From Cuxhaven to Helgoland, a minicruise
Walking on the island of Helgoland leaves a strange thought in your head. How the hell did this red rock came to be. And indeed, many geologists are still figuring out exactly the how and why this single monolit is sticking out above the Northsea-water. The waves beating on it's sides and even the British once tried to blow it up by heavy bombing (WW II). Our friends from Cuxhaven that always welcome us with wide open arms in their environment. We know them from wintersport in Austria and already go a long time back.
Helgoland - A pearl in the Northsea
A real must-do at the Northsea coast of Germany is a trip to Helgoland. It is maybe comparable to a visit of the castle Neuschwanstein when staying in the south of Germany. During my stay in Cuxhaven, which was my first visit to my countries Northsea coast, of course, I had to visit this island with its 1600 inhabitants. It is located about 65 kilometers in front of Cuxhaven and can be reached from several locations along the coast. Also there is a connection from Hamburg and Wedel. Two different types of boats leave to Helgoland, traditional ships and large katamaran. The latter one is faster, compared to the traditional way to get to the island, but you will miss the boating, which has been always part of the transfer to Helgoland.
So what is Helgoland about? In principle it is a big rock in the Northsea with a village on it, a little nature and very clean air. But Helgoland was also a part of germans history. In 1714 Helgoland became denish, 1807 british. In 1890 Prussia gave Sansibar, which was its colonie, to England in exchange for Helgoland. In the following time Prussia built up military structure on Helgoland, because of its strategic position in the northsea. Later in the second worldwar the militarization of Helgoland was strongly intensified and therefore the island bombed. From 1945 to 1952 Helgoland was used as a traget during the training of using bombs by the british military. Due to these bombings the area around the harbour is much lower than the rest of the island. After the returnment of Helgoland to Germany, people returned and houses were rebuild.
Another historical fact is that the writer August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben several times had his holidays on Helgoland and during this time (1841) wrote the 'Deutschlandlied', whose third strophe became the text of our national anthem.
About nature: Impressive are the rocks, which you can see on a short walk around the island following the footpaths. The most known is the 'lange Anna' (long Ann). It is a symbol for Helgoland. During strong storms the formerly much bigger island lost more and more land. It happend even in 1721, that it split apart and another island developed. You can see it just beside the main island and it is called 'Düne'. On it there is the tiny airport of Helgoland. During one storm also the 'lange Anna' resulted after other rocks broke down. As a symbol for Helgoland, people tried to keep it standing, but as I heard since this year they gave up and it most probably will not take long until it breaks down.
Official page of Helgoland, mainly german.
Historic map of Helgoland (1900)
The poet and writer Fallersleben.
Read about him in the wikipedia.
Upper town of Helgoland
The trip towards Helgoland I started from Cuxhaven, the city were I spend my holidays. It is one of several places where you can take the boat to Helgoland. Our boat was 'MS Wappen von Hamburg', a traditional boat instead of a kat, which is faster, but without the traditional boarding procedure at Helgoland. The boat is 110 meters long and has a width of 15 meters. It can have 1800 passengers onboard, but I guess it will be pretty tough.
After two hours we arrived at Helgoland. This time can be used to look at the many ships passing by. Also two interesting things can be seen, the two ship wracks of the 'Fides' and the 'Ondo', which both got stuck on a sandbank and couldn't get rescued. Today you see parts of it reaching out of the water. The other
interesting is the lighthouse 'Grosser Vogelsand'.
You can see that the two wracks are a little north east of the island Neuwerk, which is reachable by foot, when the tides are low. The ships are passing the island through the water line made by the Elbe, which passed Hamburg before flowing into the Northsea.
The lighthouse 'Grosser Vogelsand' is passed by the boat to Helgoland.
Inside the MS 'Wappen von Hamburg'.
Almost always following...