22-Apr-2023 -- As I had just arrived that day in Germany, and as we were setting up for a week of spatial thinking and geotechnology focused workshops for education faculty and students at the University of Hamburg, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect beginning. And thus, a fine Saturday afternoon found us traveling into Schleswig-Holstein state, past yellow fields of canola and covered fields of asparagus. We traveled through the delightful village of Großenaspe, stopping briefly at the beautiful brick church there, and then northeast on the road to and past the homes at Freiweide. We turned to the right and around at the military base parking lot, headed back to the southwest, and pulled over to the right - in the field to the northwest. Here we stopped at the small lane that was the field access point. Even though this point has been visited about 18 times, I was looking forward to the visit, as it had been 4 years since I had visited a point in Deutschland. We discussed all things geography and geospatial technology and education en route to the point. Interestingly, I had noticed on Google maps that this was one of the few confluence points that actually appears on the map as a point of interest. Once parked, we set out on our short walk to the northwest along the field's edge. Within less than 10 minutes, we were all making slow traverses, trying to zero out our phones and GPS receiver. I am certain we looked comical if anyone could look down at us from a hot air balloon.
It was a bit challenging to zero out the GPS receiver due to (1) the low number of satellites in view at this time, (2) my usual walking-in-the-wrong direction to achieve 0-0 since I spend most of my time in the northern and western hemispheres, and today I was in the eastern hemisphere. However, almost at the point of giving up and calling our existing photographs sufficient, we after 15 minutes achieved our goal. The point today lies just to the southeast of the drainage ditch at the place in the field that forms an angle on its northern end. The field is planted in grasses at the moment though we were careful to step lightly. The point lies on nearly perfectly flat ground with the best view off to the northeast. The trees to the southeast restrict the view a bit in that direction but it was wonderful to be out on the landscape. Today was mid-to-late afternoon on a fine spring day, temperature 22 C (72 F) under very light breezes and almost perfectly clear skies. We saw no people, birds, or animals--just some vehicles on the road to the southeast of us. We were in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. We took photos and I filmed a video which I have placed on my Our Earth channel, here. I became so excited during my narrative that I completely forgot how to say the numbers and directions in Deutsch. Es tut mir leid!
I had stood on 10 East once before, 4 years ago, just 1 degree to the south, and on 54 North once before--back in 2012 on a difficult but rewarding hike in the heath hills in northern England. This was my 4th confluence point in Germany on treks extending back to 2008 and it was great to be back. It appears as though we were the first visitors of 2023 to this point, except no doubt for the local landowners. I thought about the people who had settled here over the centuries: What did they think about as they were working the fields and going about their lives? Did they have houses right here, that the centuries have erased?
En route to the vehicle, we remarked how fortunate that the point lies in this field rather than on the restricted military base to the southeast. No doubt if this point was across the road, numerous requests would have had to be made and paperwork signed. I had to admit that this was one of the easiest of my 450 or so confluence visits spanning over 23 years. I appreciated so much my colleagues' willingness to do this today and their company and long term companionship.
On the way back to Hamburg, we stopped at some asparagus fields and took photographs that we thought we could use for our future geography agriculture lessons. This was indeed an excellent way of beginning our immersive week of geotechnologies in education. Later in the day I had a wonderful walk along one of Hamburg's estuaries back to where I was lodging. I got some work done and then, as I had been awake for 48 hours, called it a day. Sehr gut!