Friday, August 7, 2015

Rostock and Warnemuende

Friday isn’t the only day we traveled of course!  Saturday meant another trip, this time by train! Yay trains! You all know I love train travel.

This one was a two hitter also, and like most two hitters I just didn’t feel like I got enough time at either place. This time, it was Rostock and Warnemünde. As a note, that ‘r’ in Warnemünde is nearly silent. It’s very soft when you pronounce it.

Back to the super awesome train though. This train was a double decker. I kid you not. Two. Levels. Is that not the best thing ever? The answer, by the way, is heck yes it is the best! Oh man. The only downside was that Rostock is basically the place to be in Northern Germany on the weekend during the summer. It was so crowded, we couldn’t all find seats together. This was a problem because we had one ticket that covered five people at once. It was one of those special deals that travel companies put on for groups, and there just weren’t five seats in one area together!

I got to sit on the stairs for the first half, but one the ticket lady saw us once, we could split up in the same car, and you bet your bottom dollar that I went for the top as soon as I could go for the top. Of course, I only had the second class ticket, and you know first class took up most of the second floor of the cars. But there were some seats for us second class ticket holders and I took full advantage of people leaving the train to hurry up before someone else could take one.

It worked out well! Second story rocks people. Nicer seats, a better view, and heyo, nice company too! Hi Dude! Great Star Trek talk there. Great talk.

Okay, so for the most part, the plan was to stick to the group we traveled with, largely because only one person’s phone worked overseas. Hello my phone company? You’re driving me away here with this just so you know.  Seriously dudes, I’m switching soon as I find a cheaper company that’ll let me keep my number and phone.

Anyway, our first stop was at the old watch tower, which was, of course, dutifully admired and questioned our German Camp Leader over. He didn’t have all the answers, but he did have the internet, which was dutifully queried until we were satisfied. It was a glorious tower, by the way, and the city shield, along with the shield of the Duke who basically commissioned the entire town, was displayed. There was also a bull on the tower but just the head, looking very fierce.

After that, it was a quick walk to the visitor center, with a stop by one group member to get a pair of shoes she wanted. It took about an hour of carrying around the shoe box with her old shoes in it to regret that, I believe. At the visitor center, we picked up a map and set out, after making a brief plan.  We went straight to the Marien Kirche (Church of St. Mary) and explored the place well, checking out all the wonders of an old church, and one wonder most old churches don’t have.

That would be a ridiculously detailed astronomical clock which worked from sometime in the 1400s to 2017, and told you everything from the time, to the day of the week, to what time Easter would be that year, and what name day is was! Jiminy Cricket, it was ridiculously detailed, and all of it in the old German calligraphy that is so hard to read.

For lunch, we decided to have something local, and not ‘just a snack.’ The Germans consider lunch the biggest meal, for the most part, and portions reflect this greatly.  We chose to eat at the Gaststätte Ritter Runkel. In English, this is the restaurant, Knight Runkel. I had a turkey salad which had no dressing, and weird, weird toppings on my lettuce, but I wasn’t very hungry. I was too busy being amused by the weaponry hanging up everywhere. Crossbows, pikes, awes, swords, and a suit of armor.  The take the knight theme very seriously there, but it was definitely good food and worth every Euro.

And then we noticed the time. We had two more churches we wanted to hit up, but only an hour left to get back to the train station. We could do it. Barely. If we didn’t go inside the churches. We had agreed to meet at the train station at a certain time if we got separated, and by that time, we had lost one member of Team Us.

What a race! First we hit up one church, stop, take pictures, and then check the time. No time to take more than one or two, and we’re off! The next church was officially on the way to the station, and we hurried on, only to discover that one was largely under construction. Well, that’s alright, we snapped several pictures and hurried on, making it with five minutes to spare to meet our missing member. It looked like, however, she had gone ahead with another group. So then we were off! To Warnemünde!

We only have a few hours in Warnemünde, and wanted to make the best. After setting a new time to meet up, and promptly ending up split up we were off! The idea of a boat tour on the Baltic sounded like the best idea to me, but we had one problem. All the boats would have gotten in too late for the time we set to meet up again. The reason? A boat the size of an entire apartment complex would be on the move, supposedly leaving harbor, at the time of the tour’s end, so we wouldn’t be able to land! Talk about added time. 

Seriously though, those cruise ships are super huge. I had never been so close to one, and the pictures do not do them justice. It’s like someone forced a New York skyscraper into a boat shape. We didn’t have the time to do more than check out three light houses in this town, but that was cool! Also somehow lighthouses are always so much smaller in person. I’m always surprised that something so thin and short can play such a very important roll.

Or course, Warnemünde had been chosen by our German Camp Leader for a reason. Hello rock concert! We only really had the time to stick around and see Jorvis life in person. It wasn’t a screaming field of fans sort of concert on the beach. More like a family friendly venue thing. The music was good though.

Better, it was all on the beach, and the weather was warm enough to go in today! Of course, I didn’t have my swimsuit on, but I did walk in to just below my knees, and let the surf get my pants cuffs wet. I have stood in the water my ancestors stood in. Never mind that everyone knows Vikings totally sailed in the Atlantic too. The Baltic is more Viking-ish, I’m sure.

And then we had to catch the train so we could get to our train!   This was a true time crunch, as we ended up having to go through the concert goers, promised by a group member that this would be a short cut. We couldn’t be late, so kept moving at a fast walk, cutting around groups with all the skill we could. We managed to get there just barely on time, but with no time to grab food.  As a note: Going THROUGH the concert and not AROUND is never ever a short cut, no matter what.

Of course, by this point I was tired, but glad we weren’t going in on the last train in. But it was now dinner time, and I was hungry. There was a Chinese place at the station and too tired to translate anything, and with no clue what Chinese names would be in German anyway, I ordered the cheeseburger.

That’s right, I had an American Cheeseburger at a Chinese restaurant in Germany.

Well. ‘American.’ The condiments were all replaced with one single condiment of a Thousand Island sort of dressing, but chunkier? I have no clue, but it was pretty good.

Of course, following this, we still had one more day of exploring to do. 

One Final Byte: My feet stood in the waters of Vikings!

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