…we’re just busy with other things. I’m sure once our adventures start up again, we’ll get back to this blog. In the meantime, go check out Postcards from Luisa.
Ok. We did this adventure in July. I know. I’m slacking on this blog thing.
You’d think that a country bordered by eight other countries didn’t have much space left on its border line for a coast, but this is Europe and there’s room for everything here, even if it is just a little squeezed in. So one July weekend — possibly the best July weekend to choose to do such a thing — we packed ourselves into our friend’s car and headed for the coast.
It was an island really. Rugen joined to Germany by a 3.2 kilometre bridge (that we inadvertently drove over three times on our way to the coast) and it’s where you find the seaside town of Binz. To say its charming is an understatement. Even though I’ve never been to the southern U.S., Binz made me want to want to fan my face with my hat and say “I do deh-claaare.”
It was originally built up as a seaside resort in the 1890’s. When the First World War hit Germany, it started to fall into neglect. Then the Second World War came and with its resolution, Binz with its charming white hotels found itself well behind the East German border. It fell into a deeper state of neglect until a few years after reunification. The sandy beaches became littered with Strandkorben or beach baskets once again and their hotels restored to their former glory, complete with stained glass balcony dividers.
A trip to Binz on the Island of Rügen is like a little trip back in town. You expect people to be there in 1920s-style bathing outfits to be sunning themselves in the beach baskets, but all you get is the usual European speedo. Nonetheless, it’s charm isn’t lost on the families that populate the public beach area in front of the baskets. The pier let’s you wander far out into the water while keeping your shoes dry, but the temperature is fine for swimming if you need to cool off. That weekend, we definitely did. Even though we escaped Berlin’s blazing 34-degree temperatures, we were still sunning ourselves in 27-degree heat, which is my perfect seaside temperature.
The restaurants on the promenade all offer local sea fare and you can tell which is the good bakery by the line-up of visitors it has in front of it at 8:30 a.m.
And if you’re in the mood for a little GDR mode, you can walk down to the end of the beach and check out the remaining life guard tower. Built in 19638, it was one of two, but the second is no longer with us. Now, you can book your civil wedding ceremony to take place on its sand-covered floors.
We didn’t get a chance to see the white cliffs of Rügen up close, but our little weekend in Binz left us wanting to go back again. With our group — two couples, one pregnant and one engaged — we decided we would definitely have to come back again next summer with and put our little families under a beach tent.
Yes, yes, I’m always a few weeks behind Sabine. Some photos from Sardinia…
Do you know how longs its been since I’ve sat on a beach? I’ll admit I miss Vancouver’s beach access, but those beaches don’t really compare to the ones Josh and I were soaking up on last week.
A year after our first foray into Italia, we were back, but with the other side of the family. After an exhausting five days touring my mom and her three friends around Berlin, we all went to the island of Sardinia, just off Italy’s west coast, for some much needed Vitamin D infusions.
We planned a one-week holiday in the northeastern corner of the Island and flew into Olbia, where we met the Cologne contingent of our holiday group (Oma, Uschi, Helmut and Olga). The area is very new, having mostly been developed just in the 1960s as a luxury resort. Its been used as location for James Bond and was the where Princess Diana enjoyed her last vacation.
It was just what we needed. The weather cooperated every second day, and without fail, we sat on pristine sand beaches and swam through the perfectly turquoise waters to cool down. The rest of the time? We were doing what we do best abroad: eating.
We didn’t have quite the same cooking lesson as we did when we were in Tuscany with the Devins clan, but we certainly took the menus to the limits.
While we stayed at the Hotel La Rocca in Baia Sardinia, the rest of our group stayed at La Murichessa, a bed & breakfast in the Sardinian hills run by Annalisa. Despite our “non-guest” status, we were invited to dinner almost every night. She and her assistant Radika cooked up nightly feasts that always included antipasti, a salad, home-made pasta, a regional meat specialty and dessert. It was amazing.
But its not always about the food.
After lazing about the edges of the sea for five days, we hopped aboard the Due Lune catamaran captained by lawyer-turned-sailor Claudio to explore the sea itself. It was a beautiful day, with temperatures that lured you into the sea. We motored out just past La Maddalena Island and then Claudio let the sails rip and turned the engines off.
We puttered just past a beach that is now closed to the public because too many people had taken jars of its pink sand as a souvenir and anchored at another beach. We waited for lunch sunning ourselves in a boat-access-only beach and enjoyed a simple lunch that the sea air made us really hungry for.
And then, despite not waiting the fabled 30-minutes-after-lunch, I slowly went into the water (I’m sure it took me about 30 minutes to get into the water anyway). I swam all around the boat, adding another “done” thing to the list of Baby Devins: swam in the Mediterranean.
To cap the day off, we settled in about an hour away from the dock that the Due Lune calls home to watch a round of the Louis Vuitton regatta. It took a while, but the race finally began and we were stationed right by the buoy that the two ships had to go around. It was amazing how fast it went.
After eight hours at sea, the Due Lune finally docked and we took our even-browner selves back to the Murichessa for one last dinner with the family.
We came back to Berlin, just in time to be greeted by summer weather and a city gripped in World Cup fever…
Ok. So not quite yet. But our adventure is about to get a whole lot more adventuresome.
We don’t have any big trips trekking the Urals or floating in the Dead Sea. We’re not moving to Shanghai or even moving back to Vancouver. We won’t be hiking around Interlaaken or spending a summer observing Orca whales in the northern waters of Norway.
Our adventure is much more domestic.
And way bigger.
On November 30, 2010, we hope to meet our little expat baby.
Yes, we’re now the Expectant Expat Newlyweds, and no, we’re not dropping the Newlyweds.
So as we travel to Sardinia next week, we’ll be travelling for three. Sabine has already resigned herself to an Italian holiday away from wine and prosciutto. As we get to Canada for July, we’ll be travelling for a bigger three, and Sabine will just have to toast to Andrew & Mel’s everlasting happiness with apple cider. There will be other things: she already misses the cheese breakfasts and is mourning the loss of the summer beer garden.
But in Italy, she’ll console herself with gelato. In Canada, it’s not about her anyway. And, to be honest, the summer has been pretty non-existant.
And in the end, we’ll have a little Berliner baby, and we’re sure it will be worth it.