Day 13: Dykes and Divas in Darss

This tour was one of the most beautiful we’ve done so far. The area, a peninsula on the mainland, is called Darss (Darsser Ort). It has a wonderful National Park (Vorpommersche Boddenland), which, apparently, due to a very dynamic sedimentation process, grows by ten metres every year! Bet Holland would like this! Darss is also an old Slavic name roughly meaning ‘Briar’. Yep, thorns and other prickly things! The peninsula is also connected to the mainland by the two Meiningen bridges, situated next to one another, one older (ca. 1908), and the newer one, built in the 1980’s. The fascinating part is that the older one is a pivot bridge, and the other one a bascule bridge, or simply said, a drawbridge. As we approached the crossing, bells started ringing and red lights were flashing, which meant that a ship was on its way. Well, it was actually a boat, but nevertheless, we still had to stop. It was interesting though, to see the bridges moving, making way for the little man and his fishing boat.

Pier in Prerow - Peninsula DarssPier in Prerow. This little town was the starting point of our long walk to the nature reserve, and used to be known, long long looong ago, as the Majorca of East Germany. And sssshhhhh!…it also has one of the largest nude beaches in Germany.

Prerow Beach…there were quite a few children trying to fly their kites. It was very windy, but one or two managed to soar up in the air. Nooo, not the children…tsk…tsk… 😄  Whoosh! but the wind was really strong. The picture on the right is just amazing. Woman, man, dog. All lined up behind one another, with the boat adding a little oomph to this pic. A good eye, a better instinct, and snap! the right moment is captured. Priceless!

Birds…Birds…Busy birds! There were so many and they were all so tiny! The birdie amateur thought they were ‘aaah-oh-how-cute’ babies. The cameraman nearly dropped his jaw onto his zoom lens. They are Stints (Calidris minuta) and Dunlins (Calidris alpina), he patiently explained, looking at me over his glasses. Oh, and over there are Sandpipers. Okaaaay! Whateverrrrr. 😝  They were still cute. We were now on the northern coastal part of Darss.

   Dig. Dig. Nibble. Nibble. And what do you know, a seagull too! (right)

The Ruddy Turnstone. Yep, that’s what it’s called. Nope, this is not a biology lesson…

Nationalpark Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft - Nordstrand von Darß

That’s what’s so wonderful about nature. Even in the middle of nothing, flowers can grow.

The wonderful coastal area of the nature reserve. The weather was not so great, even raining a bit, but that did not spoil anything for us. It is a very quiet and almost serene area, and, as captured in these stunning pictures, sand and water as far as the eye can see. Almost like clouds meets land…

Ostseehalbinsel Darß - Hafen am Ottosee

The tiny little harbour of Ottersee, with a wooden bridge, which we had to cross. Shiver-shiver-shake! There were NO railings on either side, so it was almost like walking on a tightrope…Oooohhhrrrrrrrr…

…after safely ‘landing’ on the other side of the wooden bridge, we entered the protected area of the national park. This wooden ‘runway’ is one of many, and it serves as a secure walkway, because the ground is very soft and mostly mushy and wet. We also heard and saw quite a few deers. Some were also fighting! Like divas protecting their territory…  😌

Strand an der Ostseehalbinsel Darß

…another brilliant picture of the coast, with a washed up log, all by its lonesome self…We also looked for the famous amber stones, to no avail…again…

…here another example of how nature works. This tree is almost dead, yet a beautiful flower still manages to grow in it…All together now. Aaaahhhhh!Harzgewinnung zu DDR-Zeiten - Ostseehalbinsel Darß…and then comes man…Almost all the trees in the park have these ‘patterns’. During the East German (DDR) reign, they were periodically milked for their resin. What a shame…

Villa in Prerow - Ostseehalbinsel Darß

A lovely villa which we saw on our way back to Prerow. From here on we walked all the way on a paved dyke, with the tree-lined coast to the left, and lots of cute little houses on the right…

Boats and ….boats…We were driving back home, when we spontaneously decided to do the boat thing in Prerow…a boat tour specially to see the cranes…We were glad we did! It was quite chilly though, but that was solved by drinking HOT ‘Sanddorn’ juice, and a hot chocolate with lots of cream and something Russian…or was it Jamaican…Whichever. It was toasty!  ☺️  The one on the left was our boat, and the one on the right was a Mississippi steam boat which we encountered on the way…The boat sails on the Prerow river right up to the Meiningen Bridge, then anchors for an hour or more, until most of the cranes have flown by, or until the sun sets completely, whichever comes first…If you do not want to go by boat, parking near the bridge is possible. Get there early, as parking spaces are limited,  and it gets really full.

Graugänse bei Prerow vom Boot aus

…many many grey geese which we saw from the boat…

…and then the best part…Cranes, cranes everywhere. There must have been thousands of them flying over our heads, all returning to their resting ‘quarters’ for the night. Wow! Awesome. Incredible. Marvellous. If you look closer, you can see two of them bumping into one another. Crash bang birdies! No, they did not fall down, and with so many birds flying overhead, nor did any of their ‘droppings’ fall on our heads…or open-mouthed faces 😝

…see this breathtaking view of the starting nightfall, with the noisy cranes overhead…

“There’s never one sunrise the same, or one sunset the same” Carlos Santana

Our wish for you is that the sunsets in your life be always as beautiful as this. As the day comes to an end, the stars start to glisten brightly, and the moon shows its shiny face. Aah, how wondrous it is, knowing that the day has ended as colourful as the dawning of a new day promises to be. Yes, with new hopes and happy dreams. Smile. I know we are 😊

Day 6: …what old bones????

Pension Ingeborg in Sellin - Rügen            Houses in Sellin - Island of Rügen

Another day, another hiking tour! Uhm, yes, we ARE on holiday…hee…heee…We visited a sea-side resort called Sellin. This is one of three or four resorts situated on the supposedly best part of the island, for those seeking soft sandy beaches. Sellin has quite a lot of these splendid houses and villas, which are mostly hotels, or holiday homes/appartments…

Seebrücke in Sellin auf Rügen - Pier in SellinAfter admiring the lovely architecture, we visited this amazing pier, the longest on Rügen, which also houses a restuarant. Right at the end of the pier, there’s an underwater capsule where one can see the bottom of the sea. It does not go very deep though…

Seebrücke in Sellin auf Rügen - Pier in Sellin…side view of the pier again, showing how long it really is…

An der Seebrücke in Sellin auf Rügen - At the Pier in Sellin…the side of the pier, showing the many wicker basket beach chairs (Strandkörbe)…

View from the platform towards the main street in Sellin - Rügen…view from the platform towards the main street in Sellin. The villa up there is a hotel, with a lovely serene garden…and look at the sun worshipper in the foreground!

Blick von der Seebrücke in Sellin - Insel Rügen…another view from the pier, towards the Falkenberg at the tip, and the lush nature reserve. The next part of our walk…See too the seagulls enjoying the sunshine…

Seebrücke in Sellin - Insel Rügen…our walk on the beach, with the pier in the background…There again, stones, but also soft sand…

Am Strand in Sellin - Insel RügenBeach baby! If the bikini was in the bag, there might have been some dipping done…in the freezing water, with lots and lots of hungry jellyfish…Yeah, right! NEVER-EVER…

Wanderung von Sellin zum Schwarzen See - Blick vom Falkenberg - Rügen…on our way through the forest, going to “Schwarzer See” (Black lake)…view from Falkenberg onto the coast and beyond…

NSG Granitz Teilfläche "Schwarzer See" (15 m tiefer Kesselsee) - RügenSchwarzer See (Black lake). It’s a fifteen metre deep caldera lake. It was dark looking, only in part black, and quite peaceful. We paused over here, trying our best not to share an apple with a very greedy wasp!

Wald am Schwarzen See - Insel Rügen…the forest at Schwarzer See. This area is quite popular with hikers and cyclists. Busy!

Schmalspurbahn "Rasender Roland" - Insel RügenRasender Roland. (Rushing Roland). We saw this on our way back from Sellin. Roland is a historic steam train running between the towns of Putbus and Göhren. An amazing sight. For some of us this used to be ‘normal’ public transport back in the day…Showing our age now are we? Wink-wink.

Schmalspurbahn "Rasender Roland" - Insel RügenWatch out! Steaming Choo-choo coming!

Kraniche bei unserem Ferienhaus - Cranes on a field - island of RügenWhen we approached our holiday home, an amazing sight awaited us. Cranes everywhere, and nearly on our doorstep. You see, being in the middle of nowhere has its advantages!

Kraniche bei unserem Ferienhaus - Flying cranes - Island of RügenHere they were going to their resting place for the night, on Ummanz. A very noisy fly-over right over our heads…Wonderful!!!!

Day 1: Arrived! Where??

After a stopover in Berlin, we arrived in the somewhat windy, yet sunny, island of Rügen. It is one of the many islands that Germany has. Yes, Germany has islands! That also means that one has to travel from the mainland, from Stralsund to be exact, over a very HIGH bridge, which for some people could be scary. Rollercoaster scary. A very fitting start to our much needed holiday. As the sign above says, we were ready for the funny farm…uhm…island. The island of delightful pleasure…Welcome!

This is our house for the next fifteen days. Centrally situated. When I mean central, it’s not near anything or anywhere. I mean it’s smack right in the middle of a lot of farmland, as far as the eye can see. Beautiful! Quiet! and uhm…well…central…

After doing the usual checks of the house interior (toilets flushing, hot water working, HEATING), we explored the big, football field big, garden. To our amazement, there were many of these black topped mushrooms, just waiting to be eaten. Okay, so we were quite hungry by this time, but eat them? No way! Or maybe?? Hmmm…The caretaker mowed them down the next day anyway, so dilemma solved.

After exploring our surroundings, we decided to go farther afield to see what lies beyond farmfield one, farmfield two, fields, fields and lots of fields…A few driving minutes away, we stumbled upon these wonderful cranes. What a sight! Of course it is not possible to go too near to them, as they are very shy, and at the slightest movement or noise (in other words, humans) they will simply all just fly away. It helps to have a car with good brakes, as you find that you mostly have to screetch to a halt, because the passenger excitedly screams LOOK and the driver shouts WHERE! Screeeeetch!!! Most of all though, a camera with a zoom lens is a must. Nope, not one of those eeny weeny digital ones, a 100-400mm zoom lens. Please notice on the photo on the right that there is a youngster among the two that have just landed. Amazing, not so?

After ooh-ing and aah-ing, in silence, at the cranes, and after thousands of photos (okay, only hundreds) (oh, okay, only a few), we drove over to the island of Ummanz. Yes, another bridge. This one is between the village of Mursewiek and Waase. It is only 250 meters long. No rollercoaster! As you can see, the absolutely best sunset ever, taken from the harbour of Waase! More oohs and aahs, with the volume turned up! Spectacular does not even decribe it. IT WAS AMAZING! After all this excitement, our tummy’s were starting to growl. How convenient that there was a fish restaurant right on this small harbour. Yummy! Fresh fish! We had a platter for two with FOUR different kinds of fish. Washing that down with some refreshing white wine rounded up a wonderful and exciting first day.