Today, I want to lure you away to a tiny island that I bet nobody of you ever heard of - most Germans only have a very hazy idea where it is, though it is in Germany. If you start out in Canada, roughly in the middle of Newfoundland and fly straight east and jump over Britain (where Manchester is located), then you'll end up at the North Sea and the German shore where a few islands are scattered. Seven of them are counted as the "Ostfriesische Inseln", and Baltrum is the smallest of them, right in the middle. Only three hundred people live there permanently.
For some reason, Baltrum is a thing you inherit from your family, like brown hair or black. My grandmother used to go, so did my mother when we were small, and now, I've taken my daughter, too, and she cried when we had to leave, so I think she'll come back, too!
There are no cars allowed on Baltrum, that's why you are projected into another world the very second you get off the ferry (which crosses the short stretch to the mainland in 35 minutes two or three times a day, depending on the tide). Things are transported with little hand-carts, or, if you indulge yourself, you hire a horse waggon.
There is one smnall supermarket where you can buy single rolls (!) of toilet paper, one small department store so you can stock up on sturdy sea clothing and bathing costumes, one books store, and a few knick-knack stores that you just need on a rainy day.
Besides that, there's the gym, which in summer, serves as the local theater. The actors are the inhabitants of the island who whiled away the cold, long winters by learning their texts. You can't imagine how thrilling it is to see the murderer of The Mouse-Trap, cycling past you on your way to the beach the very next morning. Twice a week, the gym also serves as the cinema, a one-man show, run by a man with bare feet who chases errant moths from the screen with a long broom before the movie starts.
A very German thing is the "Strandkorb". Translated, it means beach basket, and it's a huge sort of woven seat on the beach that you can use as your temporary castle to protect you from the wind, the sand, and the sun. Of course, you have to pay for it way in advance, or they're all booked out, but I'm a great fan of the Strandkorb as I tend to freeze easily (and the North Shore of Germany is NOT known for hot weather). But with a Strandkorb, you have nothing to fear.
Another attraction of Ostfriesland (that's the region Baltrum belongs to) is the very clear water which allows you to drink tea without that horrid black slime on top, which can be found everywhere else. The Ostfriesen drink their tea with cream and white rock candy that makes delicious cracking noises when the hot tea comes on top. I drink gallons of tea whenever I'm on Baltrum.
It's all laid-back and wind-blown and sandy, and I love it. Every time I go there, I wonder if I would like to live there permanently, to write my books without distractions, but I don't think I could stand the lonely winters. I think you have to be born to bear that kind of solitude. How about you? Are you true island-people or summer visitors only?