Kromlau in Saxony (Germany)

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February 23, 2021

Dear friend,

Germany is a very old country. Not only did it consist of over three hundred tiny states around 1800, which later became a unified state - there are countless castles, centuries-old parks and forgotten noble dynasties. Today I would like to tell you about my visit to Kromlau in Saxony, which was an exciting history course for me. My hostess was none other than the Flower Queen Tonie Jahnke, supreme monarch of a fairytale place that is home to three hundred souls.

Meow meow meow. So this trip doesn't take me that far from Cottbus.

Kromlau is a village in the Sorbian settlement area and is known for its rhododendron park, one of the largest parks in Saxony. In the year 1842 Friedrich Herrmann Rötschke began the first work on this place by digging ponds and raising hills, which he decorated with oaks. The undisputed landmark of this place is the Rakotzbrücke, which swings in a harmonious arc over the pond of the same name. Another eye-catcher is the manor house, of which little is known. According to the incomplete information, it is said to have been completely rebuilt by Karl Gottfied von Rabenau in 1806, others rumor that glittering parties were celebrated in the park, in which the couples enjoyed themselves and let off steam. So it is not surprising to meet the god Apollo on a walk, who is definitely only up to good things.

Flower Queen Tonie not only showed me her kingdom, but also exciting places around it. We visited the water tower and the tower on the heavy mountain in Weißwasser and celebrated Christmas and Carnival together. But my highlight of this trip was the visit of her neighbor, Prince Pückler. Or rather: his park in Bad Muskau, because he has been dead for a long time. Of course, many think first of the New Palace, a baroque three-wing complex in a striking red, which Pückler wanted to turn into a Muskau Acropolis, but his always tight coffers did not allow it. Others turn their attention to the park, which was laid out entirely in the Romantic style. By romanticism, I don't mean the candlelight dinner date, but an epoch of philosophy whose well-known representative was Pückler. That is why one encounters the color blue everywhere, which points to the blue flower, an important symbol. It stands for the striving for love and longing - just as romanticism means understanding the outer world through knowledge of our inner being. Architecture is therefore also a statement for your own thinking. Pückler created a whole world based on his symbols. That's why its parks are so legendary. Meow meow meow.

But when I think of this place, war and reconstruction also come to mind. Because the castle I was telling you about burned down on April 30, 1945 - at the end of the Second World War. The front line between Hitler's German Empire and Stalin's Russia ran for weeks in the Muskau Neisse Valley. Seventy percent of the city, all bridges and also the old castle fell victim to the war. It was all 75 years ago, but we should remind ourselves how vulnerable the things we love are when they succumb to violence. Nothing in life can be guaranteed, especially not something as banal as peace. The New Palace was rebuilt in 2013 and proves that it is worth creating instead of destroying. Today is tomorrow yesterday - it's in our hands.

Now back to Tonie's Queen's Kingdom, because that's what my report is about: The district of Kromlau is a typical line village that lies on the edge of an Ice Age moraine landscape, the Muskau folds. The place name is derived either from the Sorbian "chrony law", which means something like crooked, crooked hunt or Ackermark, or from "Kroma", which can be translated as "on the edge". Until the beginning of the 20th century, the residents lived mainly from agriculture and forestry, later they found work in mining or in the glass industry. Today the district of Kromlau is a very popular destination for tourists from near and far.

But who is Tonie now, you ask yourself? Because just as exciting as my journey is the person behind the person who is known as the Kromlau Flower Queen. Because behind all the beautiful clothes and their dedication to their homeland is hard work. I was honored to watch her over her shoulder for a few days because we queens need to use the time to learn from one another. Her precious wardrobe alone devours hours which she spends setting fabrics with stones and creating garments from them. Meow meow meow. Thank god I was there to help. It is precisely the small details that often shape the overall impression. Tonie also has an office in the Hafenstube in Weißwasser, from which she manages her kingdom and creates her campaign - with photos, videos and social media. She is studying culture in order to turn her passion into a profession. She is a perfectionist with body and soul. Turning this sometimes cold world into a kingdom is an art. And Tonie is an artist.

The amount of snow that has trickled down onto little Kromlau in the past few weeks doesn't hide my memories. In a place steeped in history I met a modern person who loves his homeland and likes to share it with others. On my travels so far, I have not only experienced beautiful places, but also loving hosts who have become my friends. What could be nicer than the feeling of being welcome anywhere in the world?

With that I leave my best regards from Tonie from Kromlau. My next stop is Greece.

Greetings, Queen Gondula.