Wednesday 26 August 2009

An Idyll by a Lake

Idyll am Wollgastsee exterior outdoor seatsHaving recently spent many hours of our holiday sitting on/walking along /cycling by the gorgeous beach at the end of our road we decided to take a cycle ride into the interior of the island. There are a whole series of cycle routes marked out and we chose one through a wood just a couple of miles from our little house. It was a lovely cycle ride – although I now realise that people have different definitions of “really flat” - and in the 25 degree heat it was nice to be in the shade whizzing along through the cool dappled light. After climbing a gentle hill we came coasting down to a beautiful lake surrounded by trees; and there on the shore was a guest house, appropriately called Idyll am Wolgastsee. After our exertions we thought we deserved a little refreshment and found a shady seat on the terrace overlooking the lake.

Friday 21 August 2009

Baltic Tea Heaven

Altes Pommeriches Theehaus Heringsdorf Usedom
So my amazement at the quality of tea in Germany continues. I am currently holidaying on the island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea: it's very beautiful and when the sun's out – which luckily it has been – the five mile beach of powdered sand is close to idyllic. But imagine my surprise yesterday when after a short bike ride to the town of Heringsdorf virtually the first thing I see is the speciality “Old Pomeranian Tea House”. Packed to the rafters with large caddies containing everything from fourteen types of green tea to around thirty “classic” black teas – it really was pretty astounding. They also stocked loads of flavoured and herbal teas, most of which had a few too many flavours and aromas to really take my fancy, although I was tempted by an interesting sounding Chai. As well as hundreds of teas the shop also sold loads of tins, teapots, cups and pretty much every other sort of tea accessory you could hope for. On the whole they were a little chintzy for my taste, but nonetheless there was no doubt that this was an impressive tea shop - and let's remember it's located in a tiny town on a small island in the Baltic. But here's the real shocker: a mile and a half cycle ride along the sea front is Ahlbeck, another little town with, wait for it, another tea shop! What is going on here? Have I stumbled into tea heaven? Although in truth I suspect that I would find a similar picture all over Germany – would that I could say the same for Britain. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make the most of it while I'm here. I'll keep you posted about what other tea delights I stumble upon.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

A Tea Tin Paradise

Tea tins Germany
For a nation of tea lovers us Brits really could learn a thing or twelve from our German cousins. I am currently in Berlin (which accounts for my recent lack of posts) and am constantly amazed by the superior facilities for the tea obsessive. As I've mentioned before I am a big fan of the tea accessory and none is higher on my list of must-haves than the attractive tea tin. I have searched high and low for nice tins in the UK and although I've managed to find some good ones online it certainly hasn't been too easy. You would expect that department stores like John Lewis or the considerably more gift-oriented Fortnum and Mason might have them, but no, they are completely bereft. Here in Germany it's a different matter altogether.