…. an idyllic holiday in Germany’s North. What does it look like, what to expect? Just imagine a mixture of Hiddensee, Sylt and the Isle of Wright; but everything on a few square kilometers.

Just follow the highway No. via Hamburg in the direction of Lübeck and then change to the A 226 or near Bad Schwartau/ Travemünde to the B 75. After a few kilometers having passed  Karlshof and Israelsdorf, you will reach “another world” situated on the banks of the Trave: the fishermen village GOTHMUND – a true hidden secret. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothmund

The tiny village of Gothmund was first time mentioned in a protocol of the Lübeck city council in 1502 and served the Lübeck fishermen as a stopover in order to shorten the long return trip from the fishing grounds of the Bay of Lübeck to the port.

In the course of time besides some fishing cottages were built and a bit later 18 permanent thatched houses. As of today these thatched roofs still indicate the appearance of the pitoresk village. Most of them are now listed as monument protection. Sometimes the entire ensemble looks like an artist colony.

But even this intact world sometimes gets cracks: Although it is located about 10 kilometers from the Baltic Sea, a storm flood in November 1872 pushed the water so deep into the Trave river that large parts of the hidden village were flooded. Another disaster was a major fire in 1893 when some parts oft he fishermen settlement was destroyed. Fortunately, the overall character of this rormatic place was preserved. Although the „Fischermen Pub“ with beer garden and beautiful view over the Trave has been closed since 2006 and the fact that there is no central village square, a walk along the narrow car-free footpath (Fischerweg) is worth every minute. Just look around, discover and enjoy and get in touch with one of the 80 residents.

Talking to them, you notice that they are a little proud to have World Heritage status now; especially since it allows them to receive subsidies for building conservation. A thatched roof covering lasts 30-40 years but is approx. EURO 120.- per square meter. This easily totals to EURO 15.000.- per roof.

Its special topographical location between the (reed) lagoon and the steep bank requires an idiosyncratic settlement pattern. Between the small fishing port and the houses there are garden areas with tool sheds and boat docks. These areas are still used by local fisheries today. In the port of Gothmund you can find some active fishing boats that regularly leave for fishing in the Baltic Sea. You can watch those smaller fisher boats, for example, near the nearby „Brodtener Steep Banks“, which offers a wide panoramic view over the Bay of Lübeck.

To the west of the fishing village of Gothmund you may experience the „Schnellbruch“, a 1.5 square kilometer wide nature reserve. The river, lagoons, freshwater ponds, streams, moats, temporarily flooded meadows, forest ponds and large reed beds are all close together. Over 200 different bird species have already been counted in this wetland – a true bird paradise.

From here it is only a stone’s throw to the beautiful Timmendorfer Strand to take a refreshing swim in the Baltic Sea. If you do not need a parasol or a beach chair, you may choose the so-called “free beach” near the small marina. Along the dune promenade called „Strandallee“ you can still find small maritime cafes and historic spa architecture; even a pier with a Japanese tea house. Elsewhere on the German Baltic Sea, the beach is partly covered with high-rise buildings and tourist fun parks.

You are looking for a little bit of VIP-factor?  Ex-HSV President Jürgen Hunke was sitting right next to me in a simple beach bar. Since some years he lives in a Japanese-style property next tot he beach and also the Zen garden and Asian-style tea house on the pier were built on his initiative.

In case the weather is not bright enough after visiting Gothmund, then simply stroll through the old town of Lübeck – a true jewel from the Hanseatic era.

In my opionion each sight is more beautiful than the other, or like good-old Goethe would put it:  “hold on to this moment, it is just so beautiful” …. I will be gone for now …

Petra
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