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Part 3:Rügen island, Binz, Stralsund

Map of trip across Germany 6.6: Munich -> Hamburg
7.6: Hamburg
8.6: Hamburg -> Lübeck -> Puttgarden -> Copenhagen
14.6: Copenhagen -> Malmö -> Trelleborg -> Binz (Rügen island, Germany)
15.6: Binz, Sellin (Rügen island)
16.6: Königsstuhl and Stralsund
17.6: Binz
18.6: Binz -> Stralsund -> Berlin
19.6: Berlin
20.6: Berlin -> Potsdam -> Berlin
21.6: Berlin -> Wittenberg -> Dessau -> Bayreuth -> Munich

14.6: Copenhagen -> Malmö -> Trelleborg -> Binz (Rügen island, Germany)
Hotel Binzer Sterne, Binz. 99 Euro for a small flat with two bedrooms, a toilet, a corridor and a multipurpose room consisting of a mix of kitchen and living room. Fully furnished apartment, the multipurpose room has a large LCD TV, fridge, microwave oven, coffee machine, water boiler. High standard accomodation in a beaufiful setting (lot of green areas surround the building). Free WLAN. Free parking in the hotel garage. Small hair dryer in the toilet.
Weather: sunny, blue sky, with a few clouds every now and then. Around 17°C in Sweden, more or less strong wind.

The ferry from Trelleborg to Sassnitz (Rügen island, Germany) leaves on time at 6:30pm. On it there is the usual combination of duty free shops, restaurant, games etc. Surprisingly on the deck it's not as cold as I was imagining. Women getting tanned on deck chairs. Once in Sassniitz we drive to the hotel in Binz.

15.6: Binz, Sellin (Rügen island)
Hotel Binzer Sterne, Binz.
Weather: beautiful sunny day, blue sky, but quite fresh (max. temperature is 20°C). We are again lucky with the weather.

We take it easy today, sleeping long and only leaving the apartment at 1pm. We initially drive into town and find a Netto discount store (food etc.), which is open today (from 13 to 18 hours) although it's Sunday.

Finally decent prices again, 19 cents for a big bottle of mineral water (compare that to the 2 Euro we used to pay in Denmark), 69 cents for a spaghetti with sauce box and so on.

No free parking in Binz. Everywhere you need to pay something.

After the shopping we drive back to the hotel and have lunch there. At 3:10pm, while Shirley is doing some school exercise with Alissia, I walk into town to have a look at the beach.

It's a short walk from the hotel (only 1.3km) and walking is a good idea, because of the parking problem. The area around the hotel is beautifully set up with stylish buildings, villas, carefully choreographed gardens. Everything absolutely immaculate and perfectly clean. As if everybody is competing against each other to have the prettiest garden and villa. Very quiet and relaxing area.

The beach is long and nice. Along the beach there is the beach promenade. Already 100 years ago Binz was a famous beach resort in the Germany of the Kaiser, and today this place is maintaining the tradition.

It appears that Binz is one of the places of the former East Germany which actually developed after the reunification. Everything is busy and tourist oriented. Lots of people on the beach, many wearing smim gear, few swimming in the sea because of the low temperatures (water temperature is only 17°C).

A music band and an individual artist play some music along the promenade. We walk around a bit, then slowly walk back to the hotel, arriving at 7pm. The weather is perfect on this Sunday evening.

Around sunset I drive to Sellin, a beach resort further along the coast, 13km southwest from Binz. The beach here is much smaller than the one in Binz, but the setting is nice, because you reach the beach by walking down a staircase and at the top there is a nice view. Big tourist house along the pier. Very long pier by the way.
I'm back in the hotel at 11pm.

16.6: Königsstuhl and Stralsund
Hotel Binzer Sterne
Weather: some blue sky in the morning, otherwise mostly overcast. Quite fresh, with a maximum temperature of 20°C. In the evening the clouds disappear and the sky opens up.

The weather today is not so good, so we sort of cancel the plan to go to the beach, also considering the low temperatures.

Around 11am I drive into town to buy some fresh milk and other stuff, then get back to the hotel. There we have lunch.

We leave the hotel at 2pm and drive to the Königsstuhl, a huge chalk cliff on the Baltic sea in the Jasmund national park, about 18km north of Binz. By car it's 26km and we arrive at 2:30pm.

Due to lack of a suitable parking, you can't drive the last two and a half km to the Königsstuhl and instead have to park the car in a parking 400m further down the road. Pricey parking at 1.50€/hour (pricey for a parking in the middle of nowhere).

From there it's either a 3km walk or a bus (3.60€ return) to the Königsstuhl. We opt to take the bus, as the kids might get tired. The road passes through a beautiful beech forest with old and tall trees.

Once at the visitor centre, it seems that there is a fee of 7.50€ to get into the compound, which includes also a museum and another exhibition. But as we find out later, there is no need to get into the compound. It's sufficient to walk down the path to have a nice view of the chalk cliffs.

So we walk down to the beach, stopping at a few view points along the way. The path walks down to the beach which lies 100m lower. It's a stones beach, which runs along the chalk cliffs.

A group of swans is swimming and apparently eating something in the sea. I've never seen that, always thought that swans only stay in freshwater.

We walk a bit along the beach, then walk back to the parking. It's now almost 5pm and we decide to drive back to the hotel. Brief stop along the way at a Netto store to buy some food.

In the evening, after the Germany-Portugal World cup match, I drive to Stralsund because there are no more clouds in the sky. From Binz to Stralsund it's a 38km drive, mostly along an intercity road, with only a small piece of motorway near Stralsund. The island of Rügen is connected by a bridge to the mainland.

Stralsund is an old Hanseatic town, which together with Wismar is a UNESCO world heritage site. The old town core is on a small island next to the coast (or let's say a piece of land surrounded by a large moat). The main attraction is the Alter Markt (Old Market) square on which the town hall and the Nikolai church are located.

There are several old brick houses, all of them in a good shape, i.e. most likely restored. However there are also many, many modern buildings mixed with the old houses. Only a small fraction of the old town is still original, which is disappointing. Probably a good deal of the old city was destroyed in world war II and not reconstructed during the Communist period.

I'm in Stralsund until well after the sunset (until 11:20pm), because the blue hour lasts so long on this June evening and I take several shots of the town. Then I drive back and reach the hotel shortly after midnight.

17.6: Binz
Hotel Binzer Sterne, Binz
Weather: sunny, blue sky the whole day. Windy, quite fresh, actually cold in the shadow.

Day spent relaxing in Binz. We leave the hotel after 3pm, and fetch the public bus to the beach. We discover that the beach in Binz north of the pier is smelly, because it is full of rotting seaweed. So we walk to the southern side.

Not too many foreign tourists in Binz and no Asian tourists.

We are on the beach until 5:40pm, then buy some groceries and take the bus back to the hotel.

18.6: Binz -> Stralsund -> Berlin
Smarthostel Berlin. 103 Euro for a small apartment consisting of a bedroom, livingroom/kitchen/studio combo with two beds, bathroom with shower and corridor. Centrally located about 5km from the Brandenburger Tor. Decently furnished, LCD TV, phone, small hair dryer in the toilet. WLAN in the room not free (apparently 5€ per day and device).
Weather: sunny, blue sky the whole day, cold (max. 22°C). Very thin clouds layer high up in the sky.

We check out of the hotel at 12:40pm and initially drive to a Netto shop where we return the empty bottles and buy some food. Then we drive to Stralsund, arriving there at 2:20pm.

We have a lunch in a Chinese restaurant, then shortly after 3pm I drop Shirley and the kids off at the Ozeanum acquarium/museum (many exhibitions and acquariums),  and drive to St Mary's church (Marienkirche).

The interesting thing about this church is the tower, which offers a great view of Stralsund from a height of 100m. 4€ entry ticket, lots of steps (no lift).

I reach the top at 10 to 4pm and spend 15 minutes there. The view is simply great on this June day.

Then I walk down, get back to the car, drive to another spot close to the Old Market (Nicolai church) and leave the car in a parking at 4:30pm.

I'll spend the next hour exploring Stralsund. It's a very cute, very photogenic city, at least the old historic core. This is a mix of old and new buildings, but all very nicely set up.

Finally around 5:45pm I join again Shirley and the kids. We drive to a petrol station where we refuel the car. Then we continue to Berlin.

The motorway is most of the time empty. Only close to Berlin there is some traffic.

We reach the hotel at 8:20pm. In the evening I drive to the Brandenburger gate for some blue hour shots. No luck today, as the entire gate is wrapped up in a Hyundai promotion and there is a big public viewing screen. So I walk to the Reichstag.

I must say that the distances in Berlin are huge. Buildings are big and far from each other. We'll need the car tomorrow with the kids, to avoid walking too much.

Copyright 2014 Alfred Molon