The woman and the sea

In spring and summer they belong to Travemünde like the wave rush to the Baltic Sea and the Holsten Gate to Lübeck: the beach baskets, which are lined up along the long sandy beach like sun-seekers and offer a small temporary home right on the beach. Eight beach basket rental companies share the much loved beach area in Travemünde and invite their guests – each of them in their own special way.

Those who let their view wander over the wide beach of Travemünde in the morning experience an amazing picture: The famous beach chairs await their visitors and promise a relaxing day by the sea. But let's face it: Some baskets seem to step out of line compared to the brave tin soldiers right next door. The reception house beams in bold colours and a no less cheerfully dressed woman greets her first guests with a freshly brewed coffee. Unmistakably, this is Charlotte Seipel, 57 years old and a beach basket rental with body and soul.


"My baskets live," says Charlotte Seipel, proudly pointing to the round. Of course, every beach basket has its place. Some guests prefer to rent a basket in the very first row, but in the end " I want my guests to feel free and to be able to move their baskets and adjust their position.  Freedom is an important word for the six-time patchwork family mother and eight-time grandma. Perhaps this is why she is so tolerant of her guests and responds to their wishes with great sensitivity.

At the age of 30, Charlotte was predicted to live a life in a wheelchair, but she fought her way back into life. She knows that not everyone is so lucky and so she has beach wheelchairs ready and makes sure that handicapped guests get into the water as easily as possible. The playground at the entrance makes children's hearts beat faster and is "of course" not only open to the children of her tenants. Often Granny Seipel takes care of the children herself, reads something or takes a walk with them to the steep coast of Brodten. There she shows them "her cliffs", which she loves so much and which, with its rough, nature-shaped structure, match so wonderfully with the eventful life of the Travemünde-resident by choice.


At the age of 30, she moved here because of love and she married a member of the beach basket rental family Seipel. Today she and her husband Bernd look back on an 80-year family tradition. An anniversary, they wish to celebrate this summer. The strokes of fate, but above all the many beautiful experiences in Charlotte Seipel's life, are reflected in her open face, the awake gaze of clear blue eyes and the warm laughter that makes her facial expressions look soft and almost girly. She loves to “sugar-coat” things", says her husband, but probably this character trait helped her to overcome the difficult times in her life and to retain her wonderful cheerfulness and warmth.


"Sometimes you just have to simply do it," she laughs, and often enough her ideas resulted in new offers that are now a part of her diverse portfolio. Every now and then it is also their guests who come up with new proposals. "One day a couple from Timmendorf approached me. The woman just loved my colourful place and wanted to get married here. At first, I was sceptical, but then we just did it and everybody had a great time!" says Charlotte Seipel, recalling: "I sewed the white covers for the tables and benches myself at that time, the guests came barefoot and celebrated until 2 o'clock at night. Since then, some couples got married right here on the beach and have found their happiness. Others have met here and fell in love.

From a youthful summer love to jealousy drama, she has witnessed many soap operas and is happy when she hears that people stay in touch even after the holiday. She recalls a story: "In the 1990s, two elderly people rented with me. They were in their eighties and each of them had their own beach basket. Eventually they got into talking and realized that they knew each other from the past. I immediately felt that there was a special chemistry between the two," she smiles mischievously, then gets serious. 'They became a couple and when she died a few years later, he was devastated. He died shortly afterwards - I ‘m sure it was from a broken heart."         


A beach basket season passes by very quickly. 12-hour days in all weathers, guests from near and far, with very different backgrounds, different needs and stories. But what does a beach basket rental company actually do in winter? "Basket care!" is the clear answer. "Sewing, weaving, repairing – I love this craftsmanship in my profession". When the season starts again around Easter, the 200 or so beach chairs need to be presented again in their best shape. Of course, this is also true for Charlotte Seipel, which is why she also takes some days off.

The beach basket business is tough. Luckily, she loves her job and, above all, she loves her Baltic Sea. That’s why she can hardly wait for the day when she can "get out" again for the new season. When she talks about that moment, it sounds like she's regaining a bit of freedom with the start of the new season. "The first thing I do is take off my shoes to feel the sand. Preferably very early in the morning. Then I watch the sun slowly rise on the horizon. This is the perfect start to the day for me!"

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