The first stop on our cruise was Warnemünde, a seaside resort town in Germany. A sleepy fishing village for 600 years (until it became a resort destination in the 1800s) this stop gave us a great taste of the quaint picturesque fishing towns from centuries past. Nick and I chose to explore on our own, though we definitely weren’t the only tourists around. Warnemünde is an incredibly popular stop for cruise ships—I think ours was the third to dock that morning—and it seemed that we outnumbered the locals easily. Luckily we were able to escape the tourist traps and head into Rostock for a bit more of an authentic look at coastal Germany.
If you find yourself wanting to head into Rostock from Warnemünde the train is the way to go. It cost us around €5 for a day pass valid on trains, trams, buses and ferries—definitely affordable. After a twenty-minute ride where we were able to catch glimpses of suburban and rural Germany we arrived in Rostock. A quick jaunt on a tram dropped us off in the midst of Neuer Markt, basically the town center. Rostock is a beautiful town, its history blending perfectly with modern life. Walking down Kröpeliner Straße (yes I looked that up—I sadly haven’t learned German yet) we got to see a perfect mix of old and new. Kröpeliner Straße is the main pedestrian street, lined with shops and restaurants and opening onto courtyards where people stop to dine or be entertained by street performers. It ends with a mysterious and strangely beautiful sight; at the end of a modernized street stands a mid-14th century town gate and part of the city walls from centuries past.
What would a day in Germany be without a refreshing flagon of beer? Nick and I found a great place to quench our thirst as we meandered back to Neuer Markt. Sitting at a roughened wooden bench under a crimson canvas umbrella, watching the clouds break up a perfectly blue sky, we sipped Krombacher Pils until we were overtaken by giddiness at actually being in Europe. This was when it truly hit me that I was about to explore more countries in the next week and a half than I had visited in my entire life—if you couldn’t tell by the picture below (yes, I was definitely feeling the jet lag). On another note, Krombacher Pils was a greatly refreshing beer; light with a medium-bodied taste, it reminded me of a Kolsch with a bit more substance.
Once we drank our fill we retraced our steps to the tram and railway; luckily for us the German rail system is incredibly easy to use, even with limited knowledge of the language. We ventured down a few back streets in Warnemünde, finding the residential area, and made it to the beach for a quick glimpse of the Baltic from the shore. Though we didn’t get to spend nearly as much time in Germany as I would’ve liked it was a phenomenal first taste of the country. I’m excited to see how different larger cities are—whenever I make it there again!
City wall (Rostock)