We decided to drive out to the Stubenkammer headland to check out the Königstuhl, a 350-foot-high chalk cliff that is one of Rügen’s star natural attractions. En route we drove through Sassnitz, which seemed a bit run-down compared to Binz. We followed the rather confusing signs for the Königstuhl, located in
On the walk back, we veered off the trail to check out the Opferstein (“sacrificial stone”). Human activity in the area dates back to the Stone Age and apparently some of the people who lived here performed the occasional ritual human sacrifice. The stone itself wasn’t much to look at but someone had thoughtfully smeared it with red paint to simulate blood. Unfortunately John refused to pose as a model for my photo.
We decided that as long as we were all the way out here on the outer shores of Rügen, we might as well go a few more miles up the coast to Kap Arkona, the northernmost point in
There was a sort of mini-carnival set up near the parking lot so on the way back to the car we bought a bagful of sugary roasted almonds to tide us over until dinnertime. It was 4 pm by the time we finally got on the road and we hoped to make it to Lübeck in under three hours. On the way back across Rügen we drove by some run-down apartment blocks that gave us a taste of what most of eastern
We think we may have been among the first travelers to cross the new Rügenbrücke – as we drove across, people were flashing their headlights, waving, taking pictures, and we even saw a car go by with a TV camera hanging out the roof. We waved at everyone and smiled – maybe we were on TV tonight! On the way back to Lübeck I drove a nearly 200-kilometer stretch of unlimited, empty Autobahn at speeds of around 200 kph and managed to cut a full half-hour off our estimated travel time.
We arrived in Lübeck after dark and managed to find our hotel, the Park Hotel am Lindenplatz with just a bit more difficulty than usual. I had discovered this hotel on Trip Advisor (it was ranked much higher than the places listed in Fodor’s) and we found it to be a surprisingly nice place, located just a couple of blocks from Lübeck’s famous gate, the Holstentor. The Park Hotel takes up two restored townhouses and is decorated in a cozy modern style, with high ceilings and clean-lined wood furnishings. We checked in with the friendly gentleman at the front desk and dropped our things in our pleasant two-room suite on the ground floor, from which we could keep an eye on our car parked out on the street.
We ended up walking nearly all the way across the old city, past the magnificent Holstentor and Rathaus, to arrive at the Fischergesellschaft (Mariner’s Society), a famous restaurant that I had read raves about. John was annoyed by the long walk but it was so worth it! At first we were afraid the place wasn’t open because the entry was so dark, but the door was open and as we walked through we literally stepped back in time. We felt like we had stepped onto a movie set. The restaurant opened in 1535 and was a gathering place for shipowners and merchants for centuries (they didn’t allow women in until 1870). The cavernous room is full of long church-style pews and 400-year-old oak tables. Each pew is marked with the coat of arms of a city along the Baltic shipping routes, and each shipowner had their own pew and table. The huge oak beams supporting the ceiling sag visibly with age; huge model ships hang from the ceiling along with enormous brass chandeliers lit with real candles, and elaborate painted murals of shipping themes line the walls. We were seated along the side of the room so we had the perfect vantage point from which to absorb the atmosphere.
I was worried that it all might just be too good to be true, but the food was excellent as well. I had the classic Ostseescholle, a whole Baltic sole fried with crispy bacon and served with potato and cucumber salad, which was simply delicious. John had salmon with spinach, parsley potatoes, and hollandaise sauce. For dessert I had apple-marzipan Struedel and John had Rumtopf – vanilla ice cream smothered in rum-soaked berries. Our waiter was polite but aloof until the end of the meal, when he asked if we were living in
More photos from today: