You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

#EnjoyGermanNature: Lüneburg Heath during a summertime visit

In love with “The North”.

“Are you still?”, a friend of mine asks me on Facebook, teasing me about my recent emotions from travelling to the North Sea as well as Lüneburg Heath. “Yes”, I answer with a sigh, happily boarding the so-called “Heidesprinter erixx” train in a town called Buchholz. That’s way out in the countryside, located right in the middle of the city triangle Hamburg, Hannover and Bremen. I love train travelling. It is nice, easy, smooth, sustainable, and fits the ethos of my trip #EnjoyGermanNature.

Ankommen, aufatmen: Blick auf die Weite der Lüneburger Heide sowie hier das Pietzmoor bei Schneverdingen.

Arrive, revive: Taking a fresh look at the landscape of northern Germany, near Schneverdingen.


Moreover, my local host Christian Glet happily lends his pretty bike, a bike which has no gears in this almost completely flat landscape of Northern Germany.

Well, it is what it is, I am left thinking, breaking into a slight sweat by making my way “uphill” (a little hill, but still). But it all compensates stopping here, because look what I found !!

Schmuckes Fahrrad: Unterwegs zur Farbenpracht in der Lüneburger Heide, hier an der Telefon-Bücherzelle von Schneverdingen!

My super cool bike has taken me to this famous local photo spot, a painted old telephone box turned book exchange!


“Did you know that the nature park Lüneburg Heath is the first, state-owned nature protection area of Germany and that the ‘local association for the protection of nature’ here has been founded at the same time as the Hohe Tauern national park in Austria? It all happened back in 1910, when some wealthy people thought, we must protect this exceptional landscape. At the same time, the national park movement had started in the US and people thought, if the Americans can do it, we can do it just as well here in Germany!” Always interesting, learning more about the course of history up until today, plus the connection to my own home country Austria, of course. Listening in on the explanations provided by my heath experts Jan Brockmann as well as local nature guide Jutta, I learn a lot about the context of this fascinating heath.

Jutta mit uns auf dem Weg zur Ergründung des Pietzmoor - geschichtlich, kulturell und natürlich ...

Jutta takes us right into the so-called Pietzmoor, at the heart of Lüneburg Heath nature park …


... lernen wir hier alles ...

… where we spend a happy morning learning …


... Wissenswerte rund um Erhalt & Zusammenhalt im natürlichen Gefüge des Moores, wie der genaue Blicke auf diesen Sonnentau hier zeigt.

… things about the local fauna & flora, such as this sundew here.


Moor, ich steh auf Dich bzw. Dir ...!

Getting touchy-feely with the heath soil …!


Vor allem aber angetan hat es mir die bunte, vielfältige Tierwelt des Moores die wir hier ganz genau zu Gesicht bekommen ...

And especially, those beautiful animals living here …


... ganz genau wirklich.

… right up close.


Auch der Blick ins offene Moor gibt Preis, wie sehr hier früher Torf gestochen und von der Landbevölkerung verarbeitet wurde.

Today, the view is one of peace and serenity. In earlier times, people worked the soil here to collect firing materials for winter.



We walk along historic trails …


... schön zu sehen, wie viel Engagement hier in Sachen Naturschutz von der lokalen Bevölkerung ausgeht!

… thank you, Jutta & team, for so much passion in teaching us about the heath park that day!


The same passion runs through the Schäferhof hotel, right at the edge of the Pietzmoor heath. It all comes together here: Rest, peace, nature, great food & hospitality.

I still remember Christian Glet and his warm-hearted laughter. “Hallo Frau Paschinger ..”, he keeps addressing me in his cheerful voice every time our paths cross at his Schäferhof nature hotel, asking me what else he might be able to do for me. And yes, that’s partly how he ended up lending me his bike in order to go and see the famous “Heidschnucken“, a local type of sheep breed that loves eating the grass and bushes around the rather poor soils of the heath. Lovely. Let me show you where all the magic takes place …


… right here within the “natural triangle” between Bremen, Hamburg & Hannover, the beautiful nature reserve Lüneburg Heath.

Meine Ankunft im wahrlich naturbelassenen "Schäferhof" (Nomen est Omen) ...

My arrival at the “Schäferhof” hotel (shepherd’s place = Nomen est Omen) …


... gestaltet sich gemütlich vorzüglich. Die Natur setzt sich auch in der Zimmergestaltung fort, hier habe ich mich wirklich gerne aufgehalten und herrlich geschlafen ...

… is like an extension of being surrounded by nature …


... und Natur ganz nahe gibt es auch gleich direkt vor dem Fenster bzw. der Zimmerterrasse.

… with nature getting up to greet you beautifully in the morning.


Von Morgens bis Abends, ein Haus zum Wohlfühlen ...

Love the breakfast around here …


... dazu gehört auch die köstliche Kulinarik im Haus; das Restaurant mit seinem famosen Heidschnucken-Braten ist bis weit über die Grenzen der unmittelbaren Region hinaus bekannt.

… as well as the meals in the restaurant, tasting the famous sheep roast on my plate (yes ..!).


Next time you visit, don’t miss a nature tour with heath ranger Jan Brockmann, who seems to know his heath park inside out.

“After thorough examination, we confirm that Elena has approved mastering “Schnucken” sheep, blackcocks and “Heidjern”! Signed: Jan Brockmann. Heath Ranger (c).”

Beaming with delight, and some pride, I am taking my heath diploma, certifying my new knowledge after touring with Jan the heath park ranger. Very nice. I now know, for instance, to distinguish one flower heath from another, know the particularities of the local sheep breed called “Heidschnucken” (and where the funny name comes from, in German), why the local honey is so good and tasty, and how its historic roots came about. Off we go exploring Niederhaverbeck …

Der überaus belesene und engagierte Diplom-Biologe Jan Blockmann ist mit mir in der Lüneburger Heide unterwegs ...

… together with Jan Brockmann and his passion for showing me around his “home yard” …


... und bringt mir neben Geschichte & Geologie der Heide auch einiges über das Wunder der aktuellen Glockenheide-Blüte bei ...

… Lüneburg heath and its many flowers, plants and interesting facts about the local area history and geology.


Auch Tierstimmen - Vogelstimmen! - hat er auf seinem Handy gespeichert und kann sie jederzeit abrufen ...

He even has animal (bird) voices saved on his phone that he shares with me …


... und stolz auf die Heide sind sie hier wohl alle!

… and proud what they rightly claim to be, calling their honey “Heath Pride”. At Schäferhof hotel, I get to taste it every morning – delightful.


Ebenfalls sehr interessant: Art und Weise der früheren Bauernhäuser ...

An interesting look at how traditional farming houses look like in the area …


... und schließlich und letztendlich sind sie hier nun, die berühmten "Heidschnucken".

… and here they, are, finally: The cute little “Heidschnucken” sheep.


... mitunter gemischt mit kleinen Ziegenherden, doch schon mal gut und gerne mehrere Hundert Tiere umfassend ...

… sometimes mixed with goat and always in the three or four hundred animals herded together. They are among the few sheep races that “enjoy” eating from the heath grassland poor in nutrients …


... ein Blick in die Vergangenheit, eigentlich. Der Schäfer und seine Herde .. nur Stock, Rucksack und Kleidung sind etwas moderner geworden.!

… a photo that has us time travel, really – only backpack and trouser material of this shepherd tell something about the 21st century.!


Check out my travel video to the North Sea as well as Lüneburg Heath Nature Park, whisking you away and right into the beautiful natural landscapes of Germany:


… more of those travel photographs are collected here:

Disclaimer: I have been invited by the German National Tourist Board to ” #EnjoyGermanNature ” on this nature trip to Lower Saxony. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

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Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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