Just as the peak of the June heatwave hit in Germany (38C just outside Berlin!), we reached the island of Rügen. It’s a 50km long peninsular in the Baltic Sea separated from the Germany main land by a 1km wide channel and is accessible over a bridge. And due to it being in the Baltic Sea, it was roughly 10C cooler than inland, which was a massive relief!
The island is characterised by sandy soil, excellent beaches and white chalk cliffs. Apparently millions of years ago it was part of the same chalk plateau that forms the Dover cliffs, hence the similarities. We were just glad to take a refreshing paddle… after hot-footing over the superheated sand and past the nude sunbathers!
The town of Binz is the largest seaside town on the island. It’s pretty up-market and has been a resort for about 150 years. Efforts have been made to keep its traditional architecture style. We enjoyed strolling along the front, along the beach and through the town. Although it does appear that we may have been on the beach illegally as it transpires we should have bought a ‘beach pass’.
Just north of Binz is Prora, and it’s bit of a contrast. It is a massive resort that was constructed by the Nazi party as part of its ‘Strength through joy’ project as the German equivalent of Butlins. Originally it stretched 4.5km of identical buildings set back only a few metres from the white sands. However, due to the war it was never used for its original purpose and 3km of ruins remained for many decades. There has been a recent development drive, refurbing them to turn them into modern apartments, However most are still abandoned empty shells.
From Prora we moved on to Kap Arkona, the ‘Northern Cape’ at the tip of Rügen island. It’s kind of like Lands End in the UK as a tourist attraction. There’s a large car park about two kilometres from the tip. From there you can take a bus, or be cheap and get the Bromptons out of The Van and cycle. There’s a small village on the way that includes a bunch of tourist traps, including an English Tea Room and lots of handcrafted souvenirs. Finally at the tip of the island, you can find the white cliffs and various lighthouses that have guided ships over the past few centuries. It’s very picturesque.
When we got back to The Van, Joolz saw some wild flowers on the edge of a nearby field. She decided to pick some to decorate The Van.
We spent a couple of days in Rügen, waiting for the heatwave to break before we headed west…