Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Warnemunde & Schwerin, Germany

In between Stockholm and Warnemunde we had a nice relaxing sea day. It was much needed rest after 5 straight days of go go go. Warnemunde is the port for Berlin - but it's a 3 hour train ride to Berlin (so 6 hours round trip) and we decided that we didn't want to do that. When I was researching for our trip I found this adorable little town called Schwerin with a charming castle. I also found instructions on how we could take the train and do it ourselves but then I came across "Friends of Dave Tours" and boy am I glad we did. There were 17 of us on this tour (9 were our group) and we had a blast! Dave is an American who has lived in Germany for 10+ years and has been doing these tours for about 4 years after visiting Warnemunde on a cruise. Dave met us at the cruise terminal and we started with a walking tour of Warnemunde. It was raining on and off so pretty much the whole day we were in & out of our ponchos.

Warnemunde is a seaside resort town in Mecklenburg...it's located in former East Germany. It's crazy to see how much change the people here have seen in the last 25 years. It is a very un-Americanized port and was very interesting.

Lots of these trees all over Europe
Poncho time
After walking through the town we walked over to the beach area.

Hotel Neptun - Was used by the communist - they had half the rooms bugged
Beach chairs

After our tour of Warnemunde we had a quick stop at a local restaurant for coffee/tea and some delicious coffee cake, we went over to the train station to hop on the train to Schwerin via Rostock.

This smoking area cracked me up - like the smoke can't get out of the painted lines?!
Pretty view on the ride
Abandoned factory that made parts of the Berlin wall
Kind of eerie
Train station in Schwerin
Graffiti artwork on a building still needing to be restored from the war
Part of Lake Schwerin

A little sun before the rain
Adorable streets!
Gestapo building during communist rule
One of many row houses

Restored building
Un-restored building
Still has anti-Nazi propaganda
Yummy German food!
After lunched we walked over to Schwerin Castle. I love castles!! We did a self guided tour inside (you had to pay to take pictures inside so I don't have any) and walked around the grounds outside.

Lots of really pretty, OLD trees on the grounds

The castle is right on Lake Schwerin

We had about 45 minutes of free time after the castle before we had to catch our train. Justin and I spent it in the grocery store loading up on chocolate (as gifts, not for us!) and in the farmers market. It was really neat being in a non-touristy city because it was just filled with locals and Germans.

THREE Bernese Mountain dogs!
Farmers Market
Germans love their food trucks too...they have separate ones for meat, cheese, baked goods, etc.
Our tour guides - Stephan & Dave!

We had a relaxing train ride back to Warnemunde and were completely beat so we went back to the ship and enjoyed the German festival they were having up on deck with German music, food & beer! 

Then we went back to the room and watched the train from Berlin pull in (late) and the massive line of people waiting to get on the boat! We had a wonderful day and learned so much about this region of East Germany!