Day 3 – Germany: Priwall – Pepelow – 17 May 2016

It was a funny night camping out in the nature preserve that night.  Cat was very aware that camping just anywhere in Germany is not allowed, so to start with she was a bit uneasy about us crashing down in a preserve on a reasonably well-to-do island.  The moon, however, was very close to full, so its light shining through the tree canopy above with the wind blowing lightly startled her every few moments into thinking someone had spotted us with a flashlight.  In the morning, we woke up to discover we had not hid ourselves terribly well in the end anyway.  There was a lightly leafed bush between us and the path we came in on and otherwise we were pretty plainly visible in our little clearing.

We were up and packed by about 10am, and as we were fixing our bags to the sides of our bikes an older lady rode by and seemed to pay us no mind at all, so it seemed all was good.  When we entered, the night before, we had only ridden 100-200 meters in before we bedded down.  The path kept going, though, so we decided to go out the other end.  It was a beautiful ride through the forest which took us down some small paths, along the coast, and then back up by the harbor to where our ferry had docked.  Later, we would discover we rode about 5 km in a circle to find our cheese, bread rolls, and hot chocolates for the first of our morning breakfasts.

The Priwall Peninsula is the western most outcropping of what was the East German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.  The ferry of yesterday had brought us across the old barrier of Soviet yesteryear and much of the architecture on the other side reflected that.  The women who passed us in the streets, and the lady who sold us our breakfast, were all a little darker in complexion and stature and wore little shawl wraps over their heads.  We sat on the patio in the brisk morning air watching these little ladies come and go and tried to figure out what exactly a pair of workmen who came and went in their truck were actually doing that morning.

Around 11 we hit the road and finally got going.  Soon after crossing out of the peninsula we found ourselves up on a decently paved bike path that ran along a treeline through which we could finally see the sea.  We felt a little guilty about our layabout start in the morning, but after an hour of riding we came across a bridge over a tiny inlet going out to sea and got our first good glimpse of what we’ve now been calling the ocean.  We parked our bikes and took a stroll down to go look at the Baltic in clear view as a sort of ceremonial start to the trip officially.

From then on the sea stayed to our left and these amazingly yellow rapeseed fields would flare up, on and off, to our right as the hills rolled.  Around 1pm, we came across a cute little coffee shop where we stopped for some coffee and our second breakfast of bockwurst and kaffee; also known as coffee & hot dogs.  Sounds fancier in German, doesn’t it?

Much of the day was much of the same, which isn’t to say dull or repetitive while riding, just dull and repetitive if writing it out.  The fields of rapeseed kept popping up, and every single time the color would just be startling; the yellow far more attracting to the eye than the blue-green of the sea.

Our next city was to be Wismar, which we approached from the more sprawling end.  There were a few guesses as to how to get to the center of things which led us off to some places very far from the center of things.  We ran across two girls from the neighborhood we were in whom we asked directions of, but we’re not sure if they didn’t know how to get to the center or if they plainly didn’t know what Cat was saying in German.  My guess is that we were in one of the storage places for some of the many, many Syrian refugees that Germany has taken in over the past year or so.

A carton of strawberries later we ran smack into the old city center, distinctly changing character from where we had been when the roads went cobble and the architecture took on the grandeur of the Hanseatic days.  Since both Cat & I are still on the job, our aim was to find a cute little cafe, have a cake and a coffee, and do some internet work.  This, we began to discover, would not be as simple as we might have thought.  Apparently eastern Germany doesn’t carry wifi as readily as in the west.  We rode shop to shop finding plenty of coffee shops, but none with wifi.  In the end we found the library, and for .50 € each, we could check in on our emails for half an hour.  This was plenty, as neither of us had pressing business, but just need to check in, see if there’s anything urgent, then move on and the half hour limit would keep us from getting distracted.

On our way out we picked up some groceries and finally some rubbing alcohol to use as fuel for our stove and were off.  The ride out was as gorgeous as the ride in.  We were on a main road now, but still sparsely populated with cars, but lined with trees overlooking the sea.  An old windmill caught our attention as a possible campspot, but there was another campground we were considering in a town by the sea called Pepelow.  We found that easily enough, but our experience with wild camping the night before had given us a taste for it, so we went straight passed it, walked a bit down a beach front path and found a beautiful spot about 100 meters from the beach.  We cooked a scrumptious pasta dinner with fish and crashed out after the sunset.