Saturday, 26 September 2015

Rostock and a Sailing Regatta

It was Sunday and very festive when The Arcadia anchored at Warnemunde on the north German coast. Turned out that it was the last day of the 25th Annual Hanse Rostock Sail. There was a carnival atmosphere and loads of people were all heading in that direction.

Before we tourists could either go and join in the fun or relax and watch the boats sailing up and down the river, it was time to go and tour.

Our guide was excellent, especially at helping us to understand what life had been like under Communism. Although there were restrictions such as how much money you were allowed to earn, so long as people kept their heads below the parapet, life wasn't too bad. Not good but bearable. And, as the guide pointed out, his parents' generation had suffered under the Nazi Regime. Now, since reunification things have vastly improved and life is good.

The drive to see the Cathedral and town of Bad Dobenan took us through the flat countryside. Meadows, woods, farmland and pretty thatched cottages. Sounds very English, doesn't it? But a lot less traffic.

Bad Dobenan is in the state of Mecklenburg which once had close ties with Great Britain. One of their Princess's, Charlotte, married a Hanovarian Prince and they became known as King George III and Queen Charlotte. Remember the film 'The Madness of King George'?

En route into Rostock we were told that because, during World War II the Heinkel plane factory had been located there, the town had been very badly bombed so much of the old town that we were to see had been rebuilt or renovated. The guide also pointed out some blocks of flats which were the original Communist blocks but have now been very much renovated. Both inside and out, with Architectural decorations and good paint jobs. They are now very much sought after residences.

We left the coach to take a stroll through the old town and get a feel of it and admire the beautiful gabled buildings which are either in red brick or stucco painted in various pastel shades. Being Sunday the shops were closed but the streets were crowded with tourists and residents.

Back on board the ship and having had lunch I settled on deck to watch the various regatta ships passing up and down the river. Everything from many masted yachts to rubber dinghies, some pirate galleons (one flying the Spanish flag), the steam driven ice-breaker Steltin and police boats scurrying hither and yon keeping the seaways clear.

If you get a chance to take a Baltic cruise, let me recommend one with Warnemunde as a port of call. There are several other places to visit from there including the island of Lubeck, famous for its real Gothic architecture.

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