Living in Berlin can devour all of your free time easily without making you notice how quickly it all flies. That how I could easily define my first three months of 2015. Especially that a lot of places still seem so new to me, or at least I still haven’t got time to become tired of them. But there were moments my soul just cried to get the hell out of the city, or at least out of its glass-and-concrete core. So I thought Easter break would be a great occasion to visit Ostsee (German name for the Baltic Sea), and in particular: Rügen Island.
Long before I’ve got to know this location due to the story of infamous Prora, a monstrous building from the Nazi-era which was planned to become seaside resort for the 3rd Reich workers. It was supposed to gather more than 250 thousands of people for the collective holidays programme, one of the pilars of the KdF policy. The building was never completely finished and for me it currently stands mostly as the monument of how ill-minded politics can lead to unfortunate architectonic actions. More information (in German) can be found in this documentary. Apparently, nowadays there are plans to refurbish the building into some holiday apartaments and a residence for the elderly. For those who rather feel like experiencing this place’s decay altogether with excellent dark kind of music, Her Damit Festival in May could be an interesting option though.
But Rügen is much more than Prora’s Monster. Actually, it is the Northernmost tip of Germany (Arcona Weather Station), famous for white-sand beaches, dating back 19th-century towns (Putbus!) and resorts (like Binz, where I decided to stay). Apart from that one can find lakes and picturesque bays within the island, hanseatic architecture and just breathtaking, hard to describe in words cliffs (those of the Jasmund National Park!). As a person who spent a great deal of her childhood on the Baltic Sea coast in Poland, where my family had always a very strong affiction to travel, it gave me a nice, familiar feeling.
The food, the look of the resorts, and finally, the specific smell of the salty and cold sea are probably the things that can’t be found on the other coasts. Even if I didn’t dare to take a plunge into the 5-degree-cold water and the aluminium-cooked herring is not comparable to the Mediterranean or Atlantic seafood, I enjoyed greatly this long weekend, reconnecting with the familiar memories in a brand new place, on the other side of the border. Given it’s not that far away from Berlin, some 3-hours-drive by bus or by the Deutsche Bahn, I am seriously considering another short weekend getaway with my bike to discover further this magic island. And the sea, which always teaches me (thank you for this phrase, Pablo Neruda!).