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
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 towns.
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
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 competition).
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 the
bikeline’s 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.
Day 1: Flensburg to Gelting
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
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
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 hills.
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.
Steinbergholz 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.
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.
Day 2: Gelting to Eckernförde
The path is mostly
paved today with only a couple small hills. It is much easier than
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.
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.
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.
Approaching 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 Dolmens.
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,
Day 3: Eckernförde to Kiel - Laboe
The path today
is paved over slightly rolling hills. The views of the Baltic are
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
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.
a not-so-free ferry across the Kieler Förde or fjord to the of seaside
resorts including Laboe, Möltenort, and Heikendorf.
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.
Day 4: Kiel / Laboe to Sehlendorf
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 significant hills.
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.
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.
Day 5: Sehlendorf to Dahme
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
This is Oldenburg.
The Wallmuseum here is about the dike system. We do not
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 ft.
(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.
Day 6: Dahme to Niendorf
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
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.
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
Day 7: Niendorf to Lübeck
We have nice weather
today. There is one long hill just past Travemünde but it is not
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.
Lübeck. 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
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.
Day 8: Lübeck to Boltenhagen
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.
above, we take a little break between Lübeck and Travemünde – two
full years of a break. 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.
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 guidebook anyway.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
Day 9: Boltenhagen to Kühlungsborn
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 the picture.
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 in 1903.
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
This is Ostseebad Rerik.
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
Day 10: Kühlungsborn to Ahrenshoop
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
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
the night at Haus Rosi, owned by Rosi und Deter Pade, Fulge 9, 18347
Ahrenshoop, Telephone 038220-80068.
Day 11: Ahrenshoop to Stralsund
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 Barth.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Day 12: Stralsund to Lubmin
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 and Greifswald.
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
www.ubb-online.com. 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.
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.
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.)
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.
Day 13: Lubmin to Ahlbeck (at the border)
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.
of Wolgast, we cross the bridge onto the island of Usedom. We will
stay on this island for the next 40 kilometers to Ahlbeck.
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.
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.