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 12: Aufhübschen in Binz (primping and preening in Binz…)

Willkommen im Seebad Binz - Insel RügenWe did not hike today. Surprise. Surprise. The weather was so-la-la, so we decided to visit the largest of the four Baltic sea-side resorts, Binz. It has quite an unusual setting. It faces a lovely long beach with quite soft white sand on the Prorer Wiek (Prorer bay) and at the back there’s a big lake called the Schmachter See, which is quite shallow. Yes, Binz is sort of squeezed in-between two water bodies. The resort is also not too far away from Sellin (see our post on Day 6) and boasts a similar architecture of villas and houses. Although, personally, it lacked the charm of Sellin. Too touristy…

Bimmelbahn im Seebad Binz - Insel RügenAs is typical for most resorts, here is one of the many choo-choo shuttle services which starts at the pier and drives through the town. Don’t expect a steaming chimney or loud toot-toot whistling, as they are tourist trains, quiet, for weary legs, for snapshots, for excited kiddies, or just for fun. They also have rubber tyres. More vroom-vroom than choo-choo. There’s also one called the Hunting Lodge Express, which takes you right up to the historical Granitz Hunting Lodge (Jagdschloss Granitz) which is not far away. Alternatively, there’s also a blue Bäderbahn (Resort train, also with tyres!) for other destinations within the town. AND…for a REAL choo-choo experience, you can also hop onto the Rushing Roland (Rasender Roland) which has a stop in Binz.

Sandcastle in Binz - Island of Rügen                                    Sanddorn's im Seebad Binz - Insel Rügen

…a real sandcastle! For the third time now, the Rügen island is hosting a big international Sand Sculpure Festival (31.03-04.11), currently in Binz. This year’s festival theme is European fairy tales. On the right is a quaint little shop selling products made ONLY from Sanddorn berries. Amazing to see the variety of jams, drinks, cosmetic articles and and and…We bought a few stuff, but only those mixed with sugar and cream. As we’ve said before, Sanddorn is SOUR. Gurrrrhhrrr…

Seebrücke im Seebad Binz - Insel Rügen

The Pier. Here you can embark on a ship and take an excursion along the chalk coastline, to Kap Arkona (Cape Arkona), or to the other Baltic Seaside Resorts. We sat in a ‘rustic’ little hut right on the beach, and ate a delicious Currywurst (Curry Sausage) with fries, and enjoyed this view. Yummy!

Kurhaus (Hotel ) im Seebad Binz - Insel Rügen           Kurhaus (Hotel) im Seebad Binz - Insel Rügen

The Kurhaus (Spa house) situated directly on the promenade, and near the pier, was opened in July 1890. Unfortunately it burnt completely down in 1906. It was reconstructed a year later, but this time built with bricks! The original building was a Fachwerkhaus (half-timbered house). Lots of wood! It is now a hotel, but purposely with no star ratings. It used to hold a 5-star superior hotel rating, but they gave this up in 2012. Apparently the service will still remain top class, as always.

…a very elegant sea gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), primped and preened… 😉

Aufhübschzone im Seebad Bin - Insel Rügen

…tantalizing titivation’s?? The sign roughly says that this shop is a  ‘primp and preen zone’ Uhmm! Oh okaaaay…we believe you!

Camera packed away…rucksacks stowed in the boot…

We left Binz then headed off towards the Jasmund National Park. Noooo, not to hike, but to go SWIMMING! Not the ‘oopsy-daisy-that-wave-got-me-wet-again’ shore-line adventure paddling, but dipping into a warm smallish indoor swimming pool. There’s also an outdoor pool, but at this time of the year you have to be really brrr-brave to want to swim in that. Well, we did!! After a few shivering minutes we rushed into the sauna. There are many types to choose from, dry heat, wet heat, cannot breathe heat.  We did a few sessions in some of them, the shortest stay being in a steaming hot ‘now-I-am-fried’ rose perfumed cabin. Understandably we jumped back into the pool, and decided that we had no need to test the fitness area, nor to get a massage. Too much oilies…So we plopped ourselves on the deck chairs, and promptly fell asleep, with our wet togs still clinging onto our ‘curves’. Not so comfy, but worth it for a short snoozle. This complex, by the way, is called the  Jasmar or Jasmunder SPA (Jasmar Therme).

Another highlight was that the passenger was FINALLY allowed to drive! After adjusting the seat from long legs to shorty legs, and stretching the neck so as to be able to see over the bonnet, we bunny hopped out of the parking lot and made our way home, and arrived safely too. A wonderful end to a wonderful day! Sigh. Contented sigh!

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!!!!