Friday, 28 October 2016

T4rdis2 Tour 2 - Day 116 - 120 Germany

Day 116
Monday 24th October 2016 - A lovely day with lots of bright sunny spells.

And guess what? We were driving for a good part of the day so we missed the best of the sunshine!  This morning we left our Stellplatz in the Muritz National Park and headed for the Jasmund National Park which is right at the top of Germany's largest island - Rugen.  Our travel guide described the island as only being 31 miles across but with a rugged coastline that extends for hundreds of miles due to the many inlets and narrow spits of land that connect it's numerous peninsulas together.   Specifically we were headed for the settlement of Lohme, and because we know there are loads of cycling and walking tracks available, we plan to make it our home for the next few days.

However, getting there was something of a challenge! Our journey was another long one, but as you would expect in Germany, on the mainland the roads were excellent, then we crossed a fairly high tech bridge onto the island, and still all remained good until we got to a couple of it's little villages.  Twice it happened!  The only way to pass through said villages was via their old cobbled and very rough streets, so by the time we got to the other side T4rdis2 was very thoroughly agitated and shaken, and I was slightly worried that instead of milk we'd have several cartons of butter!

Anyway, we eventually arrived safe and sound in Lohme, a tiny village that lies atop a 50 meter high cliff on the northern edge of the Jasmund Peninsula.  Our parking spot was only about a 100 metres form the water, but sadly, we hadn't got a sea view this time.  However, once we'd settled in we couldn't resist a little walk out to see the sea and some of the rugged shore line and it was truly a lovely spot and one we were very much looking forward to exploring further over the next couple of days.

Day 117
Tuesday 25th October 2016 - Cold and a bit cloudy but we also had some nice sunny spells.

Happy Birthday Evelyn and also Happy Birthday Adam.  We hope you both had a lovely day xxxx

This morning our bikes were quickly unloaded and we were off out to do our exploring.  John had planned a ride that would take us from our home location, across a narrow spit of land that passes through the town of Glowe, and then out to the most northerly peninsula to the settlement of Nobbin.

We had considered going all the way to Kap Arkona were there are 2 lighthouses - one built in 1827 which is now a museum, and one built in 1902 that is still in use today, but getting there would have made our ride more of an endurance than a pleasure because of the distance.  But as it was it did turn out to be a HUGE pleasure!

We  passed a plethora of very pretty thatched cottages which all had immaculately kept gardens, we admired numerous sea birds drying their feathers whilst sitting on the many groynes that stretched out into the Baltic sea, we passed through many miles of pine forests where we spotted several pretty 'mushrooms', and we got to watch the majestic ocean as we noshed on our sarnies.

Our trail also took us past a couple of almost land locked sea lakes where there were hundreds of water fowl enjoying the diluted autumn sunshine, and it was at this point that we learnt that this area is a major migration area for cranes.  And we're fairly sure that amongst the many ducks, swans, herons, cormorants and gulls we could see some, but just to check it out I Googled it!  My answer came back as ' a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist and jib!' (and probably with JCB splattered somewhere on the side).  However, we did later confirm what we had seen, but that might have been easier if we'd remembered to have our binoculars with us!

In all, our ride was about our usual 55 kms and was nearly all off road and mostly with fantastic views, so it suited us down to the ground.  Hopefully we'll be able to find similar ones while we're in this area. 

Day 118
Wednesday 26th October - Not as cold as yesterday and the sun managed to avoid the clouds a bit more!

While we were out yesterday we  learnt from one of the info boards that Jasmund is one of more than 2,200 national parks in 120 states worldwide, so it belongs in the same group as areas such as Yellowstone, Serengeti and Galapagos to name but a few, so we had high expectations of it.  Therefore, this morning we didn't delay in setting off for a walk around the headland of the Jasmund peninsula from our home point at Lohme to the town of Sassinitz (which we never quite got to), along a trail called the Hochuferweg (cliff top walk).
And the trail turned out to be like a good many other coastal paths we've followed, with big downs, followed by equally big ups - so our outing proved to be a proper workout as well as being a joy to the eye!

Most of it was through old forests of beach and maple trees that went right up to (and sometimes over) the cliff edge, and the path followed said edge very closely in places - and as you would imagine from the picture on the left, we were very careful about approaching some of the overhangs.   However, despite frequent warning signs some folks seemed less concerned, and once or twice we saw people teetering with nothing much underneath them!  Apparently, there have been major collapses of the chalky cliffs in April 1981, March 1996 and April 2011, and when we eventually went down the 138 steps onto the beach it was easy to see how more could follow in the near future.

As we walked we noted that both the forest and the beach were littered with fallen trees, and some of them were huge but had just been left to lie where ever they had fallen - we later learnt that the park has a policy of only removing anything that may be a hazard or causes a blockage to the trails, otherwise everything is left for nature to take back at it's leisure.   That was probably why we saw 'mushrooms' growing in so many places - I told John 'I'm sure they'll add flavour to our stew pot', but he wouldn't let me pick any!

So why didn't we make it all the way to Sassinitz - well it was about 7 miles each way, but by the time we'd done exploring the woodland, pausing to admire the views and scrambling up and down to the beach we just didn't have time!  But it didn't really matter because all we'd have done when we got there would have been to turn around and come back, and this way our walk was slightly shorter, and possibly more enjoyable because of that.

Day 119
Thursday 27th October 2016 - Foggy in the morning, which just about managed to clear before it rained in the afternoon.

This morning we left Lohme and headed over to the east side of the island of Rugen to the town of Sellin which is one of the main tourist hot-spots in the summer - probably because of it's lovely  long white sand beaches that are backed by colonial style buildings, many of which date back to the early 1900s.  The town was really pretty, and immaculately kept, but for us I think the pier was probably the it's most vivid landmark.

To get down to it you could either descend via  several long flights of steep stairs, (John reckons 85), or you could use the funicular lift  - we walked down and it was well worth it to be able to stroll out over the Baltic sea and to find out some of the history connected to it.   The first pier was built in 1906, but it and several replacements were destroyed by storms and ice when the Baltic Sea froze over.

Today's historic reconstruction was introduced in 1997, however we did think that the huge submersible monstrosity that is at the far end of it wasn't quite in keeping with the rest.  If you choose you can pay 8 euros to be dunked under the water in the contraption on the right - we choose not to!

The town also has a long history related to fishing, but maybe this little 'fisherman' wouldn't quite manage to keep up with demand!  Apparently, pike, perch,  eel, and needle-fish are some of the delicacies available in the many fish reausturants in the area, and while we were on the beach there were loads of tiny boats that were obviously still in use for this trade.

Anyway, as the afternoon wore on the rain started to pitter patter, so we took that as our signal to go home with our fingers crossed that the weather would be more kind tomorrow so that we could go cycling and explore more of Rugen's peninsulas.

Day 120
Friday 28th October 2016.  Heavy rain in the morning but a lovely sunny late afternoon.

Well, we umm'd and arh'd about what to do this morning, but as the weather man had informed us the rain would stop and things would get better, we opted to risk it and go out on our bikes to visit the Klein Zicker (the tickey bit right at the bottom of the map) and Having und Reddevitzer Hoft areas (the long narrow finger that sticks out on the left).

When we left T4rdis2 it was still drizzling, and this lasted until after lunch - thus forcing us to take refuge while we ate our picnic, but at least we found a bus shelter with a good view over the Baltic Sea.

In the end we were very glad we'd 'risked it'  because our ride turned out to be one that suited us very well. In all we only rode about 44 kms, but much of it was over rugged terrain with either woodland or wild ocean views, and although it wasn't particularly hilly there were one or two little ones where we had to work hard, and at times, a strong head wind that we had to battle against.  And then as we were headed down the long narrow Reddevitzer peninsula where we had ocean views on both sides, the sun came out and let us sit and take our last break in it's warming rays.

However, when we were ready to set off again John said his feet were cold.  Now, he's been reading Sir Ranulph Fiennes' book 'Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures', and in it he talks about body thermo-regulation!  He advises that if your feet are cold you should put your hat on - so that's just what John did, and hey presto, he soon had warm feet!

We got back to T4rdis2 at about 5pm, but by then the sun was low in the sky and hiding behind tall trees so we were glad to be home - but I suppose that's something we need to get used to now because once the clocks change on Sunday the days will seem very short.

Finally, on a completely different note, I don't want my 'baby' to feel left out. In my last blog I included pictures of my two older 'children' Sarah and Adam. So in this one I'll add a picture of Ben - he's hiding there somewhere!

Anyway, that's enough for now, so till I get around to putting my fingers on the keys again .... take care xx