The city of Kiel, our current residence, surrounds the end of a fjord–not the elaborate Norwegian kind (remember Slartibartfast’s pride in having created their lovely crinkly edges in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?), but a fjord nonetheless. Last evening we went down to the water’s edge in the village of Mönkeberg, to see what we could see.
As promised, there was herring salad for a picnic, with warm potatoes and homemade bread (perhaps I should set a goal to bake my way around the world–I’ve got two recent pins in the map already). The herring salad was delicious, an unexpected combination of red pepper, cucumber, onion, apple, cream, yogurt, dill, parsley, and Edle Matjesfilets. Edle means fancy, Matjes is young herring, brine cured. I don’t think that’s an ingredient I’m going to happen upon in the US, though there’s a huge fish aisle in our local grocery store in Spain–perhaps I can find something like it there.
After eating, the kids’ first task was to clamber out onto the rocky spurs extending into the water from the beach. In German these are called Buhnen. In English, it turns out, this erosion-preventing structure is called a groyne or groin. I’m inclined to go with the German on this one. As we walked along the beach Loquita collected tiny striped snail shells, and Ninja kept running up to me exclaiming, “look, Mom, real Sea Glass!” while he waved sharp-edged pieces that likely had held beer as recently as last week. When I tried to refine his understanding of sea glass, he assured me that he could run his finger along that edge a thousand times before he got cut, at which point I carefully took it from him and assured him I could store it, and he didn’t need to run his fingers along the edges.
We set an arbitrary end to the collecting of striped snail shells, piled back into the car and drove out to Laboe, a place where the fjord meets the Baltic proper. From the water’s edge we watched a glorious sunset. The sky was a wash of turquoise blue and streaks of peach and gold, laced with feathered clouds. The rippling water reflected and echoed the expanse above; it felt like we stood in a giant bowl of quiet color.