About two hours north of Berlin is an island called Rugen where Germans flock when the weather is favorable. It would take about 45 minutes to drive completely across Rugen, or a few hours if you stop in the many towns to explore.
We wandered to the Northeast point at Putgarten and the Arkona cliffs, where military bunkers and three lighthouses were the greatest attractions. The cliffs continue to erode away by the ocean, and rock walls have been built to slow down this process, with meandering paths and steps down the cliff side to the ocean.
Navigating the paths in Rugen can be treacherous since there are stinging nettles lurking, just waiting to ruin your day with a burning sting and then an itchy welt. My companion made the mistake of thinking it was mint leaf and picked one, almost putting it up to his nose and in his mouth for a refreshing flavor. Thankfully we realized what it was before he went that far, and instead he only endured a numb finger for a few hours.
One of the lighthouses had been turned into an artist’s studio with jewelry and precious stones. Such a creative way to enjoy a landmark and still offer purpose. Germans seem to have a knack for enjoying small spaces to their fullest! From a small path through the carefully manicured forest, to a single lane street through the trees, they would rather protect the trees and allow cars to maneuver themselves against on-coming traffic.
We continued south towards the seaport Sassnitz where our ferry would take us tomorrow to Sweden, but just before Sassnitz we discovered the beaches along Glowe. Incredible forests and hundreds of paths lead to the beautiful sea and an incredible beach. You can have your pick as the beaches are on both sides of the road. We made it just in time for sunset and a few photos, as the wind had died down for dusk and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.
Just outside of Sassnitz we stumbled upon a Castle Hotel called Schloss Spyker, which is a 700 year old castle renovated into a charming hotel. Nice history, a beautiful setting near the water, and just $85 for the night. We spent the rest of our evening enjoying a lovely dinner in the cavern dining hall over candlelight and a Sade CD playing on repeat.