It’s been two weeks since the #balticdiscovery team left Mecklenburg.
Short week. Long days. It was worth all the planning, the hard work and even the obstacles. Seeing those excited faces each and every day payed off everything. I don’t want to go into detail regarding the programme at this point, the team already wrote about it and you can see every stop on the tripline map. I want to mention the HIGHLIGHTS of #balticdiscovery, which we have talked about every night. I am not going to mention any names, the participants know which highlight belongs to whom.
The team arrived on a sunny Friday and was accommodated at the beautiful Filmbüro MV hostels in Wismar. We were given a very interesting tour through all the buildings, the archives, the cinema. The team connected pretty much right away which was the perfect starting shot for #balticdiscovery. The welcoming dinner took place at the art studio of Paetrick Schmidt. Everyone brought some food, wine and beer. And then there was the part which is mostly hated: the introduction round. We introduced not ourselves, though but everyone introduced someone else. Katharina introduced me by telling my personal „Princess and the Pea“ story, I introduced my friend Burcin, she introduced Katharina. The #balticdiscovery participant Elena introduced Max from what she has learned about him so far, Juli and Andreas introduced each other as they are studying Creative Writing in Hildesheim together. Paetrick was introduced with some touching words by his friend. And so on. The dinner was a great kick-off in a different kind.
Day 1: City and History of Neubukow
To understand this highlight, you need to know about Andreas moms love for chicken. Chicken on pillows. carpets, towels, walls, chicken everywhere. Juli stopped counting chickens in their living room at the number 68. It is funny that chicken was already a highlight of the first day. Chickens were „stalking“ us during the trip in any way possible.
#2: Old wise Mr. Albrecht, compared to his grandson who was straight on point!
Mr. Albrecht was our tourguide in Neubukow who was telling very detailed and personal stories, his grandson did the translating part, cutting bits out here and there. You could really feel the generation difference and the team fell in love with Mr. Albrecht.
#3: The fact that Ina Schwarz was sitting at Café Glücklich as if it was arranged.
Two days later, Ina published an article about #balticdiscovery, she was fotoshooting us in Wismar and got her story. While we were having breakfast she was sitting next to us and „oohh, what a coincidence, do you want to write about the press trip?“ And yes, it was NOT arranged (unlike everything else)
#4: Talk with Katja about DDR times.
Most of us not growing up in the former DDR only know the western story about life back in the days. Some of us really enjoyed listening to the other side of it.
#5: DDR bar.
Walking through Wismar we passed this DDR bar, unfortunately closed. We were just able to get a little view through the windows, seeing old DDR appliances, newspaper articles, and all kinds of decoration. Really nostalgic.
#6: 3D movie and seeing everything afterwards.
The Marienchurch Wismar has a great way of showing how the church was built, a 3D movie. It is 12 minutes long and really gives a great impression, in both german and english language. After watching the movie we were climbing up the three-hundred-something stairs of the church.
#7: Schützen at the habor.
Just another things, as if it was arranged. The team was welcomed by real german „Schützen“ at the harbor in Wismar. They were shooting in the air and singing german Schützen-songs.
#8: The funny egg hat and the ride in the Oldtimer.
The team was delighted about the knitted hats covering the breakfast egg at the Café Glücklich. Leaving Wismar we had to split up in two groups to go to Neubukow. One was the „cool group“, driving with this beautiful babyblue Opel Ascona.
#9: Berni Kruse.
When Sybille and I were planning the Neubukow stay for #balticdiscovery together with the mayor of Neubukow, Roland Dethloff, I saw Berni for the first time. Berni is a funny guy, waving the Germany and the Hansa flag at the sidewalk each and every day. For over 10 years. I was hoping so bad that Berni would also stand there on May 4th. And he did.
#10: Inspired to find out more about Neubukow.
When telling people about Neubukow they are like „And what do we do after 5 minutes?“ because they think Neubukow is just a 4000 people town without anything special. Neubukow is so much more, though. The town is so authentic and has so much charme that it’s really worth going there. And there is the Schliemann (troy discoverer and „lucky bastard“) memorial, the biggest fish ladder in Europe and the highest wind mill of its kind.
Roland Dethloff also invited two pupils from the Doberaner Gymnasium to help out with the translation. One has already lived in the States for a year and one was an American, living in Germany. It was such a cute picture seeing the mayor of Neubukow in his casual outfit with basecap, whereas the young Doberaners and Mr. Albrecht („Neubukow-expert“) where all dressed up as if it was their moment to shine. Mr. Albrecht really made it a bit hard for them to translate all these stories but they got more and more comfortable and did a great job. One of them was repeatedly saying how bad his translating skills were but the whole team was praising him.
#12: Journalist not talking to me anymore.
This one makes me a bit proud. Katharina was delighted by the OZ-journalist, who started to interview her. After she told him that I would be the person in charge for this project he immediately approached me and did not feel the need to talk to Katharina anymore.
Day 2: History and Wellness in Büttelkow
#1: Feet in the sand. Coming back to the Baltic Beauty.
Only one of the participants has already been to Mecklenburg. Arriving in Kühlungsborn and coming to the ocean for the first time during the trip really excited the whole team.
#2: Meeting the lovely artist Anka.
Visiting Anka Kröhnke at the Atelierhaus Rösler-Kröhnke was so inspiring for all of us. She was not only telling touching historical stories about her artistic family but also gave us a personal tour through her private rooms. Anka really has the most beautiful furnitures, most of it from fleemarkets and „Sperrmüll“. By coloring every piece herself she makes the furntiure even more unique.
The Upstalsboom stay was completely thrilling everyone. Kira welcomed us with some sparkling wine and brought us up to the rooftop where we enjoyed an awesome view. The room with some welcoming chocolates and fruits invited one of us to do the hotelbed-jump.
#3: How much I love Teresa (E-Bike).
No comment. We know what this is about :)
#4: Bike. Beer.
I don’t want to imagine the trip without the E-bikes. This way of mobility not only fits perfectly in the concept of a sustainable trip but also provides such a great group experience. Even the cyclists boycotting the Ebike at first because of the dignity of a „real cyclist“ were totally thrilled afterwards. We had so much fun riding it in electronic gear 5. The beer at the beach of Kühlungsborn was just the perfect way to end the day.
#5: Life is spicy enough, there is no need to find stories and mix them with lies.
To make the articles even more exciting one felt the need to find true stories and mix them with lies. One accident showed that there is no need for that in Mecklenburg.
#6: Andreas trying to find the light.
Finding the light in the hotel room Upstalsboom was a real challenge for Andreas, who texted Julia via Facebook right after checking in:
a: I don’t have light in my room, do you? Do I have to go and complain?
j: Put your card in the door.
a: IN the door?
j: Right next to it. Working?
a: I have already tried this. Is there any light that needs to flash?
j: The towelcard!! There is no light. Did you try the light switch?
a: The towelcard! How did you get that?
a: Oh god, there is a lot of light here. Most of it I don’t even know how to turn it off again.
j: Just take out the towelcard, man!
#7: Walking down the pier, well prepared fisher in wheel-chair.
#8: THIS CURRY WURST RIGHT NOW!
As every night we were mentioning our daily highlights at dinner again. The curry wurst at Edel & Scharf is a luxury curry wurst, often served with sparkling wine. AND Preiselbeersenf. Its probably the best curry wurst on the Baltic Sea and especially those fries are to die for. We had a magical Cocktail from the neighbor bistro VIELMEER with it, which even changed its color once you stirred it :D
Day 3: Nature and Creativity in Büttelkow
#1: Spa. Chef preparing my very own omelette.
There is no need to go into detail, hotel spa or lets say full body massage tells it all. The breakfast at the Upstalsboom was just gigantic, especially the cheese tasting like Amaretto.
#2: Meeting the relaxed Elena after her Spa-treatment.
This girl was totally recovered. I met her on the floor to tell her they need to check out soon and her answer was just „Yes, great, that’s okay“ in this calm and satisfied voice. Juli also met her on the floor and the voice was still the same, even though the concern was less positive: „I cannot open my door“.
#3: Getting caught naked.
Getting caught naked by the housekeeper. No comment.
#4: Being in this surrounding. Listening to Annabelle playing the piano. Forced to be creative.
After checking out at the Upstalsboom the team shared the same opinion: „It cannot get any better“. But I proofed them to be wrong. After this beautiful Ebike tour from Kühlungsborn to Büttelkow (west of Kröpelin) they were completely taken in by this beautiful atmosphere at the Herrenhaus Büttelkow and these loving people welcoming them. The daughter of Andreas Renner and Antje Sachse, Annabelle, even gave us a little piano concert. We got to see the whole house, heard stories about its history as a place for refugees, and enjoyed its huge garden. That is where we also made some creative workshops with the art therapist Andreas.
#5: House creates timeless atmosphere.
Being at the Herrenhaus Büttelkow the #balticdiscovery team forgot about time and everything back home. Coming here is the perfect way to leave all your problems behind and just enjoy.
#6: Finding out that Germans are the best campers.
The position of the garden seats was just perfect and proofed Germans to be the best campers. In Denmark you would have 10 different options and none of them would be perfect.
#7: Breakfast at Upstalsboom. Ride with Andreas. Playing Badminton.
Burcin was takig the car with Andreas to get our luggage to Büttelkow. She was delighted by the fact that he even made a detour to show her some places that he was telling about. Playing Badminton in the big garden showed this unathletic girl that there actually is a sport activity she really enjoys.
#8: Andreas Renner saying we are angels.
While doing the creative workshop Andreas was asked whether everyone is enjoying these things like we were. His answer was „Sometimes there are angels coming to our place, and you are angels.“ Thank you, Andreas.
Day 4: Subculture and City of Rostock
#1: Breakfast on terrasse. Tissue waving.
After a perfect breakfast outside we were riding the bike to Kröpelin where we took the train to Rostock. After only one day Andreas and Antje said goodbye to us as if we were their children.
#2: Buying a vintage suitcase at nähmarie.
Our shopping lovers finally got to go to some stores: artquarium, cosi, nähmarie, Cold//by. Marianne Tonn introduced us to her beautiful exhibition ARTverwandt in the artquarium, Anna Silberstein (jewellery) and Sandra Schmedemann (porcelain) let us have a view in their artquarium studios in the backyard, a place full of creativity. nähmarie was well prepared to tell us about her work and even made some buttons with us. We could hardly leave her cute little shop. Juliane from Cold//by invited us to her home-atelier where we had some quiche and cake. We heard about her life as a young fashion designer living in the creative heart of Rostock, the KTV. Afterwards she and Carsten joined us for the tour with Robert Uhde.
#3: Sitting in the backyard of Roberts Mama. His cat.
Our first part of the Rostock tour was the creative one through the KTV. Afterwards we had Robert, aka Papabär, as our personal Rostock tourguide. He was doing a great job, showing us the historic district, the lively shopping street but also green corners. After going to the Jakobiplatz where his grandpa used to be a priest in the Jakobichurch, to the beautiful Hochschule für Musik und Theater and many more places, we were invited for coffee and cake at his parents place. The team got to meet more warmhearted people and even Roberts daughter. And the big cat.
#4: Seeing Emilie catch 5 fishes.
She actually caught four fishes, but it was still the record (that’s what the fisher said). We ended our tour with Robert at the harbor and were relaxing a bit. Some went straight to the fishers and started talking, 5 minutes later three girls were fishing and the fishermen started to take pictures of the fishergirls. All arranged.
#5: Harbor walk. Picture perfect with Robert.
From the fishers place at the very start of the harbor we walked our way to CarLo 615 where we had our final dinner.
#6: #balticdiscovery jump.
Check the video.
#7: Roberts coworker.
Standing in front of the bookshop buch…bar I gave Robert some of his own flyers for the Steampunk festival (they were laying there) and he started telling a bit about this project and his work in general. As if it was arranged (again!) his Co-worker showed up and joined the conversation.
#8: Longest german conversation, thanks to the fisher.
The fisher forced Emily to talk German and as always, she did great!
#9: Boring but food.
I guess food is always a highlight. This time it was the dinner at CarLo 615.
These highlights were collected at dinner. When arriving at the Circus Fantasia and after having the last but not least delicious breakfast at Cafe A REBOURS the team was like „just another highlight“. I actually thought that – after dinner and a long day – the team would just be down for a drink at the Circus Fantasia. Wrong guess. They were totally stoked and ready for some juggling and pyramids with Thomas Hinz. I told them the following: „These past few days I had everything planned for you. Tonight it’s all up to you, you decide whether you want to just relax at the bonfire or be active.“ They did not hesitate for a second but started to dance, juggle, and so on.
Highlights of the Week:
#1: The group dynamic, I felt comfortable from the very start.
#2: The programme. But not in a classical sence. There were extraordinary moments that you would not find yourself. Every time you thought „it can’t get better!“. Then you come to the Upstalsboom, meet such loveable people like Andreas and Antje, ride the E-Bike and and and.
#3: The fact that the team was having problems planning the little bit of leisure time they had. Coordinating spa AND breakfast was really hard for some participants.
#4: The intelligent humor of the group. I never felt uncomfortable.
#5: There was no hierarchy in the relations at all. Even the woman in the fourstar superior hotel (Kira Josl) was so warmhearted and down-to-earth. We experienced one family kind of welcoming after the other.
#6: Even though we were brought to such private places the hosts never made us feel as we were intruding.
#7: I liked the vitality of the older people like Anka Kröhnke, Andreas Renner (even though he is not old) and Burkhard Albrecht. Ah, I love old german people.
#8: You normally need a lot of time to see such hidden treasures. Thanks to the Kreativsaison we got to experience them within four days.
#9: Why has noone told me that there is a region like this…. with so much potential. I surely come back.
My personal highlight of all was the highlight session every night ‚cause all highlights are included in one highlight, hah. Thank you #balticdiscovery team for being so enthusiastic, so easy-going, so positive. I truly enjoyed getting to know all of you.
The team showed that Mecklenburg is a lot of fun for young people. And saying that I am not only talking about the cities Wismar and Rostock. The real highlight for the team was going to places like Neubukow and Büttelkow, meeting people like Mr. Albrecht, Andreas & Antje, and Anka Kröhnke, listening to personal historical stories. They obviously enjoyed coming to the city on their last day but it is the mix that makes the region unique. The mix of city and nature, of relaxing and sports, of history and architecture, of art and creativity.
I also want to thank all the partners, supporters, sponsers of #baltidiscovery. Without them this incredible and unforgettable press trip would not have been possible.
Even more pictures are on Elenas Flickr
Alte Büdnerei Kühlungsborn
Museum Atelierhaus Rösler Kröhnke
Upstalsboom Hotelresidenz & Spa
Knut Wiek (DDR Grenzturm)
Edel & Scharf
Café A REBOURS