February 28th, 2010


Winter @ Rügen

Janine and I did a short trip to Rügen last weekend and we are still overwhelmed by the winterly landscape that we thought to only know from fairy tails. Rügen is the largest island in Germany but it's part of the former East of Germany and I actually know of stubborn western Germans who refuse to have even heard of it, so I feel the urge to supply a short preamble.

Rügen is located in the North East of Germany and is the summer holiday paradise of Germany at the Baltic Sea: Long sand beaches, exceptional landscapes such as the famous chalk cliffs and, of course, the Baltic Sea itself.

So why go there in winter? Frozen beaches and ice cold sea? Well.. winter is of course low season in Rügen and while it's full of tourists during summer, in February you have it all for yourself. We found a nice offer at Panorama Hotel Lohme where for little money we had a room for two nights with wine, a fruit platter and an exquisite 4-course menu on Saturday all included. Apart from that we didn't expect much, all we wanted to do was relax and get away from home for a few days.

Of course we had heard that the northern parts of Germany had been troubled more than the rest of us with extreme snow conditions but we didn't include that in our expectations, probably because the weather was warming up already and we had gotten used to all the snow in Berlin which had been omnipresent ever since the end of december. Also, as I said, Rügen is the summer holiday paradise.. you just don't expect snow and ice there. Stupid, I know, but you just don't.

So we got there last Friday and we were stunned: 3 meter high snowbanks next to the streets and ice floes on the Baltic Sea.

On Saturday we did a 4 km walk from the hotel to the Königsstuhl, which is the largest of the above mentioned chalk cliffs. During that walk we were basically accompanied by a herd of deer. For hours. That's where the fairy tail impression comes to play. The woods, the snow, the deer... I felt like that's a once in a lifetime experience, at least for someone living in a city in Germany. ;-)

So here are some impressions of the winterly Baltic Sea and the chalk cliffs...

... and the beach...

... and ducks at the Wittower ferry ...

(you may click the pictures to enlarge)