… from Usedom at the Baltic Sea. OK, I came already back on Saturday from my 2-weeks family vacation. Although it wasn’t a typical family vacation because I was on Usedom with my wife, daughter, and grant-son. That little guy is 5. So this was his first vacation where he was able to notice everything and he liked it a lot. One of his statements was “I like our new home more than our old home”. He didn’t realize, that the vacation home was our home only for our vacation.
Back in 2019, when we were in the Netherlands with him, he was too young to notice such a change. Back in 2018, I was already in Ahlbeck with my wife and we decided to come back with our grant son for his first beach vacation. Unfortunately, this come-back lasted longer than expected because of the SARS2-CoV / Covid19 pandemic.
This time we rented a vacation home near the middle of the town. Ahlbeck is quite small, with only about 3,400 regular citizens but with more than four times the number of guest beds. The apartment, we rented in 2018, was also very lovely, but reaching the beach from there was quite complicated because a huge rehab clinic building barriers the direct way and we had to make a long way around. Reaching the pier also lasted about 20 minutes by foot. You can see the pier in the image above from 2018. We love to walk along the surf in the evening, so we had to pull out the rental bikes first to reach the beach. Very inconvenient. That’s why we decided to get this time an apartment closer to the town and with easier access to the beach. It’s only about 200 meters as the bird flies and about 300 meters walk to reach the waterfront.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t perfect beach weather this time. Some drizzling nearly every day for at least some time distributed over the whole day. But, I won’t complain. We had some beach weather, we had cycling weather, we watched the neighboring towns as well as the next town in Poland, which is only about 4 km away. We also rented bikes for our stay and surprisingly the little guy was able to cope with the (quite small) distances on his bike. The longest distance we cycled in one day was 12 km with a couple of pauses. We cycled mostly along the sea on the promenade connecting the 3 neighboring towns grouped under the name Kaiserbäder. They have a lot of bicycle tracks here.
I love the area at the baltic sea for the small villages, the avenues with their chestnut or oak trees, and the forests reaching up to the coast. The sea does not have a noticeable tide (only about 10 cm), the huge beaches with very fine sand, and the flat-bottomed sea which is quite warm and less salty than the other oceans. So, these beaches are very entitled to kids, especially smaller ones.
The term Kaiserbäder (Kaiser = Emporer; bäder = baths) was chosen because these towns were visited by the Emporer of the German Empire back in the 19th century a couple of times. The word Bad (= bath) in a town’s name refers to the idea of being a place for curing and rehab. In the late 19th century, people had already come here to the coast for spending some leisure time, cure, and recuperate. Especially the rich ones and the noble men and women. Even the Emporers were here a couple of times and that’s the reason, why the towns have chosen the name Kaiserbäder to operate under that name. Nowadays, everyone can benefit from the beauty of the coast and retreat from the burdens of daily chores.
For one day (without having a certain date in my mind) it was planned to visit a nature protection area nearby (ok, 1 1/4 hours drive by car) to see White-tailed eagles (very good chance), osprey (maybe – a hope), grey cranes (quite good chance because they are quite common here but very shy), and red kites.
In the end, I saw 2 white-tailed eagles sitting in the trees far-far away and one flying from one side to the other (👍), one osprey (sitting very far away, then flying even further away, but also flying a bit closer to capture him), 5 cranes flying by, 1 stork, 1 crane with a chick in the woods (no photo possible), many grey herons and 3 great white egrets, common terns, lots of different ducks and geese, many swallows, black-headed gulls, cormorants. I’m stopping here to not bore you.
In the meantime, the others were visiting an adventure park in a town nearby very suitable for kids under 12.
For 4 days starting with Ascension Day, the German Masters in Kite-Surfing took place here right next to the pier. I watched the sportswomen and sportsmen for a few hours distributed over several days with my camera. You know, I like to see them “flying” over the water. This was an unexpected event and therefore not planned. But, very welcomed. Even the wind was unexpected those days: some competitions had to be canceled because of too heavy winds.
In the end, this was a family vacation and not a photo trip. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy about the images I was able to capture. The nature protection area has to stay on my list. I have to come again with more time and arrive earlier. Without the overcast sky, I’d have come back with less usable images because the light conditions would have resulted in either overexposed skies or in hopeless underexposed subjects.
As usual, click on an image to enlarge it!
Although, summer hasn’t started (according to the calendar, summer starts on June 21st), I was on summer vacation and came back Saturday evening. The last 2 weeks I was at the Baltic Sea on the Island Usedom. It’s the most north-eastern part of Germany, next to the border to Poland. Usedom is known for being a very sunny area, so that they advertise with the slogan “the sun-island”. Despite, many parts of Germany suffered from bad weather with heavy rain and even some over-floodings, Usedom was dried out: 3 weeks without any rain, when we arrived. When we arrived we had nearly 30°C, crisp and cloudless blue sky and a smell of salt, resin and blooming flowers.
Not far from our vacation home, there was a white beach with very fine sand. Some beach chairs were waiting to be rented. You know, I love being at the sea. I love walking along the shore, listening to the birds, the soft wind and the sound of the waves.
On Usedom you can find several towns and villages. Not all of them are located at the coast. Usedom is the second largest island of Germany (Rügen is the biggest one, located next to Usedom). The island is 66,4 km broad and a bit shaped like a banana with much bigger ends (up to 23 km) then the middle part. The Baltic sea does not have a huge tide. You often even notice the difference between high tide and low tide.
Usedom is located not of the Germany capitol Berlin only in a about two hours drive distance. So, you can find many people from Berlin, here. At the end of the 18th century, rich people from Berlin started to go for vacation and spotted i.e. Usedom as a beautiful place for recovering from the stress and the dirt in the big city. At first, local farmers and fishers gave rooms to the city-people.
Next, entrepreneurs built villas and mansions for the rich visitors. These houses followed a very certain building style with ideas coming from the ancient greeks and romans. Today, that style is known as “Bäderarchitektur” (Resort architecture). I’ll show you some more examples in future posts. Fortunately, most of them are already well reconstructed and in very good shape.
To make the trip more comfortable, the coastal towns built piers in addition to the railway stations. So, the people were able to come by ship and have not only a comfortable stay but also a comfortable trip. We were for your stay in Ahlbeck, the town with the oldest pier. You can see it in the image above.
In the urban hinterland, you can discover many interesting villages by bike. The island has a dense network of bicycle tracks. Most of the island is quite flat, so you don’t have many problems with hills or so (despite, there are a few). You can even find a few lakes on the Island.