Thursday we took the train north from Berlin to the island of Rügen, about a 4 hr trip with the Regional Express. We passed by lots of farms and fields, a few sheep and cows, and lots of pretty wildflowers—poppies and little blue flowers. Rügen is a large island off the coast of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, on the Baltic Sea coast. After arrival in the harbor town of Sassnitz, we rented bikes and biked about 14km to the former resort Prora, and then further to Binz, the biggest resort town, where we took a break for a Fischbrötchen (fish sandwich, with herring). In the early 1900s this area was popular among wealthy vacationers, profiting from the sea air. Some of the architecture is from this time, or the 20s and 30s.
In the 1930s, the National Socialists started building a huge resort in Prora, as part of their program of “Kraft durch Freude,” or “strength through joy,” trying to make vacation affordable for the average family, and not just a privilege of the wealthy. They planned a monumental-scale building to house 20,000 guests. The project was never finished, but at the end of the war the buildings were used to shelter refugees from bombed-out Hamburg and then later refugees from the East. Today part of it is a youth hostel and the rest is just a half-ruined building.
The bike ride was really fun. The landscape changed between sandy dunes (have you ever tried to bike on sand before by the way? not fun), pine forests, fields of wheat…it was beautiful. Along the coasts you could smell the pine and hear the crashing waves. Sensory overload!
After our 30+ km bike ride we dropped off the bikes and walked down to the row of restaurants on the water in Sassnitz. We ate at a great fish restaurant, local herring and cod. Things were pretty quiet around the town in the evening. It’s a small town and things close early – a different pace of life from Berlin!
|eating Fischbrötchen! with herring!|
|dad helping mom de-bone her herring :)|