At this time of year, I’m tempted to write something about summer. However, summer? I think so far this year I have not left the house in the morning without a jacket on. For me, that used to be the indicator for summer – knowing that you can go out without having to think about an additional layer of clothing. Carefree, warm, sunny. Well, summer. My only ‘consolation’ as a wind-blown UK dweller: people back home in Germany don’t seem to be doing much better. I recently saw a post on my Facebook feed shared by a German friend that congratulated summer 2016 on its Oscar-worthy role as autumn.

So, time for a bit of nostalgia then, don’t you think? Back to the days when we still had summers. When I think of my childhood, I remember nothing but long and hot summers (obviously). In particular, I remember wonderful holidays in northern Germany on a lovely island called Juist, which is one of the seven inhabited East Frisian islands, beloved by German families and little known by international visitors. I remember horse-drawn carriages because the place is blissfully car-free, and I can still taste the milk rice with cinnamon we used to have there. Also on my mind: long mud flat walks, getting out on boats to watch seals and of course, playing all day long on the beach, supported by Capri-Sonne Zitrone – never anything else, always lemon. Yes, Capri Sun, another one of those brands that you might never have guessed is German.

Speaking of which (things German) dear British readers, rest assured: there are no towel wars in sight on Juist. Would you believe it, Germans can go on holidays without getting up at daybreak in order to secure the best places by way of strategically placed towels. North Sea as well as Baltic Sea beaches are all about the Strandkorb, literally ‘beach baskets’. These specially designed chairs for use on the beach and to protect from sun, wind, rain and sand may well be the best German invention ever. A certain Wilhelm Bartelmann, a basket maker in Rostock, is said to have built the first one in 1882. As you’d expect, given their provenance, those beach chairs are super practical and provide a veritable home from home by the sea. They come complete with tiltable tops, storage space below the seats, arm and footrests and rain-proof covers.

Holiday makers hire them on the beach, and I challenge you to find a German photo album that hasn’t got a picture of a family sitting in a Strandkorb with some kids grinning and happily licking their ice-cream. Or sucking on their Capri Sun. Now, at this point, I’d really like to recommend a summer holiday German style, on a pristine white North Sea beach. However, with summer being what it is this year, I understandably hesitate a bit. On the other hand, you’d, of course, have your very own Strandkorb to protect you from the elements. In any case, have a great summer! Which, by the time you read this, might have shown up after all.

TEXT: BARBARA GEIER | PHOTOS: BARBARA GEIER, PEXELS.COM

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany.

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