• Deborah Kade

Sterup, Germany

Updated: Oct 14, 2019

Michael and I are in Sterup visiting Cordula, whom we had as an exchange student twenty-five years ago. Hard to believe it has been that long!

Sterup is a municipality in the district of Schleswig-Flensburg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It has a population of 1,381 people.

We walked the dogs along the beach looking over the Baltic Sea in Steinberg where off in the distance we could see sections of Denmark as well as Germany. It was quite cold and damp as we walked along the shore. Our cheeks were quite rosy.

I was very surprised to see the fields this green. In this area, they grow rape seed (canola oil), wheat and sugar beets.

Do you notice anything different with the crossing lights?

Later in the afternoon, we drove 24 km to Flensburg to the Christmas Market. I would say this market specialized more in food and drinks than it did in handmade crafts. So many smells in the air: sweet cotton candy, brats, spiced wine, something fried, hot chestnuts, pork, etc!

Christmas rose

Christmas rose or black hellebore, is an evergreen perennial flowering plant in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. It is poisonous.

Although the flowers resemble wild roses (and despite its common name), Christmas rose does not belong to the rose family (Rosaceae).

This flower is commonly called the Christmas rose, due to an old legend that it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in Bethlehem.

One subspecies blooms at the abbey in England believed by some to have been established by St. Thomas. There is a source that claims it blooms near the new calendar date of 6 January. This date had been Christmas Day under the old Julian calendar. So when Christmas Day under the new calendar came around and the flower did not bloom, it was such a frightful omen that England did not adopt the Gregorian calendar at that time in 1588; adoption had to wait until 1751.

In the Middle Ages, people strewed the flowers on the floors of their homes to drive out evil influences. They blessed their animals with it and used it to ward off the power of witches. These same people believed, however, that witches employed the herb in their spells and that sorcerers tossed the powdered herb into the air around them to make themselves invisible.

Black hellebore was used by the ancients to treat paralysis, gout and particularly insanity, among other diseases. It is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, a feeling of suffocation, swelling of the tongue and throat, emesis and catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the pulse), and finally collapse and death from cardiac arrest. Research in the 1970s, however, showed that the roots of H. niger do not contain the cardiotoxic compounds helleborin, hellebrin, and helleborein that are responsible for the lethal reputation of black hellebore. It seems that earlier studies may have used a commercial preparation containing a mixture of material from other species such as Helleborus viridis, green hellebore.

Black hellebore was the dominant purgative of antiquity, frequently prescribed for that purpose by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in the fifth century B.C. It was said to be introduced by Melampus, with which he healed the madness of the daughters of Proteus, king of Argos. The sedative property of hellebore was noted about one hundred years later by Theophrastus.

Stopped into St. Nicholas Church.

Some people were practicing. Beautiful sound from the organ.

We had a delicious meal at the Strandterrasse!!! Michael and Thorsten had the cod with a mustard sauce; I had the pollack and Cordula had the rumpsteak with mushrooms and onions. The pan fried potatoes with onions and bits of bacon were so tasty. This restaurant is across the street from the ocean. It must be a beautiful place to have lunch or dinner in the summer.

Even though this was a very short visit, Michael and I were so very happy to be able to spend some time with Cordula and her boyfriend, Thorsten.


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