The Sunny German Seaside
When you think of Germany, images of castles, mountains, beer, bratwurst and pretzels probably come into your head; you rarely think of beaches. A lot of Germany is surrounded by land, in fact three sides have only land borders and even the coast on the northern border is interrupted where pesky Denmark is attached to it. So it’s not surprising that sandcastles and Germany don’t seem connected in the brain.
It was time to see if we could make that connection with a couple of stops on the Baltic Sea, or as it is known in Germany the Ostsee (East Sea). Our first stop was in the small town of Rerik. We stayed in a great little campground that had fantastic facilities that allowed us and all our dirty laundry to become clean and sparkly again.
It was pretty close to the shore and we could walk along a cliff top into the small town of Rerik and enjoy the beautiful coast. Our good weather vibes returned and it was perfect seaside weather. Just like I mentioned in our last post, the nudists were out and about again on the beach. We were a little concerned about sunburn but they seemed less worried.
Rerik is tiny but pretty and on the Saturday evening they had a festival with a fantastic bonfire and a shanty choir singing old sailor songs. Very oddly, half way through their act they brought on a drag queen who sang a few tunes. Sometimes I think I will never understand Germany.
We took the opportunity to cycle along the coast to the larger resort town on Kühlungsborn. It was a fabulous ride with stunning views and, just as in The Netherlands, the cycle paths here are fantastic. The town is pristine with long sandy beaches filled with the signature beach chairs that you see all along the Baltic coast called Strandkörbe. We cycled past gorgeous villas all along the seafront that are now guesthouses and hotels.
We stayed a few extra days in Rerik as we liked it so much, then we moved on further east to Rügen. Rügen is Germany’s largest island, linked to the mainland by a bridge spanning the 2 km of water that separates from the city of Straslund.
We stayed in a charming motorhome park in Prora, near the city of Binz. Prora is quite the place; did we ever imagine we would be visiting a former Nazi holiday camp? I can’t say it was on our bucket list. The incredible 4.5 km building complex, one of the longest in the world, was part of the Kraft durch Freude (KdF) or Strength Through Joy program. Hitler envisioned it as a massive resort, the "most mighty and large one to ever have existed", that would accommodate 20,000 tourists and bring tourism to the masses and indoctrinate them all at the same time. It was never finished due to the outbreak of WWII. It is truly, truly massive and now it is being turned into luxury apartments and swanky hotels. Go figure!
The nearby town of Binz is another immaculate resort area. beautiful sandy beaches, lovely promenade with restaurants and snack bars selling seafood, beautiful buildings - and yes lots more nudists. I’d like to say we are getting used to them - but I think our Britishness is too ingrained. We were still enjoying perfect weather and had sweeping views across the island from the town to the Jasmund National Park, and the well-know chalk cliffs of Königsstuhl (King's Chair). This was as much as we saw of the park as we unsuccessfully tried to cycle there and ended up running out of cycle path and stopping to eat cake instead. Bad Cyclists! We took a slightly more curated nature experience at the Naturerbe Zentrum which is very close to the campsite. There is a fun tree canopy walk and a spectacular 360 degree views of the island from the 82 meter Eagle’s Nest look out tower.
Once again, in this incredible summer of 2018, we enjoyed a lot of sunshine and warm September weather while we explored the German Baltic coast. But seeing the calendar advance reminded us that we shouldn’t push our luck too much and that maybe we were as far north and east as we were going to get this summer, it was time to turn around. Variety is the spice of life and so what could be more different from idyllic peaceful beaches - next stop Germany’s capital city - Berlin!