Do widzenia, Poland and Guten Tag, Germany

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Europe » Germany
July 19th 2013
Published: July 26th 2013
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While we didn’t get dinner last night thrown in with our room rate we did get breakfast and we made the most of it with a good journey ahead of us to Stralsund, Germany on the Baltic Sea.

In fact the breakfast would have to rank up with the best we have had on the BBA V2 with everything we could have wanted from fruit juices to cereal and yogurt to bacon and eggs and sausages and even toast.

One of the things we have to watch as we leave countries that do not use the Euro is to spend the last, as best we can, of the local coins and notes as a lot of the Eastern European countries currencies have little or no value outside of their own country. So today after filling the car with diesel to the brim we headed for a Tesco supermarket in the city of Stargard Szczecinski (that would be a quadruple score in a game of place name Scrabble!)to top up the grocery box and spend the last of the zloty notes and coins we had in our possession.

We wandered around the supermarket aisles buying up what we thought we could use in the next few days filling a basket easily with goods.

Then came the checkout and while we thought we had done well in adding the price of each product we had in the basket we were two zloty’s short of the total bill. Only one thing for it, so we jettisoned Gretchen’s choice of chocolate bar on the clear understanding that the next time we needed chocolate the choice was hers.

We had one last thing to find out from our time in Poland before we left and crossed over into Germany. We had been noticing the huge expanse of what looked like spinach growing in fields alongside the grains and corn but had been surprised of the lack of spinach for sale in the supermarkets or local produce markets.

We felt we had a need to know but first we also needed to confirm the vegetable was in fact spinach. So we stopped at a field of the stuff after leaving Tesco’s and Gretchen got out and tentatively pulled at a plant only to discover that in fact it wasn’t spinach but a vegetable with green leaves but also a large white bulb which looked to be the edible part of the plant. It was not something we had purchased for ourselves and so we continued on the journey not knowing what its name and use is but at the next supermarket stop hopefully we will find out!

The R10 to the German border was an excellent road and as we crossed into Germany became the Autobahn #11, and the pace of driving picked up to unlimited speeds.

It is a strange fact that the sight of local number plates almost totally ceases after you cross into another country. One minute we were noticing PL number plates and the next they are gone and all you see are D.

Another fascination is what your ears pick up by way of the language being spoken and there have been some very significant changes with today no different between the softer Polish language with lots of ‘s’ sounds to the more guttural German with sharper sounding words.

There was nowhere more evident of this when we pulled into an Autobahn lay-by for a rest and a drink. Driving along at 120kph and other vehicles whizzing past us at goodness knows what speed is probably going to require more breaks from driving that what we have needed at a more sedate 80 to 90kph.

Lay-bys seem to pop up every 20 or so kilometres on the Autobahn and at our first stop we and our French number plated car felt well out of place amid the mostly black Mercedes,BMW’s and Audi’s heading like we were to for a stay on the Baltic Sea coast.

We had decided we had seen enough of the countryside for now and Germany didn’t look too much different to Poland and so we continued on our way to Stralsund on the Autobahn #20 cutting out the distance in very quick time.

With the summer holidays now in full swing and today being a Friday we found all that was available in Stralsund at a price we were happy with was the Motel Stralsund at €60.80, double the equivalent we have been paying per night. Goodbye cheap Easter Europe! The room was a good size and had all we needed so represented fair value we decided.

The fine weather of Poland deserted us as we crossed into Germany and the sky got steadily darker as we went west and rain appeared imminent.

However in the short time we were inside a supermarket choosing our dinner the sky cleared and warm early evening sun shone down.

Gretchen’s brother Chris had wanted us to check out an accommodation prospect at Prora for their next trip to Europe on the sizable island of Rugen which is joined by a bridge from Stralsund. And so with the weather improved we climbed back into the car and drove the 40km through the farmland on the island to the weirdest ‘hotel ‘we have ever seen.

During the 1930’s as the Nazi Socialist Party increased its power in Germany a Dr Robert Lay came up with an idea to build an expansive ‘holiday destination ‘for the workers at an affordable price modelled on Butlins Camps in Britain.

The brick and plaster building which is 5 stories high with at least 10 wings and what we estimated from the number of windows to be at least 600 rooms, is in amazing condition for its age, except for the broken windows.

The building though finished was never fully fitted out or used for the original purpose intended.

When it was built it may have had a view of the sea but today the sand hills had built up and only the upper floors would get extensive sea views of the Baltic.

In front and closer to the sea shore there was a tall brick wall and the remains of a wide set of steps. Just what this was for is unclear but it too had survived the years remarkably well.

The buildings are in a cleared area of the forest that runs along the land just back from the sand hills and all around holidaymakers are doing what they do on holiday walking to and from the beach past this monolith showing hardly any interest.

We did read later that over the years there has been interest to refurbish the building for various uses including a hotel but to date nothing has been concluded and perhaps its history might have something to do with that.However, on the other hand, no one has ever come along to tear it down either and it remains as a symbol of darker days of the past.

Being back above 54deg north the days seem to have got longer again with the twilight fading only as we drifted off to sleep at after 10.30pm.

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29th July 2013

Spinach or ...
I think your "spinach" was sugar beet.
29th July 2013


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