The Baltic – again

It seems like most trips we are taking this year take us to the Baltic Sea. This weekend we returned once again to our favorite island Usedom. We often visit the same old places, but they are always different, mostly depending on the time of year we are there. It’s high season now and it was busy, but with a not so great weather forecast for the weekend it was not overcrowded at all – and the weather was fabulous!

The hotel was not right at the beach, but at Lake Gothen.



Just as well hanging out and enjoying the view.


The beach at the German side of the island.



The beach at the Polish side of the island.



Watching the sunset over the lake.



Good night.

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Latvia

Spending each night in a different place can be quite tiring, so we took a break from the road when reaching Latvia and spent a few days at the beach in Jūrmala.
When I first walked up on the beach there were people in bathing suits to one side and people with coats and hats to the other. 10 minutes later I was wishing for a hat too – it was quite windy.


But it got nicer and warmer every day and we were able to fully enjoy and appreciate the Latvian beach culture with the cafes/bars in the tents along the beach.


And the sometimes quite impressive new and old buildings along the beautiful tree-lined roads.

 

Of course we also spent time in Rīga – a beautiful city, full of history and wonderful (art nouveau) architecture. Also full of tourists, mostly in groups… and you can tell at every corner that the city lives off those tourists. I found it a little overwhelming at times.



Next stop: Kuldīga, a small city (ca 12,000 inhabitants) in Western Latvia: very charming. 




They also feature two prominent waterfalls and quite impressive sandstone caves in a village nearby. And yes, in case you were wondering, we did do the walk across the river just above the falls.


Just as nice as staying at the beach and visiting the cities was driving through the country side on small roads.



Finally crossing back into Lithuania… I walked…

Prelude in Poland

Despite having planned a trip to the Baltics starting in two weeks, we’ve decided to take a little pre-trip over the weekend to Poland.
A few years ago we stopped in the seaside town of Miedzyzdroje for a couple of hours saying right then and there that we needed to come back some day – so here we are.

I wanted to catch the moment of us crossing the border and was a little shocked that the second I pushed the button to take the photo the police car came into view… There are no border controls though as you are passing from one EU country into another.


The whole trip only took us about 2.5 hours.


Already on the way into town we had many happy “I remember this”-moments and during the first stroll through town they kept coming.

Especially memorable was this old building, which still looks exactly the same as on our last visit about seven years ago.


But of course there’s more…

The Polish walk of fame.


The pier.


The beach.


The arcades.


The park.


And (and this is definitely new) – so we won’t get homesick:

My second favorite beach…

I come here with my BBF, I take my husband, and this weekend it’s the girls… Ellie is of course always along and we take her picture, but it does not always generate a post – as I am here so often.


I am in Pelzerhaken at the Western German Baltic coast.

My sister asked me years ago what my favorite travel spots were, among them my favorite beach. She laughed when I said it was the beach where she lived and where we once lived together for a short period of time. It’s beautiful and of course it holds many memories and can therefore not compete with any vacation spot anywhere in the world.

Maybe that’s why my second favorite beach is only a three hours drive from my current home – by now it holds many memories too. And even if a visit does not always mean a post – it means a text and picture to my sister!

As far as the eye can sea

Have you ever wondered how far across the ocean you can see standing on a beach?

Well, I just did. And I figured I could ask my tried and trusted search engine or the mathematican on the sun bed next to mine.

Old friend Pytagoras apparently provides the answer – as was demonstrated to me quite clearly from the next sun bed.

The exact distance seems to be 4.7 km (2.9 miles) – more if you are higher up standing on a cliff or in a ship’s look-out (thank you, www, for the exact numbers).

This time of year

The first week of Advent people in Germany get their Christmas decorations from the attic or basement. Lights go up everywhere. Christmas markets open…

We on the other hand usually spend this week away at the beach in Egypt – filling up with sunshine for the long and dark winter in Berlin.

Nevertheless… catering to their mostly Christian guests the resort here also decorates the lobby and restaurants and I found this year that I am really missing something if they don’t. They’ve kept me waiting till Thursday until I had my tree and Santa.

And now I am even looking forward to getting home and putting up my own decorations… a little bit at least…

Mixing it up

Apparently, last year I had decided at some point during our week at the beach in November that on our next trip here I would give the newly opened spa a try.

When the sales people approached us this year I had all but forgotten about that resolution – but I had it pointed out to me by my travel mate. And when I booked a facial and pedicure he decided to come along. No, not just to keep me company, but to get his feet done too – minus the nail polish…

… no, I will not do this again next year. For the simple reason that while I enjoyed the treatment it really stressed me out to have an appointment during this otherwise time-less week. 

Turbulence

Our easy beach days were disrupted by several events yesterday.

There was a new shift coming in and a lot of new service staff started working, bringing more familiar faces and more (genuine) “welcome backs” – causing a few gentle ripples in our routine.

  
At the same time, the wind was pickung up, pushing in stronger and higher waves – fun maybe for the more experienced, but heavy on the weaker swimmers (without fins). The red flag went up, for a couple of hours first, then permanently.

   
 
The real blow came later still with a call and message from our neighbors back home (fortunately to be determined as a false alarm, but not until eight long hours later).

This is what happened:

Our neighbor heard a strange beeping noise from her bathroom window, but could not place it. She heard it again about 24 hours later when taking out the trash in the evening and she could now tell that it was coming from our (otherwise empty) house. That’s when the call and message came in. When we talked to her, she could not really give us any further details. She only sent her husband over to climb the fence and walk around the house to check it out later. He said it was clearly coming from the utility room. Well, we had a lot to think and talk about at a time we would usually have been asleep already… By the time we had decided on a course of action, both our neighbor and our friend with the keys were sound asleep and did nor hear their phones anymore… In my sleep the house drowned, exploded, people collapsed, chaos reigned…

We were delivered by our friend the next morning who discovered a malfunctioning (but still loud!!!) smoke detector and restored us to peace and quiet. Puh! Now we only need the red flag to come down.

Ellie’s on the road again – back at the Red Sea

For weeks I have been looking forward to this special feeling.  

We are back at “our” resort at the Red Sea in Egypt – and it did not disappoint. For weeks I have known exactly what to expect… the beautiful grounds, the friendly people, the delicious food, the sandy beach…just as it has been in recent years and I love it.  

    
I love having the staff greet us with “welcome back” – although I started to wonder when the 6th random person said it. I love tasting the before dinner gin tonic even before I had it in my hand – it never quite tastes the same elsewhere. I love not wearing shoes all day (except for meals), I love hearing at least six different languages spoken around me…

What surprised me (yet again) was snorkeling off the pier: coral in all shapes and colors – and fish!!! So many fish!!! Also in all shapes and sizes and very colorful. I really had forgotten how amazing it is. I felt instantly at home, relaxed, awed and happy. 

And then today this outstanding beauty was topped by spotting my first ever shark. It was deep and gone quickly, but it was a shark! 

I love being surprised in such a familiar setting…