Rügen, a German island in the Baltic Sea

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The Christmas tree we chopped down last week is still standing and after unwrapping our presents we have Fricassee for dinner. The next day we have the traditional goose with dumplings and red cabbage, oh how did I miss this in Australia.

One of the presents from my parents is a little blue bag that, upon opening, makes the noise of waves and seagulls. Inside I find a voucher for 2 nights in a 5 star hotel on Rügen, an island in the Baltic Sea. That is just awesome!

A day later I call up the hotel, to see if there is a room available for the next two nights and indeed, the friendly lady could book us in.

Off we are on a three-day mission to Rügen!

Before checking in at the Cliff Hotel on Rügen, we drive to Prora, a place with a lot of history. Hitler’s plan for Prora was to build a holiday camp for the hard working Germans, to regain their strength. The “Kraft durch Freude” (power through happiness) camp was supposed to hold 20,000 people at once. Hitler’s idealistic and militant views are reflected in the straight architecture and the size of the buildings seems to represent the large and strong German people and army. Today it’s all in ruins, sad and grey. In 1939 the war broke out and money went into producing weapons. During the war it was used as a station for wounded soldiers and after Germany lost the war, the Russians took over the buildings and destroyed parts of it.

Today there is a youth hostel in one of the 8 buildings that stretch over a length of 5km but there are no further plans for the rest of the massive structure, as it’s heritage listed.

Inside the museum we find original WWII blankets, helmets, dishes and more. There is a 18m model of the 5km long structure and it’s only now that we realise how long it really is. There are a lot of original documents like letters, newspaper articles and parts of schoolbooks full of fascist propaganda.

On our second day we are going to check out the “Königsstuhl”, a big chalk rock and cliff formation. To get there we have to walk for an hour through a beautiful old German forest and then down wooden stairs to the bottom of the cliff and a pebbly beach. It’s a bit frightening to stand below such a massive cliff, especially when you know that only yesterday a girl was buried underneath a landslide a few kilometres down the beach.

After a lovely dinner we are enjoying the pool and spa area of the hotel and try out the different saunas and do a few laps in the pool. Logan had to press the red emergency button in the sauna but I thought it was more worrying that no one actually came to check on us. At 10pm the sauna and spa closed and it was time for us to go to bed.

Weather has turned quite bad on our third day. Thick clouds, wind and rain have come over Germany’s north coast so our last day falls rather short. We choose to visit Prerow, a resort village with a nice wide beach and Ahrenshoop, the village of arts. Houses are painted in all sorts of colours and the thatched roofs look amazing. A life band is playing on a stage while people watch them in the rainy weather. We are just having a hot chocolate inside a café and then leave for Magdeburg.

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