Thursday, June 16, 2011

Snapshots of the Weekend: Rügen

This past weekend was a long one thanks to the fact that even Berlin is good enough to give us a day off of work for Pfingsten (Pentecost) (nope, no clue what it is) and we were determined to make it a memorable one. (I say the city was good enough because in Berlin we have the fewest public holidays of any Bundesland in Germany. There are a heck of a lot more even lesser known Catholic holidays that the Bavarians get to take off work for, those lucky bastards.)

So, we did what we typically like to do for a mini-vacation and headed with two of our coolest pals to Rügen, a small island on the Baltic sea, about 2 hours (on a good Autobahn day) northeast of Berlin. Now, you've heard me talk about this island before and you might even remember how it looked in the dead of winter. And while that is awesome, summer is just oh-so-much better.

We did a whole lot of not much while there, which was just what the doctor ordered. We were rewarded with perfect summer weather on Saturday so decided to rent bikes and make our way to the beach for some sun and sand.

I'm not sure why they're taking a break without a beers in their hands, to be honest.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I want a boat. And no, size does not matter in the least.

In the background are the awesome chalk cliffs of the island. Sister, the boys, and I once took a hilarious, slug-filled and accident-prone trip up to visit them. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.

He likes to show off his Boston pride ever since our last visit there.

Our trusty matching bikes for the excursion. Complete with very mangled baskets.

So, apparently, and accidentally, we found ourselves on the FKK Strand. Which roughly translates to the entirely-too-naked beach. If you look closely, you can almost see one happy naked family in the right corner. I never cease to be amazed by the happy naked people who sit so casually (unfortunately that also usually means spread eagle) on their towels, chatting away with their naked friends as if it's the most normal thing in the world. I don't think my American self could ever turn that German.

The idyllic setting of our hotel, on a bodden, just a little inland from the ocean. (And yes, that is a stop for a version of a Petit Train--one of sister's and my European travel obsessions--in the background and no, I don't know what's wrong with us that we didn't ride it at all!)

The next day we headed up north to check out a bunch of overenthusiastic beachgoers try to break the World Record for the longest sandcastle in the World (previous record from 1991 in Myrtle Beach, USA, in case you're interested in things like that).

People volunteered to come and help out and let me tell you, Germans take competition very seriously. We overheard many a fight to the tune of, "Well, you wouldn't be cold if you kept working and digging, would you?!"

As Micha so aptly put it, "There is no fun involved when Germans build trenches." 

We, of course, felt no need to help out and focused our efforts instead on our daily beer consumption and relaxation techniques.

Until it started to rain, that is. At which point we high-tailed it back to the comfort of the indoor, window-enveloped pool of our cushy hotel. (Sadly, I have no picture of that, but here's a peek if you're interested.)

On our final day, we decided to take the ferry back to the mainland, which I hadn't even known existed! 

Needless to say, I want a boat now more than ever.

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