Saturday, September 7, 2019

How to Get the Best of a Surprise Trip to Ückeritz

What could you do when you wake up very early in the morning heading to the beautiful Hamburg you have dreamed about all the week and you suddenly discover that your train have been cancelled?  Solving crisis is my favorite professional assignment and in less than 10 minutes and a couple of fast Google searches, a new destination was found: Ückeritz, in Usedom. Cheap ticket, train coming in 30 minutes, close enough to Berlin to make it into a one-day trip. So what if instead of an adventurous day in Hamburg I will spend the next hours at the Ostsee? And how could I forget that I haven't seen the see this summer?
Problem solved.

The train was full of bikers, the landscape quiet with white-and-black cow spots everywhere. It is close to Anklam and Greifswald, so I am not completely into foreign lands. We are out of the train, which almost tempted me to take it for another of stations more until Poland, but...no, need to stay focused. 


Around the train station there is nothing interesting to look around, except some beer gardens which are not tempting me too much as I dream of having lunch with a view over the sea. Driven by those hungry thoughts, I am walking and walking and walking for a couple of good minutes, on the concrete bordered by trees and following the line of families carrying besides children, colourful inflatable toys - pink flamingos are there too, of course, or bikers fully dressed in the lycra suits. 
When I was really becoming impatient - being patient doesn't count among my character features - I walk for another 5 minutes, follow another arrow and I can see the sand and the sea and the staple  beach chairs - Strandkörbe, as they are locally called.


You can book your chair with wlan, if necessary. The beach is full of people  - more or less dressed, but this is the cultural code, especially in the East and I am trying to get used with it, dogs and toys. The very white sand, typical to Ückeritz according to various reviews, is ligthning the mood and the landscae.


There are no big waves and the waters look clean, there are small white shells that I collect to gift them back home but will be crushed in my Mary Popping bag. 


After a round of beach walking - barefoot in the sand and when it is getting too hot, in the sea - it is time to get my lunch with a view. I have to go upstairs on a cliff, at Strandcafe Utkiek. Pricey, with plastic white tables and waiters from another epoch - even the dress code reminds me of other historical era. The fish soup is a mix too salty and nothing else. I don't finish it in the end.


Which leaves enough place to devour the plate with zander filet, adorned with boiled potatoes and some veggies. It is overall ok, which doesn't say anything about some outstanding taste. As for the sea view, I can hardly see it on the other side of some plexiglass surrounding the precinct.



Curiously, I am trying to see what can be done and seen outside the beach area. There are some wild forest patches, some stalls selling fish sandwiches - typical for the area - some fruit stalls and souvenirs too. 


The sea and its quietness is a far better option and this is where I want to spend the rest of the day - until I have to come back to the train station that's it.


Walking around the shores, barefoot in the sea is enough. I don't know to swim and not so keen to learn it, but happy enough to be at the beach - although I've seen much better beaches in my life. Living the moment is what I need for now. Who knows how much will it take until will see a sea again? (Hmmm, bigger waves and a more active sea is also something I am missing. Yeah, blame the impatient human nature I have).


The cotton candy clouds are a beautiful view, adding a welcomed dramatic touch to the still landscape.


DJ music, cocktails and some chaise longues and a much younger audience are calling for more action at Havanna (sic) Beach stall. Customer service-wise it takes a bit longer though to get a glass of something or a bite of local food, so I am rather going back to the promenade to refill. 


The typical sweet seems to be the quark bällchen - curd filled balls - but I've tasted various variants of it in other places in Germany as well. So, in my atypical carefree way, I order at the Ückeritzer Quark Bällchen some pancake and waffle with icecream. Street food style, fast service and not a bad taste. Today is not about excellence and high-standards, but about spontaneity and accepting life's normality.


This is how I actually spent my spontaneous day in Ückeritz. Observing the people, taking pictures, getting soaked into the last strong rays of the summer sun, a simplicity I cannot always afford. Was not what I expected for today, but was better than nothing. Call it the crumbs of my travel life, sometimes.


As I am still intensively looking for Germany's best beach, I actually enjoyed Ückeritz' simplicity. I even got some short walk through the woods, you see?

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