The woman and the sea

Beach chairs belong to Travemünde like the sound of the waves belongs to the Baltic Sea and the Holsten Gate to Lübeck: They line up along the long sandy beach and make a temporary home for the locals and their guests.

Seven beach chair lessors share the popular area in Travemünde and invite their guests in their own individual way. Those who gaze over the wide beach of Travemünde in the morning hours will experience a delightful view: Neat and in rank and file the famous beach chairs await their guests and promise a relaxed day by the sea. But wait a moment: Some of the chairs seem to march to a different sound unlike all the other well-behaved tin soldiers. The rental hut shines in bright colours and a no less colourfully dressed woman greets her first guests with a freshly brewed coffee. Unmistakably, that is Charlotte Seipel, 57 years of age and a beach chair lessor with heart and soul.

My guests put them into the right position

"My chairs are alive", Charlotte Seipel says while proudly pointing into the round. Of course every beach chair has its own spot and there is the very popular first row, but "my guests put them into the right position". Freedom is an important word for the sextuple mother and eightfold grandmother. Maybe that's why she is presenting herself that tolerant with her guests and pays attention to their wishes and needs in such a sensitive way. Motivated by love she moved to Travemünde at the age of 30 and married into the beach chair rental family Seipel. Nowadays she and her husband Bernd can look back upon an 80-year-old family tradition.

"Sometimes one simply has to do things differently", she laughs and often enough that resulted in new distribution channels which belong to her portfolio today and make her job even more multifaceted. Every now and then it's also her guests who inspire her for new ideas. "One day a couple from Timmendorf came to the beach to see me. The woman was in love with my colours and wanted to get married here. I was a little sceptical at first but then we simply did it and it was wonderful", Charlotte Seipel says.

That's how a beach chair season ends quickly: 12-hour-days in all weathers, guests from near and far, from every background, with different needs and stories. But what does a beach chair lessor do in winter? "Chaircare!" is the clear answer. "When the season starts again around Easter, the 200 beach chairs have to present themselves in top condition." When she talks about the season start it sounds as if she would gain a little bit of her freedom back. "The first thing I do is taking my shoes off and become acquainted with my area. Preferably very early in the morning. Then I watch how the sun slowly rises at the horizon. That's the perfect start of the day for me. Now the guests can come!"