Frisia (Friesland) — The Wadden Sea With Tea And Kluntje

In order to talk about Frisia (Friesland in German) you have to consider that most people know it as West Frisia, East Frisia, and North Frisia, called Westfriesland, Ostfriesland, and Norfriesland in German, respectively.

Whether West, East or North, Frisia is still a coastal region that was once swarming with, uh, Frisians. Who were, by the way, a Germanic Tribe — if that clears anything up for you. ;-)

This tribe of Frisians were around during the days of the Romans, but not really getting their own Kingdom until the 7th or 8th century.

Their territory stretched along the North Sea, from western and northern Netherlands to northwestern Germany (which includes Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein), touching the border of Denmark.

It even included the band of East Frisian (it wasn’t called that back then, though) that lie some 5 (or more) kilometers off the coastline of Lower Saxony. This is where you’ll find those famous mudflats that everyone loves so much at the Wadden Sea National Park. A UNESCO site, just so you know.

There are a number of famous towns in East Frisia, including Emden, Leer (both located along the Dollard Route), Wilhelmshaven, Wittmund, and Sylt, just to name a few.

Wilhelmshaven, BTW, is where you’ll find the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park Information Center. And a Botanical Garden, Coastal Museum, and Aquarium too.

I like Norden as well. It’s a great seaside spa town, once ruled over (besides the Frisians) by Hanover and Prussia. The political climate of Norden’s yesteryear is but a distant memory once you’ve see its St. Ludger Church, its old synagogue, and the East Frisian Tea Museum.

The cities of Frisia are great, but it’s the islands that have grabbed my attention this time. You can hop a ferry from Wittmund to Wangerooge, and there’s daily ferry service to Spiekeroog.

This island is fantastic! It has only one village (with the same name) with a Shell Museum and an island spa. Camping out here is a lot of fun — and done from May to September. It gets a tad cold up here in the long winter months.

Langeoog is another Frisian Island that was once the island with the highest point. Too many people have worn away the peak, so it doesn’t hold that distinction any longer.

Don’t let that stop you — it is just about totally unpolluted here. Allergy sufferers take note, my sinuses feel better already.

If you head northeast you’ll leave the 3100+ square kilometer, tea drinking, mudflat hiking region of East Frisia behind.

Did you know East Frisians drink more tea than just about anywhere else in the world? They serve it with everything, and with every meal — using Kluntje (a rock candy) to sweeten the anti-oxidant beverage.

North Frisia might also be a coastal region, but it does have its own unique flavor. That flavor tastes like coffee, since they’re not the tea drinking types here up in the north. ;-)

They’re more into the nudist beaches, which you’ll find on the island & town of Sylt. There are also a number of expensive shops on the island (not to mention the famous Sylt Rose), connected to the mainland by the Hindenburgdamm.

One of the other North Frisian Islands is Helgoland, not even two square kilometers. This island is another place that’s virtually pollen-free, making it a really popular tourist destination.

While Helgoland was once one island (it’s two now), the 50 square kilometer peninsula of Nordstrand was once part of an even bigger island, until a storm ripped it apart in 1634.

It doesn’t really matter too much of what’s connected or not, doesn’t change the fact that the North Frisian area once belonged to Denmark until the 1860s.

So, Frisia once belonged to the Denmark, huh? I guess that’s why Danish is widely spoken around here. But they also speak lots of regular German and Low German too. It might all sound kind of funny either way, the Frisians have their own dialect. And the Frisian language itself is said to sound a lot like English.

Whatever language anyone’s speaking here in Frisia, the area is divine — and that transcends any language barrier anyone might have. Anyone know the Frisian word for wonderful?


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