Along the entire west coast of Germany lies an area known as the Wattenmeer. This is a section of the North Sea where the North Frisian Islands are located and is subject everyday to extreme tides. Every six hours the sea water moves away from the coast leaving long stretches of mud flats behind. A popular outdoor activity during the warmer months in Schleswig-Holstein is to go Wattwandern, or to walk barefoot through the mud flats.
My third host family took me Wattwandern during my final weekend with them before moving to my fourth host family, as it is something very unique to Schleswig-Holstein, and actually can only be found in this part of the world.
Our hike took around two and a half hours; we walked with a guide from mainland Germany to the tiny island of Oland [Map]. Given the environment is so unique there were many tiny creatures to spot living in the mud which our guide pointed out to us. Crabs, worms, shells and prawns were among them. Oland, the tiny German hallig [Halligen: 10 small German islands] is connected to the mainland by gauge railway and inhabitants have their own small wagons to travel in. A population of 10 or so people now live on the island, which does still have its own school, although it is no longer in use. We met an artist who grew up on the island but has since moved away.
After our walk we had coffee and cake at the café, and I may have slept away the afternoon in the warm sun. A ferry picked us up from the island and transported our tour group back to the mainland.