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Holiday homes at North and Baltic Sea 90 percent full as Germans choose staycations

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many more Germans are holidaying at home. Now tourist bosses say popular destinations are almost fully booked already.

Holiday homes at North and Baltic Sea 90 percent full as Germans choose staycations
People enjoying the sunshine at the Baltic Sea coast at Warnemünde on June 15th. Photo: DPA

Holiday homes and apartments are in demand among Germans, according to industry figures.

In the holiday resorts on the North and Baltic Seas, the accommodation for the summer holidays is booked to 90 percent capacity, the German Holiday Home Association (Deutsche Ferienhaus-Verband) said.

Regions in southern Germany, such as the Allgäu and the Lake Constance region, are also very popular at the moment.

The association recommended that anyone who wants to book a spot this summer should be flexible since demand is so high.

On June 15th, the government partially lifted  a travel warning put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus, allowing people to visit EU countries. However, the travel warning for non-EU countries remains in place until August 31st.

“This year, Germans are focusing very strongly on holidays close to nature that allow for the necessary distance,” explained Michelle Schwefel, the association's branch manager, referencing the requirement for people in Germany to keep 1.5 metre distance to others.

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The North Sea and Baltic coasts are in particularly high demand, especially the islands such as Rügen. Holidaymakers are also attracted to the Mecklenburg Lake District.

But there are still places that can be booked.

“There is still free accommodation in the low mountain ranges such as the Black Forest or the Hochsauerland and in the big cities such as Berlin and Munich,” said Schwefel.

READ ALSO: Travel in Germany – the best secluded hangouts to visit this summer

This year, bookings are being made at shorter notice than usual due to the uncertainty in the pandemic, added Schwefel. Holidaymakers are paying more attention to Germany or destinations that can be easily reached by car.

Since the coronavirus restrictions began being eased, bookings for holiday homes in Germany increased.

Vocabulary

North and Baltic Sea – (der) Nord- und Ostsee

Popular regions – (die) beliebte Regionen

Mecklenburg Lake District – (die) Mecklenburgische Seenplatte

Free accommodation – (die) Freie Unterkünfte

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

 

 

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TRAVEL

IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images

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