25-26/7/16. It has been a quiet couple of days enjoying the weather and the cycling along the coast.
Jonas had told us the 30 km or so from Greifswald to Stralsund included about 20 km of cobbles which did not appeal at all. There was the possibility of branching off to catch a ferry to the island of Ruggen, a popular holiday resort but marked by a lot of arrows (indicating hills) on the map, which would cut out half of this bumpy section. However, we decided to take the easy way out, otherwise known as the train!
From Stralsund (another impressive historic town, perhaps they surrendered to the Russians too!) we proceeded through rich countryside and little villages to Barth where there was a small campsite attached to the youth hostel. This was on a sloping site with the flattish areas pretty much full but we found somewhere to squeeze into that was reasonably level.
One of the key attractions of the hostel was clearly horse riding judging by the number of young girls walking in jodhpurs and riding boots. The stables and horses in the fields were a bit of a giveaway too. As was the number of flies which were everywhere.
The other notable thing about this site was the cost. We have paid as little as €9 for the two of us and it is generally around €15. Here it was €37.20, including local taxes! However, this did include the buffet breakfast in the hostel which, while not haute cuisine, was very edible so we made sure we got our money’s worth!
Before breakfast there was a short sharp rain shower, the first we had seen since the first morning in Berlin nearly two weeks earlier. It soon blew over and the tent dried quickly as the sun burnt off the clouds.
Leaving Barth we rode alongside an overgrown railway line and bridge which crossed to the far end of a long thin peninsula, the Darsser Schwelle, which is more like a spit enclosing a lagoon. We were to spend the rest of the day riding to the other end of the peninsula where it was attached to the mainland.
It is an extremely popular holiday spot which is clearly doing well out of the visitors, the villages looking very prosperous and beautiful. It was quite idyllic. Since we reached the coast we have seen a number of thatched rooves but here almost one in two houses have them, and they all look newly thatched, many with quite complicated roof structures including dormer windows.
From Zingst to Prerow the route went along the top of the dyke. Outside major Dutch and Danish cities, we cannot remember seeing a busier cycle path! It was an almost continuous stream of bikes in both directions. This was actually a bit of a pain because there was only just room for the two lanes of traffic so overtaking was very difficult and everyone ended up going at the pace of the slowest rider. And when someone stopped a traffic jam ensued!
At Dienhagen there were three campsites to choose from. We tried the first one and there was room – just! As everywhere seemed very busy we took it. The cost was cheaper but still at the upper end of the scale we have encountered at €20 plus €1 each for a shower, and the toilet and washing facilities were struggling to cope with the numbers on the site.
Just a quick word on the profile of the countryside. On the day into Barth (with the campsite on a slope) we encountered a few ups and downs in the last couple of km which could, just about, be called “hills” if you are prone to exaggeration but generally it is as flat as can be, as evidenced by the total climbing on Tuesday (the one on the peninspeninsula,according to the Garmin, we climbed 35 metres (just over 100 feet) all day – and we suspect that may be an overestimation!