We approached Rügen from Klintholm (see Klintholm Scenes) late afternoon and navigated through the narrow winding channel separating it from the neighbouring island of Hiddensee. It became obvious that with Pipistrelle’s draft, the small, shallow marinas at Vitte (Hiddensee) and Wiek (Rügen) were not suitable for us, despite offering shelter and picturesque settings.
Entrance to Vitte – crowded!
Narrow winding channel
So we anchored in relative protection off Schaprode bay instead, and waited for the rain and wind forecast for the following couple of days. It came. We battened down the hatches and went nowhere.
The Island of Rügen
Observing anchoring rules!
Put into perspective, Rügen is Germany’s largest island by area, located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. With its sandy beaches and varied landscapes, it is a very popular tourist destination, day trippers using frequent ferry services to and from nearby Stralsund.
As it looked as though the weather was going to remain unsettled with increasingly strong winds, we decided to take advantage of a gentle northerly to get us to the safety of Stralsund City Marina – about a three hour sail. Of course, the wind piped up, making getting alongside challenging but with helping hands to take our lines, all was well. Next to the marina lies the old harbour with its ‘Lotsenhaus’ or pilot house, the modern Oceanarium as well as the former Reichsmarine naval training ship, the Gorch Fock.
Off Stralsund marina – impressive skyline
The Pilot House
New Oceanarium (left) and Gorch Fock (right)
Being ahead of most other yachts gathering in Stralsund for the start of the Cruising Association ‘Rügen Rally’, gave us the chance to get our bearings and do some exploration of our own. We treated ourselves to dinner ashore on our first evening and quite by chance stumbled upon ‘Zum Scheele’ which must be the best restaurant in town – very enjoyable on a balmy summer’s eve. Wednesday evenings see competitive racing from the marina which draws the crowds.
Zum Scheele courtyard
Racing round the cans
We knew Stralsund had been part of the old Hanseatic League from 13th century (see Lübeck post) and would therefore boast an abundance of historical buildings in the red brick Gothic style. Sadly, many had fallen into disrepair as part of East Germany (the GDR) from 1949 to 1990. Then, more emphasis was put on constructing prefabricated ‘modern’ apartment blocks when the main industry was shipbuilding for the Soviet Union. After reunification in 1990, the old town was restored, the apartment blocks were renovated and upgraded. In 2002 Stralsund was declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
Having lived and worked in Mannheim (West Germany) for 14 years until 1988, Elaine had never before visited this part of the country, the GDR being out of bounds to West Germans, and cut off from Western Europe. With today’s freedoms taken for granted, it was hard to remember the repression of just thirty years ago.
So back to Stralsund in 2019. We explored on foot and were rewarded with fascinating sites and sights. Before setting off on the Rally, we did a walking tour around the old city. The photos are a collection taken over a few days.
Typical historical buildings
Dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, St Nicholas church is one of three Lutheran churches in Stralsund, located to one side of the old market place, very close to the City Hall. The old city wall still exists with various watch towers.
Portal of St Nicholas church
City Hall with St Nicholas church behind
Market Square with church and City Hall
Kütertor – one of several watch towers in city wall
While Bob climbed to the top of the tower at St Mary’s with other courageous folk to be rewarded by a fantastic view of the city, marina and Rügen beyond, this was definitely not for the fainthearted or those with no head for heights!
St Mary’s Church
View from the top
Consequently, Elaine stayed at ground level and took in the beautiful church interior while listening to wonderful organ music.
Worth a special mention are two other ‘events’ that neither we nor the Rally organisers had any influence over.
The first was the, for us, surprising gathering of assorted naval vessels, helicopters and other hardware for what turned out to be the German Armed Forces Day. Even the Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel was there on the podium giving a speech, relayed on a big screen. This is after all part of her constituency. Unfortunately, the weather was poor, but that did not prevent an army style air sea rescue demonstration taking place right in front of us.
The second was the absolutely astounding full moon which rose just behind the Rügen bridge.
Rügen bridge by day with Ziegelgraben lifting bridge behind
Having dressed Pipistrelle overall to herald the start of the Rügen Rally and done much socialising with other participants, it was time to head off on our course towards Poland.
Dressed overall in Stralsund
England expects ….