alkersum the place we wished to go to the Museum Artwork of the West Coast aka Kunst der Westkuste. Visiting this museum was undoubtedly one of many highlights of our go to to Fohr . We didn’t count on a tiny island like Föhr to have such a nicely curated and superbly designed exhibition house. The museum has a superb assortment of works by notable Danish, German, Dutch and Norwegian painters like Anna Ancher, Michael Ancher, Max Beckmann, Peder Severin Krøyer, Max Liebermann, Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch . Throughout our go to there was incredible exhibition about artists who’ve painted about Norwegian shoreline and this featured works of Emil Nolde and Edvard Munch. There’s a stunning store, useful employees plus a very nice onsite cafe and restaurant.
Again on the bike we cruise by means of the center stomach of the island. Extra inexperienced maize fields and large large open blue skies stoop beneath to greet us. After a 20 minute experience, the idyllic village of Oldsum greets us with a curious landmark -a Dutch windmill in Föhr? This historic thatched windmill apparently dates again to the 12 months 1700 however was burnt down 200 years later, then subsequently rebuilt and was in operation till 1954. The rationale we had come to Oldsum was to checkout the small artists commune right here. After a few fallacious turns and asking just a few locals for instructions we found the commune, huddled collectively in a row of gorgeous thatched homes. A couple of handful of artists welcome us in and we browse a mixture of fairly spectacular mixture of summary and watercolour work that draw on the wild, untamed surroundings of the island.
After a wee browse, we drift additional by means of the village and uncover the household run Cafe im Apfelgarten. Topped by a sea of untamed pink roses, we uncover rustic picket benches, massive tables the place locals and vacationers gorge on dwelling cooked meals and a incredible vary of scrumptious native desserts which have been ready utilizing native components from the island. Uncertain of what to order, we ask the house owners of the cafe for a suggestion. I’m not fairly positive what kind of cake we had been served-it was form of like a fluffy angel kind of cake however I did recognise the stunning pink sauce that got here with it – Rote Grütze . Fairly a brutal identify for such a ravishing dessert, the dish originates from the state of Schleswig Holstein and can also be fashionable throughout the border in Denmark. Made with recent berries and cherries this dessert is the nostalgic style of summer time in Germany.
Stuffed and sweetened, we reluctantly hop on the bikes and cycle again dwelling to the hostel.
On the final day of Föhr, the clouds drift in and with it comes the moody, unpredictable climate that you simply historically affiliate with the North Sea.
After the joyless activity of repacking and a fond farewell to the employees within the hostel, we checkout and marvel by means of a drizzle of rain and navigate our option to the harbour of Wyk Auf Föhr. On our option to the harbour one of many few remaining windmills on the island comes into sight. It appears to be like a little bit unloved however nonetheless carries that pale nostalgic magnificence that pulls you in and makes you marvel what it should have appeared like in its pomp. Identical to the windmill we had stumbled throughout in Oldsum, this windmill in all probability dated again to the late 1800’s when the Dutch used to recruit locals to work on their whaling vessels. The Dutch additionally left their mark on the island in different methods: the native ‘Fering’ language which is seemingly spoken by over 3000 locals on the island is massively influenced by the Dutch language. Phrases like ‘kofe’ ( Koffie-Dutch, Espresso-English ) ‘Bak’ ( Bak -Dutch, Wood Bowl-English ) are examples. Unusually sufficient ‘Fering’ additionally options some American English phrases because of the many individuals that emigrated from Föhr to the US however saved contact with their kin on the island. Examples embrace: ‘Gaabitsch’ – Rubbish Can and ‘Sink’
To be taught extra concerning the island’s distinctive connections all over the world and its wealthy custom of whaling we popped into the incredible Dr Carl-Haberlin Friesen Museum on the town. It’s a superbly designed museum. We spend a good bit of time studying concerning the wealthy maritime custom of the island, the historical past of whaling, the good migration to the States through the financial downturn within the mid 19th century and in addition particulars of the geology plus wealthy flora, fauna that inhabit the island.
After, we head again to the harbour the place all of it started 72 hours in the past. In an hour, we’re again on the boat again to Dagebull. Its a bittersweet second. We seize ourselves a seat on one of many empty Strandkorbs, the long-lasting roofed wicker seaside chairs which are a attribute characteristic of the island and throughout a lot of the area of Schleswig Holstein. On a day like in the present day when it is advisable to defend your self from the weather, its good. The ocean is moody and unpredictable, waves clashing in opposition to one another in joyless synchronisation. Then immediately the clouds half and inside minutes the solar rays spear by means of the darkish bundles of clouds. The ocean is glistening and the waves roll in opposition to one another playfully. The ferry blows its horn, a mournful dirge amidst the cackling of excited seagulls. It time to say goodbye to Föhr and head again to land. Refreshed and rejuvenated, time additionally to reclaim my invisible black field and set all my worries and ideas free.
The best way to attain Föhr
You possibly can attain Wyk Auf Föhr from Hamburg by practice ( Journey time round 4-5 hours, Fares begin from €27 a technique, through GoEuro ) or from Berlin ( Journey time round 6 hours 50 minutes, Fares begins from €40 mark booked through Go Euro )
The place to remain in Fohr
We stayed on the Jugendherberge in Wyk Auf Fohr which was unbelievable when it comes to worth, particularly when in comparison with the price of lodging throughout the island. Regardless of their restricted command of English, the entire group there have been very pleasant and useful. Although positioned on the perimeter of Wye Auf Fohr, the placement of the hostel close to to the seaside was an enormous plus. The supply of full board was additionally a serious plus given how costly we discovered consuming out in Wyk Auf Fohr. Costs on a full board foundation begins from €31.60.
Getting across the island
We rented bikes from Föhrrad ( Gmelinstraße 22a, 25938 Wyk auf Föhr )
Bike rental service is only a 10 minute stroll from the hostel. Nice choice of bikes for individuals of all ages plus gives e-bikes for hire. Costs begin from €7 a day for a traditional bike or €18 a day for an e-bike.