When we woke up this morning the sun was already bright with barely a cloud in the sky, so we just knew it was going to be another lovely day. 🙂
We found ourselves docked in Warnemünde, in the former East Germany and near to Rostock, which we’d visited on a Baltic cruise on the Caronia in 2002. After breakfast it was a case of assembling in the Neptune Lounge until our bus number was called so we could disembark the ship and start our excursion, which was called “Forgotten Fischland” and took us all through the town, along the picturesque seafront, through the countryside and onto a natural lake for an hour’s boat trip which included wildlife spotting.
Warnemünde is near the Fischland-Darrs district which is fairly rural. There were lots of absolutely gorgeous thatched cottages and houses, dotted here and there in little clusters among the trees and in the well-cultivated farmland and strawberry fields. Warnemünde is quite well-known for its strawberries and, every summer, teams of temporary workers come from Eastern Europe to pick the strawberries and make themselves some money. They are not particularly well-paid, only earning five euros an hour, but they get free accommodation and they are working in the sunshine in lovely surroundings, so it’s not all bad!
When we arrived at the lake we all boarded a river boat called the Ostseebad Wustrow which was a double-decker; you could either go below decks where they were serving good hot German coffee and a traditional apple cake, or you could sit in the sunshine on the top deck, although it was a little windy due to the movement of the boat.
The coffee and cake were lovely, as were the surroundings. We passed little villages and church spires and learned that, in this area, the majority of people were Protestant or Lutheran. There were also some little ‘islands’ in the lake on which there were bushes and scrubby trees, one of which contained a black-tailed eagle.
After we’d had our coffee we went up to the top deck to take in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine and gentle breeze. We watched our vessel manoevre its way through the bouys that marked out the route, until we once again reached the river banks and moored up at a tiny landing stage. Some of the larger houses had big back gardens that went right down to the river; what an idyllic spot to live in, and I’d imagine the house prices would have been pretty steep.
Once we’d alighted from the boat we rejoined our coach and continued our way through the picturesque villages until we came to a small rest area with a few shops, toilets and the ubiquitous “Karl” strawberry kiosks; the scent of the fresh fruits was mouth-watering. We also spotted a nearby stall selling cold German beer. So we bought a glass each and sat in the hot sunshine to enjoy them. 🙂
At the end of the tour we got back on board the Black Watch and dumped our stuff in the cabin, before enjoying an al fresco lunch up on the Marquee Deck. Then we disembarked the ship again to do a little exploring on our own.
The waterfront and beach in Warnemünde are absolutely superb; who would have thought the Baltic coast would have such a lovely, sandy beach just perfect for the many wind- and kite-surfers we saw. Of course, the ideal weather made all the difference, and we enjoyed a slow stroll along the waterfront, looking at the pleasure cruisers and private boats moored up, the little pavement cafés and bars, and the many souvenir shops, slightly reminiscent of the shops in British seaside resorts. The crowds were out in force, and it wasn’t just the Brits off the ships that made up the tourists; a lot of them were Germans because Warnemünde is a popular seaside resort for nationals as well. We could understand why.
We bought some postcards and stamps, then went down to the beach to write them out whilst enjoying a freezing cold glass of Rostocker beer. Deckchairs were placed nearby, along with empty wooden crates proclaiming their former contents “Malibu” on the sides; these acted (very effectively) as makeshift tables on which to place our drinks. 🙂
We sat in our deckchairs, our toes in the soft white sand, drinking our beers while we watched the windsurfers and the sea-breeze ruffled our hair. How absolutely brilliant was this?! 🙂 Listening to the mesmeric sounds of the waves rolling onto the shore I wrote out the postcards and just enjoyed the feeling of being alive in this lovely place.
We sat there for a while and then reluctantly made our way back to the Black Watch to get showered and changed. Dinner tonight would be a bit different; a German buffet served out by the pool deck.
After an afternoon nap (that’s the trouble with drinking during the day!) we got ourselves ready for dinner, but with a difference – tonight was a Nautical-themed night. I dressed in white trousers, a striped Breton top and added a sailor collar and hat I’d brought with me for the purpose. Trevor also wore a Breton top and added an Admiral’s cap. An inflatable seagull (!!!) completed the nautical effect and we were ready. 🙂
As we were making our way to the pool deck, we started to wonder whether anyone else had dressed up, as we seemed to be the only ones. But once we got there, striped tops and sailor hats featured prominently, along with the odd pirate. Lots of people had made the effort, but what seemed to be attracting the most attention (with people even stopping to ask for a photograph) was our inflatable seagull, who we’d nicknamed “George” (or we could have called him Stephen Seagull – geddit?) 🙂
We enjoyed another al fresco dinner of salad and German sauages and meats washed down with cold rosé wine, then went into the Neptune Lounge to get some good seats for tonight’s entertainment, which was called “Oceans” and featured the Black Watch Show Company. It was excellent; the songs were all sea and nautical themed (“Dancing with the Captain”, “Sailing”, “In The Navy” and many more) and the costumes and dancing were brilliant. Even George Seagull featured when one of the dancers borrowed him off me and held him up, to much laughter. 🙂
After the show we went into the Braemar room for tonight’s quiz, where we met up with the Cramlington couple, John and Linda, once again and formed a team (which John didn’t notice we’d called Mega Mackems) ha ha [gives evil laugh]. 😉
We thought we were doing all right, but we lost the quiz… by one point. Never mind, we had a laugh and afterwards returned to the poolside where a deck party was in full swing, with the “Serendipity” duo playing lively dance tunes. We enjoyed a few more drinks under the stars as the Black Watch slipped her moorings (a late one tonight; 11.00pm) and set off once more, to continue our voyage. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed Warnemünde as much as we did.
We finished the evening off in the Lido Lounge at the stern of the ship, where once again the conversation with John and Linda turned into “Mackems v Mags” (Sunderland v Newcastle) football banter – all very good natured, of course, lol. 🙂
Once again it was a late when we left the Lido Lounge, getting on for 1.00am. But we had another sea day to look forward to tomorrow, so at least we’d have a lie-in. 🙂