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Because I am probably not the only one stressing over work, here are some pictures I took when traveling around Europe (and one snuck in from Disney World) that I like to look at to make me feel better. The first one is from Rostock, Germany, the second from Walt Disney World, the third from Lübeck, Germany, and the fourth from St. Petersburg, Russia.

German Inventions: Strandkorb

Summer is right around the corner! If you are planning on spending any time on the German coast this year, you are bound to run into this week’s invention: the Strandkorb. Literally translated as “beach basket,” a Strandkorb is a large wicker seat lined with thick cushioning. In the summer, German beaches are peppered with these beach baskets, all bearing the iconic blue and white striped design on the inside cushioning. It is barely an exaggeration to say that a German beach trip is incomplete without a few hours nestled in a strandkorb.

German basket maker Wilhelm Bartelmann of Rostock, Germany is credited with inventing the strandkorb. As early as 1883 Bartelmann was renting out his baskets on the beaches of northern Germany. Soon they became a staple, all but replacing the beach towels and umbrellas favored around the world. Images of Bartelmann’s invention are synonymous with summer days in Germany. The true beach aficionado can differentiate between the northern baskets, straight baked and severe, and the eastern baskets, with a curved design. Nearly all varieties now come with amenities – compartments, drink holders, blankets – everything you need to spend the entire day at the beach!

In 2007, when Germany hosted the G8 Summit in Heiligdamm, the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern commissioned a special basket big enough to fit all eight heads of state. Since then, beach baskets have an international reputation!