FURTHER AFIELD: In Munsterland

Munsterland is in Germany, part of the North Rhine-Westphalia region which is famous for its castles and manors. Last April we stopped here to visit friends as we drove across Germany, from Cologne to Hannover. We didn’t cycle from castle to castle (a popular regional pastime) but our friends’ home is a castle in its own right, a haven where we felt secure, well cared for and enveloped in hygge. The small town we stayed in is probably like many others in the region, but wandering through the village and past the edges of farms around it was a magical experience for us. Meeting up with someone you know who lives in the place you are passing through brings a refreshing dose of reality to a journey. For a few hours you feel less like someone tasting bits and pieces, and more like someone who is connected to the culture and nourished by the landscape.*

Now, almost a year later, the brief time spent with friends in a far-away place already feels nostalgic. You’ll see that in these photos.

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1. On the outskirts of the village.

2. The lambs and the ewe ran away from us; Easter was less than a week away.

3. One way to sheer sheep.

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4. Little Kusebach flows south, passing near the center of town. This small section of of the stream looked blissfully unmanicured to my eyes.

5. A copse rises in the distance.

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6. This is a Kleiner Kohlweißling butterfly, native to Europe and introduced inadvertently to North American back in the 1850’s. We call them Cabbage white butterflies. The flower seems to be a willow (Salix) of some kind. Whatever their names may be, butterflies and flowers are happy things to see in the Spring.

7. It looks like a cherry or apple tree. In my mind it’s a tree deity, guarding the fields for another season.

8. Friends

9. These old buildings in the heart of the village once housed tools and machinery for a local farm.

10. Walking through the village.

11. Magnolia trees scattered missives at our feet.

12. St. Antonius Church.

13. Streets and steps throughout the town were immaculate.

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14. Birch catkins dangled over the pond.

15. The tender unfolding of Copper beech leaves was another reason to smile.

16. It’s Buche Kupfer in German.

17. Ben, Ule, Joe

18. Kusebach again, a darker version.

19. Trees leafing out and their reflections.

20. Clematis buds
21. More reflections in a pond behind a restaurant.

22. Later, the woods whizzed by in a haze of Spring green and deep umber.

23. After leaving our friends we spent a long afternoon driving past fields of mustard, tall, bare-branched trees and signs we didn’t quite understand. Eventually we reached Hannover, where we spent the next day with another good friend. Photos from that day are here.

*Another view of Munsterland from someone who lives there can be found here, at Ule’s blog: Ule Rolff, Texte und Fotografie. She is, of course, the person we visited. We’re indebted to her and Ben for making us feel so welcome.

If you need a translation, try this site – you just select your original and target languages, then cut and paste the url into the navigation bar and click “translate.”

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67 comments

  1. Dear Lynn, I’m glad to see more of the results of your journey in Germany last year. Some intense impressions and interesting writings. Beeing an explorer of the rural german area myself from time to time, I see your post with special delight. Regards Karl

    Liked by 2 people

    • How nice to see the first comment from you, Karl. I wish we could have spent more time with you – but I’m lucky that we had coffee and were able to get a little bit of an impression of your own Germany. And we were really, really glad to have this “insiders view” in the countryside – it makes traveling so much more interesting to hang out with someone who lives there. These photos have a very different atmosphere from what you typically do so I appreciate your good words. I hope all is well in your part of the world, and the storm didn’t upset your life. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There it is, your post about Münsterland! How charming your photos are! You have given them a special Early Spring look, a bit desaturated, which is almost up to date again now in February. As Ben said: you present a completely new view of our familiar landscape to us, much more romantic than we normally see it. And I feel like being on that beautiful walk with you and Joe again.
    There are some people here who will also be delighted by your photo series for sure.
    The pictures which are especially dear to me are the mysterious Kusebach and tree photos. But I also love the sheep and tufts of wool in the fence – I recall exactly the moment and how you were standing, stepping a bit back, then nearer to take this picture. I have often walked that path since then, and each time I notice the fence (there are always woolen tufts on it) I think of you and smile. Thank you for these charming memories, dear Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I bet it’s more romantic! 🙂 After you’ve lived somewhere for a long time it can be hard to see your surroundings with the rose-colored glasses I wore that day. It’s good that you were able to relive the walk a little with these photos. I thought you would like the Kusebach photos – I was really pleased with those; I think they’re more than snapshots. And what a fun story about when I took the photo of the wool caught in the fence. I remember your surprise and delight (I think I do anyway) when I took the photo (which is super cropped here). I love details like that, as you know. They are traces of life and movement through time and the landscape.
      Almuth tells me (in an email) that what I called beech leaves may be Corylus maxima “Purpurea.” (Hazlenut). She’s probably right, oh well!
      Thank you for everything, from then to now. Stay cozy, warm and dry!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s a reflection of my soft-headedness! 😉 Seriously, it’s mostly processing in this case. I have a vintage lens that can produce that look – a Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 – but it’s heavy and I never travel with it. For these images I used a variety of things – Lr presets that I tweaked, editing in Color Efex & Silver Efex, desaturating, vignettes, etc. As I said above, from this distance it all feels nostalgic so I went with that.
      Thanks so much for your comments, I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These images look very much like the Germany of my childhood and young adulthood…about 100 and 150 miles away respectively. I can almost smell the village and the surrounding fields….

    Very nice, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t remember that you lived there – maybe I forgot or never knew. How wonderful to hear that these photographs bring you back! And you weren’t far away. Thanks for letting me know, Scott. Have a good week!

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    • That’s good to hear, Howard – I really can’t stop taking photographs, whether I’m home or away, so if I can communicate something with them later, that’s a good thing, I haven’t wasted my time. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you liked the monochromes – I enjoyed throwing some in here. 🙂 I’m also glad this reminded you a little of your grandparents’ farm – it must have been a good place to visit. Have a good week, Harrie!

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  4. I remember the parallel blog entries from last year, the German-American Entente.

    In #12, the roof tiles struck me as scales on a reptile.

    In #16, notice how similar the German word for beech, Buche, is to the German for book, Buch. Likewise for English beech and book. That’s not a coincidence, as you can see in the Word History section near the bottom of https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=book. Our word copper is named after Cyprus, where people mined it.

    Reflections like those in #21 are always fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those roof tiles ARE like scales, for sure. My friend Almuth tells me the beech is probably actually a purple hazelnut – oops. And you know, I think Almuth and I had a long conversation in one of her posts a while back about the connection between Buche, beech, book, etc. Words are fascinating, the way they can take us back in time and make connections we didn’t think of before. Thanks for the link!

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  5. It is interesting to how similar subject matter attracts us wherever we go. Your fascination with nature, patterns and textures shines throughout this selection I particularly like Nos 21 and 22.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely post, Lynn. The photos have such a feeling of serenity and it’s doubly nice that you shared it with friends. Sound like a great time together. Images that caught my eye– the single sheep posing, the copse (love it in monochrome…surprise!) the detail of St. Antonius, the gorgeous reflection and the happy portrait of your group. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true, spending time in the countryside, in a “normal” non-tourist place can be good, but with friends – way better! Thanks for singling out the copse – it’s always a stretch to show monochromes alongside color images because they tend not to speak loudly enough. I’m sure you know what I mean. And the others too – thanks for mentioning your favs. Have a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You’ve obviously spent considerable thought and time with this post Lynn . I totally get that feeling of the warmth and enjoyment you had from your visit . Nostalgia and looking back brings a new dimension I think to how one views our images . Love these insights . The photograph of the copse particularly … I have my eye on one nearby here at home.. it always feels special as I took one of my first time astro shots there with our darling Lottie dog- now sadly somewhere heavenly too I hope – keeping me company .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Looking back does broaden the perspective…time passing=different insights. I’m glad you pointed out the copse – trees are wonderful beings, and when they gather together on a slight rise like that, it’s magic. If I get even a little of that across, it’s good. Your memory of one such place has so much meaning and longing and happiness – it’s always a complex mix, isn’t it? Thanks for commenting, Poppy!

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  8. Traveling is always an enrichment for the senses and emotion. In this case, affection and friendship were also present.
    These are moments that stay in the heart and eyes, here remembered in images and very interesting details.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a very pleasant respite, strolling through your album. Whether beech or hazelnut, I like seeing those crisp pleats on the leaves in #15 & #16. There are two copper beeches at my parents’ house, and that’s always been part of spring for me – – they’re not colorful in the fall, but provide a pretty dramatic color shift in spring-summer, and look very different viewed from the side, than from underneath – – your photos capture the very similar, coppery look of the underside.
    The difference in your shots of tree reflections is really striking – #19 has that great dream-sequence feel, that you seem to have patented, and 21 has a nice trippy vibe. The twig in the #14 shot has a little hook to it, so the catkins look like attractive fishing lures. You took what seems like an unusual sample of the St. Antonious Church in #12, and that works great, the shading of the stones and the scalloped roof slates.
    And my favorite is #5, that isolated copse of trees in the fields, with the blossoming trees in the center, faint beams of light, looking like a shrine. Perfect spot for some Druids or animists to gather!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crisp pleats, exactly. 🙂 You’re lucky to have a continuous relationship with Copper beech trees. There were a number of glorious old ones around when I lived by the Hudson, just north of Manhattan. A long “row” of them extends through multiple properties. I can tell you’ve paid attention to the trees by your description – and the bark, that’s another great feature of those trees.
      You made me laugh to think #21 is trippy but OK. 🙂 For sure, the shot of the church is not the sanctioned version. 😉 I like to concentrate on details, as you know, and textures.
      Yes, the copse seems like a shrine – exactly! I’m so glad you see that – I usually don’t like to exaggerate and sometimes I think I may have been too subtle. Thank you, Robert, for such a sensitive comment, I appreciate it.

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    • We met up with four different fellow blogger-photographers and a few relatives on that trip, in both the Netherlands and Germany. It really does make a huge difference to the experience, being able to spend time with people who live in the area. Thank you for stopping by, it’s always good to see your comments.

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  10. Very nice pictures and details! I love the ancient looking sheep as well as the “hanging wool” on the third one 🙂 Lovely spring impressions of an old village. Nr. 7 is wonderful. I rarely see such big fruit trees growing wild! and I like the patterns from the old machinery house in #9, a bit like a puzzle 🙂 I like the details from hazel and Clematis very much. And the wilderness from the Kusebach with the old tree is beautiful. Looks like a magic place with nice people 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was lots of wool caught on that fence – it was a fun thing to see. It’s interesting to read what you said about the fruit tree, and I agree, they don’t usually reach that size. It was delightful to spend time with Ule and see the countryside, just like it was such a pleasure to see Hannover with you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Lynn,
    thank you for sharing these pictures. I studied Nordic literature and philosophy in Münster. “hygge” was always connected with Scandinavia for me but your are right many places in the Münsterland are quite hygge – especially the restaurants and hotels in the countryside and, of course, the Christmas markets at Münster.
    All the best
    Klausbernd 🙂 and the rest of The Fab Four of Cley

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s good to hear you enjoyed the photos, Klaus. I knew there was a German “connection” but of course, I didn’t know you studied in Munster. Now you’re making me long to return – maybe someday! Thank you for commenting.

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  12. Oh! Utterly and totally delightful! So many here to comment on, but I’ll need to go back. The one that sticks in my mind without a reminder are the cheerful, friendly faces of Ule and Ben and the back of Joe’s head. Everyone looks to be having a grand time.
    #3— elicited chuckles.
    #5- love the composition, but can’t help but wonder if the sky was grey or blue? The lighting is quite magical either way.
    Hard to choose favorites here, really, but were push come to shove it might be:
    14/15/20/21 and on and on…. 😀
    Thanks for the translation hint. I’ll have to try it because I had problems getting Ule’s posts to translate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Gunta – I think the photos of people here do stand out, they seem to convey the easy conviviality that we enjoyed. Damn, I wish it wasn’t so far away! 😉 And you liked the sheep wool caught in the fence? Good. 🙂 In #5, the sky was overcast, which was one of the reasons I chose to try monochrome. The light and colors were dull and needed a little Lroom encouragement. The Spring-y images, like #15 & #20, appeal more right now, I think, because we’re so close but still so far away, from seeing that kind of scene on a daily basis.
      I hope that link works – just put in the original language and the target language (i.e. German & English) and paste the url in and you should be there. I’ve been using it a lot, for Almuth’s posts especially!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post, as always, Lynn. These definitely have a nostalgic feel to them. I think you choice of processing adds a sweet poignancy to them. They are not at all “touristy” and one might think that you are sharing images of home rather than a far away place. The one that struck me the most, which really could have been made anywhere similar, is number 21. I can see that hanging on a wall or two. Lovely vision and capture. Not to just mention one, 19 and 22 also. 🙂 The whole series is most enjoyable.

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    • This is nice to hear, Steve, thank you. Reflections are always so much fun to photograph – you never know quite what you’re going to get but you often get really nice results. I appreciate your thoughts and good words!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, it’s a pleasure to re-experience a great trip through the photos. I was feeling nostalgic about the experience so I decided to emphasize that feeling in the processing. I appreciate your comment very much, Otto, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: FURTHER AFIELD: In Munsterland — bluebrightly – THE FLENSBURG FILES


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