This is a 13-day, 467 mile, 752 kilometer, tour of
Northern Germany's Baltic Coast. The bikeline guidebook claims
the length is 511 miles or 823 kilometers in length, however, we cut off
the two islands, Fehmarn and Rügen, so our distance is less. We did ride
the Island Rügen later.
We rode the portion from Flensburg to Lübeck of this tour in May 2004 and
the portion from Lübeck to Ahlbec in June 2006.
We start at Flensburg near the border with Denmark and end on Usedom
Island near the German/Polish border. The Germans call this body of water
the Ost See or Ostsee but in English we know it as the
Baltic Sea. Maxa and I split this tour into two parts, Flensburg to Lübeck
and Lübeck to Ahlbeck on Usedom Island. During the second part of the tour,
you will be in the former East Germany. The path conditions in the east
can include what the Germans call Plattenweg. Plattenweg
translates to "plate path" and is usually made of three-meter
by one-meter concrete plates laid horizontal to the direction of travel.
They can jar your fillings out. For all path conditions we encounter in
Germany, see our page on the subject.
During the Middle Ages, many
of the larger established communities along the Baltic (and the North Sea
as well) belonged to the
Hanseatic League*. The Hanse (pronounced "han'-say"
in English but "Hänze" (han-zah) in German) was an economic
alliance of merchants who established a near monopoly on the trade of many
important commodities in northern Europe. Have you never heard of it? OK,
but you have heard of Lufthansa. That name comes from the German word for "air"
or Luft and the word Hanse pronounced in the German way.
Early on, Lübeck became the seat of the Hanse. The Hanse lasted nearly
400 years, between about 1270 and 1650. They assessed and collected taxes
on trade and had the power to enforce their tax laws and trade rules. They
became so powerful in their heydays that they could embargo whole countries
(actually, countries back then were more accurately called kingdoms or dukedoms).
The purpose of the league was solely economic although they did declare
war on Denmark and later Holland. They were also instrumental in helping
one English King fight another in England’s War of the Roses by loaning
money to King Edward IV. Therefore, they carried a lot of sway on the Baltic
and neighboring countries. Originally, the league comprised Wend towns and
cities. The name Wend is used to identify a large conglomeration of Slavic
tribes who, during the 5th Century populated the area between the Oder and
Elbe rivers. Their area extended along the Baltic from Lübeck into Finland.
Historically, they have also been referred to as the Vandal Tribe but today
the Wend descendants are typically called Sorbs. To clarify, the population
of Northern Germany today descends from other tribes as well partly due
to the efforts of the Teutonic Knights and their effort to Christianize
or kill non-believers.
The Hanse merchants became wealthy. They built large buildings in which
to conduct their trade and store their goods. Many examples of these grand
buildings from the 14th and 15th Centuries still exist in the former Hanse
Signage is not the best on this tour. At the beginning of the tour, we find
the many signs weathered to the point of being unreadable. One can recognize
that these are the path signs because of the distinctive white on light
blue “Ost See” logo. However, knowing which direction one should
ride can be a wild [insert a body part here] guess. Unfortunately, there
are long stretches without these signs but there are plenty of other bike
path signs showing the direction toward named towns or cities. Just keep
your next goal in your mind and you will have no trouble finding your way.
For one example, east of Travemünde, the signs change to “Ostsee Radfernweg”
(translation; Baltic Long Distance Bike Path) for a while. Path signage
is normally the responsibility of a local authority and not all local authorities
march to the same drum beat.
We had no trouble finding
overnight accommodation along the way. As usual, we had reservations for
our first night in Flensburg. Thereafter, we just waited until we got tired
of cycling and then we called some of the suggestions from the list in the
back of our bikeline guidebook. As a choice, we like Zimmer
(advertised as Zimmer Frei) but there are also Gasthäuser
(Guest Houses), Pensionen (pensions or bed and breakfasts),
Jugendherbergen (Youth Hostels), and hotels. For a complete discussion
of the different types of accommodations and tips on reservations, see my
Overnight Accommodations page.
The average cost per night for the Zimmer will be about €50 for double
occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one night) but they vary between
€40 and €60 (price is no indication of quality - it only reflects local
There are several fun places along
this route. Our list will probably be different than yours so do not hesitate
to explore. Definitely spend time in Flensburg, especially the harbor district.
We also stopped at the Schloss (palace) at Glücksburg. In addition,
Kiel and Lübeck are must see stops. We enjoyed Wismar, Warnemünde, Stralsund,
Greifswald, and Wolgast. Beyond that, we just had fun seeing how different
the Baltic Coast is from the other parts of Germany we have enjoyed over
Ostseeküsten Radweg (Baltic Coast Bike path) Teil 1: Von Flensburg
nach Lübeck, 1/75,000. For the second part we used Ostseeküsten Radweg
Teil 2: Von Lübeck nach Ahlbeck / Usedom, 1/75,000. Check the publish
date because Esterbauer, the bikeline publisher, frequently updates
its guidebooks and since the path is always a work in progress, the most
recently published guide will be the most accurate.
Today the terrain is up
and down. You will experience several rolling hills, a few of them quite
long. We did not have to push up any hills though and we are not too proud
to do so. When you ride this, I hope you get better weather than we have
for the start of this tour. It is raining off and on, occasionally heavily.
For a while, we take shelter in a bus stop that is too small to get our
bikes out of the weather. Well, this weather is why Germany is so green.
If it did not rain, the grass would be brown like the American West.
I am starting our tour mileage at the Flensburg Bahnhof
but we don’t ride far because for our first night, we have reservations
at Pension Ziesemer, Wilhelmstrasse 2, 24937 Flensburg, telephone 0461-25164,
fax 0461-21541. We chose this one because of its nearness to the city center.
The cost is €42.00 double occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one
night) including breakfast and it is a nice establishment. The only inconvenience
is the bathrooms are in the hall. But that happens to us now and then.
downtown area and harbor of Flensburg consists mostly of Baroque buildings
surrounding a traffic-free pedestrian zone. The harbor is cute with its
small fishing boats that sell fish to people in the morning. We ask a fisherman
the cost of two good sized fish he was selling, a Barsch (saltwater bass
or perch) and some type of sole, and he quoted us €13 for about 5 pounds
of fish; not inexpensive – but fresh. Maybe the locals negotiate a little.
But negotiation is not generally acceptable behavior in Germany. The price
is the price and any attempt at negotiation might be considered rude. I
hope this is one of the few exceptions to the rule.
This is Glücksburg. The Schloss (white castle
on left) was a monastery from 1210 to 1682. After that, it was home to one
of the ruling families from the house of Oldenburg. Check out their
website* for more information. The lake here is manmade and it covers
a graveyard containing approximately 1,000 monks. It is a good thing they
do not have to hold their breath anymore.
We stop to escape a hailstorm in Wahrberg by huddling
in a bus stop shelter. The barn behind us was built in 1200 as a lookout
to guard against pirates who might attempt to raid either the monastery
or the Schloss in either Rüde or Duborg. This barn has been in the same
family for 500 years. There is a nice drop between Wahrberg into Bockholmwik
but you will climb back up to about 40 feet then experience some rolling
In Schleswig-Holstein I would expect to see – but have not – the classic
Holstein dairy cattle (think of the Gateway Computer Company logo). So far,
all I have seen is Jersey and Brown Swiss. I am something of a cow connoisseur
you know. Not only do I enjoy eating them, but my agrarian childhood education
left me with the ability to tell one breed from another.
and Steinberghaff, (that’s a mouthful) the guidebook shows the beginning
of an alternate route into Gelting. We take the alternate because of the
foul weather and because the primary bike path is mixed pavement, sand and
gravel. With all the rain, the sand will just make us even more uncomfortable.
We stayed in Gelting
with Johanna Desler, Gästezimmer and Ferienwohnung, Süderholm 58, 24395
Gelting, Telephone 04613-2158. It is a great place with nice people and
a good breakfast.
The path is mostly paved
today with only a couple small hills. It is much easier than yesterday.
We pass a sign explaining this farm was a clandestine
listening post disguised during the cold war to look like a farm Now it
has been converted into a wildlife preserve.
We arrive at the
beach near Pottlach or Kronsgaard. The path for the next 1.5 kilometers
is a rough set of almost parallel tracks through the sand (see picture).
It is rideable if the sand is firm but there are sand puddles where the
sand has dried and become soft. These puddles can turn your front wheel
aside and cause a dangerous situation. Fortunately after this, the path
is paved again.
We ride into Kappeln
searching for a bike shop to fix Maxa’s front hub. It has been clicking
in a extremely annoying way. Actually, it did not annoy me until Maxa became
annoyed and she decided that I should be annoyed too. I think it is because
those who are annoyed love company. Anyway, we need new ball bearings and
that is something I do not carry in my collection of tools and spare parts.
We find a bike shop and they fixed the problem even if they were on their
lunch break. Talk about bicycle friendly folks.
the mapped path takes a left so when we see a left turn, we take it. Wrong.
We should have taken the second left. Well it is too late now because when
we lose the path, we normally just keep on truckin' and try to reconnect
later. We hate back tracking. So, our nice paved road suddenly turns into
a dirt path along the coast for several miles. There are the sand puddles
again but today for most of the way the sand is firm and looking out at
the Baltic is great scenery.
Here is the resort village of Damp, or Ostseebad
Damp. We stop for coffee here right on the promenade. Damp is beautiful
in the sunshine. The name Damp is just a name; not a description. It has
nothing to do with humidity.
this town we note the map has “Hügelgräber” (dolmens or tumuli
in English) indicated as an archeological site. We do not see any signs
and cannot find the site so we miss them. There are over 900 of these ancient
graves or dolmens in northern Schleswig-Holstein and they are (or were)
graves of people from the early Stone Age. Archeologists presume that they
were originally covered with earth that has since weathered away. Here is
a reference site for
We stop for the night in Eckernförde but I cannot recommend our accommodations.
Our hostess acts like a trained prison guard. Obviously, she is in the hospitality
for the money and not out of a desire to help people or an opportunity to
meet travelers. She issues orders and expects husband and guests alike to
promptly comply. Therefore, no recommendation.
The path today is paved
over slightly rolling hills. The views of the Baltic are wonderful.
Leaving Eckernförde, in
light rain, we ride through the woodlands along side a Bundestrasse (federal
highway with heavy traffic).
We are passing through Dänisch Nienhof. This is a
part of the community of Schwedeneck and obviously named when this province
was part of Denmark. From here, we ride past a poppy field with sailboats
in the distance that are competing in the Kielerwoche (Kiel Week Fair).
This fair is world famous for its sailboat races and festival.
We come upon a free
ferry crossing the canal at Holtenau. While waiting for the ferry, I snap
a photograph of a pen swan with her cygnets.
Kiel is a nice city that was a shipbuilding center prior to WW II. Unfortunately,
it was heavily bombed during the war and was modernized during the rebuilding
process. It is still a nice city but the Altstadt charm has been lost.
We take a not-so-free
ferry across the Kieler Förde or fjord to the of seaside resorts including
Laboe, Möltenort, and Heikendorf.
We spent the night
in Laboe. A mile or two down the road is the monument to submariners. This
monument was originally built in 1936 as a monument to those who perished
in WW I German U-boats but after WW II, it was rededicated to mariners of
all nations who serve in submarines. Almost at the foot of that monument
is the U-995, a real German U-boat that saw service during WWII. We take
rooms in Hotel Restaurant Haus Erholung, Friedrichstrasse 8, 24235 Laboe,
Telephone 04343-8652 fax 04343-1333.
Right at the beginning
of the day's ride there is a 50 foot hill between Laboe and Stein. Other
than that, today starts with a long ride along the coast. There are no other
Coffee stop in Hohenfelde. It is cold and raining
heavily today - windy too. It is a little hard to see, but I took a picture
of the headwind whipping Maxa’s raingear as she struggles to make headway
along the dike. We opt to avoid the dirt/sand path shown in the guidebook
for a bike path along the more heavily trafficked Bundestrasse. We will
catch the path again in Satjendorf.
We haul our exhausted
and abused bodies into our hotel here in Sehlendorf. The Hotel Bellevue
Garni, Strandstressa 2321 Sehlendorf/Blekendorf, telephone 04382-543 Connected
with Hotel Sea Stern. It is nice but the rooms are small and we do not have
much space to hang our wet gear. Breakfast is good.
There are a few minor hills
but nothing to worry about. That is until we get to Lütjenbrode where while
short cutting to avoid Fehmarn Island we do find a steep hill. It is mostly
paved today with only a little sandy gravel.
This is Oldenburg.
The Wallmuseum here is about the dike system. We do not go in.
Heiligenhafen. Our guidebook recommends staying here
for a couple nights and taking the intervening day to visit Fehmarn Island.
That is not a bad idea because you can ride without panniers. We call it
riding naked bikes (not riding bikes naked, they are quite different things;
one we have tried – the other not. Yet.) We have had quite a bit of weather
on this tour so far. The path is frequently wet and the wind off the Baltic
is brisk. We opt to forego riding around Fehmarn because our guidebook describes
the path as sandy without much pavement. Besides, Guntram and Ulla have
already seen the island and have no desire to slog through wet conditions
to see it again.
we short cut the path avoiding Fehmarn Island. We find a hill of about 100
In Neukirchen (New
Church), we stop to look at the new church. It is not so new really. Undoubtedly
it was named when it was built in the 13th Century. It is an excellent example
of the Middle Ages Brick churches in the North of Germany.
In Dahme we spend the night at Haus Seeburg, owned
by Frau Von Rohr, Seestrasse 56 & 58, 23747 Dahme, Telephone 04364-389
Fax 04364-9249, e-mail is Info@haus-seeburg.de, website is http://www.haus-seeburg.de/.
I can heartily recommend Haus Seeburg. The rooms were cute and comfortable.
They have a community room in which we lounged in the afternoon and in which
the next morning enjoyed our breakfast.
It is hard for us to comment
on the mapped path as we parallel it much of the way today. Where we ride,
the terrain is slightly rolling and all paved.
We are almost swept backwards by the wind leaving Dahme.
Normally, winds in this part of the world are from the northwest but this
is a southeast wind. We decide to leave the mapped path along the coast
and find a bike path along the B-501 Bundestrasse. It is not as pretty but
there is much less wind. DanBob Bockelmann, a cycling friend of mine in Seattle, calls a headwind
a “poor man’s hill.”
If you do leave the
mapped path and find yourself in Cismar, try to have lunch in the monastery
here. It was established in 1248 and was the northernmost monastery for
the monks of the Benedictine order.
In Niendorf we stop
for the night at Gästehaus Müller, Grünergrund 5, 23669 Niendorf, telephone
04503-4426, €50.00 double occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one
night), e-mail them at email@example.com.
We have nice weather today.
There is one long hill just past Travemünde but it is not steep.
we again choose inland streets avoiding the wind on the coast. At least
we are no longer on a Bundestrasse. We took tertiary roads to Brodten and
past the Golfplatz into Travemünde.
The main city gate at the edge of Lübeck old town was built in 1244. Lübeck
is well equipped for tourism and we are enjoying a short day on the bikes
with a lot of time to sightsee. Lübeck was first mentioned in written history
in 1000 and now is a bustling economic city with an excellent university.
The city is also famous for marzipan, a sugar and almond paste that is made
into all sorts of good things to eat (assuming, of course, you like marzipan).
The Restaurant Niederegger in the center of town is the hot touristy spot
to buy the “best” marzipan. The oldest part of the town, the Altstadt, was
destroyed by bombing during WWII and all but one of the big churches were
destroyed. Gratefully, they rebuilt the buildings and once again, the Altstadt
contains seven church steeples.
We stopped here for this year
and returned to our home base by train. Our plan was to complete the tour
to Ahlbeck the next year, 2005, but we were not able to return until 2006.
From here on, it is 2006.
The paths today are a mixture
of pavement and, well, let us just say other surfaces – some of which are
challenging. East of Travemünde we took the highway and did have a little
rolling elevation (10 -20 feet) gain and loss. If you stay on the coast,
that can be avoided.
As mentioned above,
we take a little break between Lübeck and Travemünde – two full years of
Nevertheless, we arrive today at the Bahnhof where we departed when we last
visited this lovely city of Lübeck. The ride to Travemünde is through residential
and industrial neighborhoods and is unremarkable, except for one Russian
cemetery and war memorial on the outskirts of Lübeck.
Travemünde is a picturesque little city. We take
a break on the main waterfront street and enjoy Kaffee und Kuchen,
or a cup of coffee and a cake. It is warm today and the tourists are out
enjoying the weather just as we are. Leaving the café, we make our way to
the ferry that crosses the Trave River. It costs €1.00/person including
a bike and it sails every 10 minutes or so. At mile 14.5 (23.3 km) we pass
the Passat, a tall sailing ship. You can take a guided tour if you are interested.
Just outside of the
community of Priwall, we obtain a little local knowledge from another bike
rider. She tells us that the path right along the beach is paved now and
much nicer than riding down the road via Harkensee to Gross Schwansee. But
because of a wrong turn, we end up on the low traffic road marked in our
In Elmenhorst, we pass an inviting café and Ferienwohnung
called Radlerherberge Lindenhof Scheune (translates to “Biker hostel Lindenhof
Hall”). The rates are €50.00 per night double occupancy (the cost for two
people to spend one night). The address is Dorfstrasse 59, Elmenhorst, telephone
038825/37966 or 04503/5449 after 6:00PM. We would stay here but it is a
bit too early stop today.
We stop for the
day in the beautiful seaside resort of Ostseebad Boltenhagen. As we arrive,
we are glad we did not stop at Elmenhorst because this community is touristy
and there are many more restaurants from which to choose. We stay at Hotel
Wendenburg, not so much a hotel as a Pension, Tarnewitzer Dorfstrasse
7, 23946 Ostseebad Boltenhagen, Telephone 038825/3090; Fax 038825/30942,
the cost is €76.00 double occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one
night). Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The menu in the restaurant is short but tasty and a good value. A plate
of matjes herring is only €7.50. Matjes herring are young,
supposedly female, herring that are seasonal in June along the Baltic and
North Sea coasts. They are filleted and pickled in a brine of spices, sugar,
and vinegar for several days before serving. Typically, matjes
herring are served with a dill sauce and potatoes. One loves’em or hates’em
– but to us, they are addictive.
At the start of today,
the path turns quickly to gravel for a couple kilometers then you have to
share a busy road for 4.5 kilometers. There are several small hills and
while the path is mostly paved, it has several unpaved stretches. (Man,
this sounds like a weather forecast when the weather man does not have a
clue. But in this case, it is accurate.)
we climb a 30 foot hill just a short distance from our Pension.
After turning left off the highway, we mistakenly ride
though a campground and exit along a footpath at the east end. The gate
here is too narrow form Maxa’s bike and she has to remove her panniers (bicycle
saddlebags) to wiggle her bike through the opening. We would have been on
the correct road if we had bypassed the campground, and then turned left
rather than riding through it. But then, we would not have the memory or
This is the Marktplatz (market square or
center of town) of Wismar. Wismar is another Hanseatic League town (see
History above). Wismar’s town square or Marktplatz is a great example
of the buildings built by wealthy merchants of the Hanseatic League. The
city was actually part of Sweden between 1648 (the end of the Thirty-year
War) and 1803 (near the end of Napoleon in Germany). In 1803, Sweden ceded
Wismar to the Duke of Mecklenburg whose holdings were made a part of Germany
We start seeing a few windmills as we ride.
To the right is a photograph of a barn made of concrete slabs. I have
only seen this type of construction in the former East Germany. These same
slabs are out to many different uses including making roads, paths, or field
ways. When used for roads, they are called Plattenwege.
This is Ostseebad Rerik.
We spend the night
in Kühlungsborn in a Privat Zimmer but I cannot recommend it because
we must share the bathroom with the family and the room arrangement is not
as comfortable as some where we have stayed.
Today is fun, much of the
day you will be right on the coast passing beach after beach. The path conditions
are good but seldom paved. There are almost no hills.
Leaving Kühlungsborn we ride along a sand path on the
lee side of a sand breakwater. There are markers for different beaches along
the path. Perhaps, one can tell a friend that I will meet you at beach #102.
I do not know. There are a couple beaches labeled FKK, which stands
for Freie Körper Kultur or Free Body Culture. It is a nude beach.
These are common in Germany. We pass a sign for “Textil Strand”
that we have never before seen before. Textil means cloth and
Strand means beach so I guess it means the opposite of an FKK
Strand. I guess on one beach, you wear textiles, on the other you do
not. The photo of Maxa is on the Textil beach.
Following the bike path signs and asking locals for
direction to fill in the blanks, we arrive at the ferry in Warnemünde. It
is a little hard to get to because you have cross a small bridge, then carry
your bike first down, and then up a flight of stairs. Did I tell you that
I do not like stairs? Anyway, from here, you can ride south an hour or so
to Rostock. Alternatively, you could hop on a local train if you choose.
However, we choose to keep going. First, Rostock does not attract me partially
because of the past trouble with Neo-Nazi skinheads and partially because
it is just another big city. Besides, we are having a ball on the coast.
We spend the night
at Haus Rosi, owned by Rosi und Deter Pade, Fulge 9, 18347 Ahrenshoop, Telephone
We start the day on the
alternate path marked in the guidebook. It is a long sandy path sprinkled
with mud puddles because it rained last night. We ride along the Saaler
Bodden, which is an inland saltwater bay. Once we reconnect with the main
bike route, we alternate between pavement, sand, and Platten (concrete
plates). They asphalted over the Platten outside of Prerow and
again outside of Barth, that improves the ride immeasurably. The path is
level again today except for one small hill outside of Glöwitz, east of
Enter Prerow. Both Prerow and Zingst are destination
resorts and the tourists seem to commute back and forth along the bike path
atop the dike. Many resort hotels, etc. offer the use of bicycles either
for exercise or as a means of transportation. Judging from the number of
people on the path today, the bikes are heavily used. We are the only ones
with panniers; everyone else is just out for the day.
Zingst is touristy.
One thing that towns in the former East Germany share with those in the
west is how "economical" they are with street signs. It seems,
whenever you want to know the name of the street, they have either removed
the sign or never installed one. When I say “economical,” I mean they do
not spend money installing very many. (Maxa thinks I am nuts but I will
swear to this quirky behavior on the part of our host country.)
The size of the fields here are impressive. Many places in Germany, especially
in the west, have small fields. However, these east German fields are large
– like Montana, USA, where I spent my childhood. The photo of the old town
gate is in Barth.
The guidebook indicates
we should share a busy road but we find a new path here that continues through
the fields avoiding the highway. Yea!
We climb a small slope to Schloss Hohendorf.
We tried to stay
at an attractive Privat Zimmer in Klausdorf but there were two
problems. The only restaurant for 6 kilometers was closed for the day because
today is their Ruhe Tag (quiet day or day of rest), and there was
no place to buy wine. Since Stralsund is only 17 kilometers away, and because
it is a nice afternoon, we ride on.
As the photographs
above indicate, Stralsund is not only impressive because of its location
and history, it is also photogenic. We spend the night close to the
Marktplatz in Stralsund at Pension Prochnow, Wasser Strasse 73, 18439
Stralsund. The telephone number is 0171/4780951 and the cost is €50.00 double
occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one night). The owners recently
renovated. It is clean and well managed. Breakfast too proves to be one
of the better ones on this tour. (We even choose to stay here later this
week on our trip home.)
Do not miss seeing Stralsund. It is another Hanse town, it has an interesting
Baroque Marktplatz and several large well maintained churches.
(We are surprised in July to learn that America’s President George W. Bush
visited this same city as a guest of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
It is lucky we missed that. Apparently, Ms. Merkel – “Angie” to her countrymen
– was raised around here.)
Historically, Stralsund was founded in the early 13th Century and it
soon became the rival to Lübeck. That must have annoyed the city fathers
of Lübeck because Lübeckian soldiers burned Stralsund in 1249. The inhabitants
rebuilt and soon joined the Hanseatic League centered at the time in Lübeck.
Much later, during the Thirty Years’ War (1613-1648), it was the scene of
a battle between Swedish forces (in this case Protestant) who defended the
city against a General Wallenstein, who fought for the Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II (Catholic).
Similar to Wismar, Stralsund became a part of Sweden in 1648 after the
Thirty Years’ War and remained so until it became part of Prussia in 1815.
In 1944, Stralsund was bombed by the Allies during World War II. One of
the casualties that is still in ruins is the Franciscan Monastery of St.
John, of which only the choir loft remains. Nevertheless, the monastery
still forms a part of the original town wall.
We bypass the island of
Rügen on this Tour because we have plans to ride about this island in 2007
(see Rügen Island). The path today is mostly level
today but there is one nice drop into Brandshagen (12.1 km). Unfortunately,
you climb back up 60 feet too. The surfaces are manageable albeit we do
get a little tired of the long stretch of cobblestone between Stralsund
This is the start of the cobblestone road. As we ride
along, wishing I had a mouth guard, I contemplate the workers who laid these
stones for kilometer after kilometer. Maxa suggests that using that amount
of labor is why the East was able to brag about near full employment under
communism. There must be billions of stones in this road. There is no good
way around this road because we do not want to ride on the busy road off
to our left. So, if you want to avoid this part of the tour, take the local
train. It is called the Usedomer Bäderbahn and the web site is
It is a commuter train so they depart every hour between 6:00 and 8:00 but
only a couple of trains in the middle of the day. The trip to Greifswald
takes half an hour.
Finally, just before
Mesekenhagen, we are finally finished with the (your favorite expletive
here) cobblestone. The landscape is gently undulating, not enough to tire
one but enough to keep bike riding interesting.
We stop for a break
in Greifswald and look at the St. Nikolai Cathedral (third from left above).
The city of Greifswald grew up around a Cistercian cloister built in 1199.
It too joined the Hanseatic League. In 1456, Greifswald established a university,
one of the oldest in Northern Europe. (In Germany, there are six older universities
all of which were Catholic Universities. They are: Heidelberg 1386, Cologne
1388, Erfurt 1392, Würzburg 1402, Leipzig 1409, and Rostock 1419. By the
way, the University of Marburg am Lahn was founded in 1527 and is the oldest
Protestant university anywhere in Europe.)
We stop for the
evening in Lubmin. Getting here was a little adventure. The guidebook path
would take us on the shoulder of a busy road and since it is rush hour,
we opt for a more circuitous way through the village of Wusterhusen. We
end up pushing our bikes across some sand along the way. We spot a Zimmer
Frei sign as we enter Lubmin and learn that the family Voge will charge
us €40.00 double occupancy (the cost for two people to spend one night)
but they do not serve breakfast. The address is 8 Wusterhusener Strasse,
17509 Lubmin. Breakfast is no problem because there are two grocery stores
in the area, Edeka and Plus. Both have bakeries that serve coffee with your
purchases. It is a wonderful solution.
During our breakfast, I noted that about 2/3 of the shoppers arrive by
bicycle. Two shoppers have young children with them who are pushing
Laufräder, or bicycles on which the child sits and move along with
their feet instead of pedaling. Life here is quite different than the supermarket-automobile
centric life in Seattle. For this, I envy the Germans.
This is our last day on
the Baltic Coast. At least until next year when we will ride about
Rügen, the island we bypassed this year. Once on
the island of Usedom, the path goes over several hills, which surprises
us. It is mostly paved though and since it is only 61 kilometers to Ahlbeck,
we can take our time and enjoy ourselves, which we do. There is a noticeable
lack of bike path signs but we only lose our way once.
We are riding past
an abandoned and partially demolished former nuclear power plant. I do not
know why I find industrial activity interesting, but I do.
In Wolgast, we visit the church Gertrudenkapelle,
which was built in the 15th Century and looks it. The Basilica St. Petri
was built in 1280.
Outside of Wolgast,
we cross the bridge onto the island of Usedom. We will stay on this island
for the next 40 kilometers to Ahlbeck.
In Zinnowitz, we
start riding along the beach. There are many tourists here so occasionally,
the bike path is crowded. The path is hilly too.
We end the tour at the Ahlbeck Bahnhof.
From here, we take the Usedomer Bäderbahn or a local whistle stop
commuter train back to Stralsund. The picture is of Maxa rehydrating at
the Ahlbeck Bahnhof. Even though looks can be deceiving, the beer
can is not open, she is just posing for the snap shot. Ya. Right.
We will spend the night at the same Pension we did a couple days ago,
and then in the morning, catch a regular train back to our home in Kassel.
This is, unfortunately, our last bike tour for this year. That is always
a sad occasion for me because I love bicycling in Germany so much. Oh well,
there is always next year.