Tuesday 26thJune 2018
We got up and had breakfast at O’Sheehan’s bar and grill. It was fabulous. This restaurant is a complimentary one and opened 24 hours a day. Kim went to a breakfast buffet on the same level as our cabin. We have our cabin on deck 8, which luckily is the same level as the evening entertainment. We were able to get off the ship very quickly and were waiting for our tour group.
They arrived without incident and we headed straight up to Schwerin. The weather didn’t look great, but Phil had checked the weather report and it was going to fine up. We travelled on some Autobahns with the cars almost flying past. Unfortunately the bus could only travel at 100 km/h – whilst the cars have no speed limit at all – hence the almost flying. Our tour guide was Karen and there was another tour guide on the bus as there were two groups on the bus (groups were about 20 in each group and there were 40 people on the bus). They were alternating between each other to explain the things that we were seeing outside the bus.
They were explaining that the government had made a commitment to close all of the nuclear power stations by 2020 and that was why there were lots of massive wind turbines and solar panels in fields next to the autobahn (highway). They were also explaining that this area of Germany is the least populated area so there is still lots of forest around that people enjoy hunting in with wild animals.
We arrived in the outskirts of Schwerin and drove around the massive lake towards the town centre. The driver pulled over so that we could have our first sight of the castle out of the bus window with the gardens in the foreground! Wow! The sun had come out just as we pulled into the city. It is stunning.
We then went into one of the garden areas and split into the 2 groups. We walked through the gardens with Karen explaining different things. This area where we were walking was also used by the Grand Duke (who built the castle)and his family to walk. Any further away and it wasn’t considered a ‘leisure walk’ and so was done on horseback or horse and carriage.
We went into the castle and did a self guided tour – directed by roped off areas. The items in the castle were gorgeous and we enjoyed it, but a lot of the windows were filthy so we couldn’t get many photos of the castle from within the castle. This was disappointing. We couldn’t go into the courtyard as there was a theatre group rehearsing on a purposely build stage. We had an hour to explore the castle.
Phil, Kim and I spent 40 minutes inside and then went outside to take photos of the gorgeous grounds and the magnificent castle. The views across the lake were just stunning.
We met our tour guide and headed into the town of Schwerin, walking through some of their streets. Karen mentioned something and we realised that this northern area of Germany was in East Germany and under Soviet rule until the reunification of Germany in the late 1990’s?. We walked through the square and saw the beautiful church. We then headed for lunch (which was included in the price of the tour). We had decided in advance what we would have – Phil and I had herbed chicken, roast potatoes and some vegetables. Kim had slow roasted pork, spaetzle and some vegetables. We each also got a soft drink, beer or wine complimentary with the meal. Kim went out hunting for Coke zero. I ordered a Diet Coke.
We had a lovely meal sitting in the beer garden of this gorgeous old hotel in the sunshine. It was perfect! We then had some free time to explore this beautiful area prior to getting back on the bus. Phil found a place selling ice cream. Kim went shopping and bought a beautiful leather pouch that she can put her passport and other cards needed for overseas travel. It is gorgeous.
We walked back through a different area to get to the bus. Karen was showing us the different styles of buildings, including the ones that were built by the communists. Luckily they ran out of money and didn’t knock down too many beautifully historic buildings.
We got onto the bus and travelled back to Rostock. We had a walking tour through Rostock next, after a quick bathroom break. This is another stunning town. We were amazed by the church and the whole town square. Karen was telling us that Rostock had celebrated their 800 year anniversary last weekend. Eight hundred years old!!!! Wow!
Karen explained different things about the town and then we headed to the church. It was gorgeous. Karen had said that the town of Rostock had been bombed heavily during World War 2 and she showed us some images where every building around the church was bombed, except the church. They were manufacturing planes near the harbour.
The church was beautiful and exuded a feeling of peacefulness. Within the church there were many amazing features. We walked behind the altar and there was an astronomical clock. The clock was created in 1472 and provided the people of the city with amazing information that was advanced for the time. The clock was vitally important so that the bell could be rung at the right time, so the people in the city knew what time it was, as most people didn’t have watches. There was also information for the month, the date, how many hours of daylight and dark, the moon’s phase, which date Easter will fall on and the zodiac.
It was astounding that they were able to create something like this so long ago and that it continues to work today. There are a group of volunteers who upwind the clock manually at 8:00 am every day and have done so every day in recent history. During WWII the clock was protected by building a wall around it to protect it in case of bombings, however the people who are upwinding it still needed to access it. Luckily, the church was not bombed during WWII, although other buildings around it were flattened.
Karen explained other points of interest in the church and then we walked out towards the fountain in the town square. Kim opted to stay in the church and spend some more time there and meet us at the bus. The square is gorgeous with lots of open air restaurants and bake houses – although none that sold black forest cake – perhaps it was too late in the day or too hot a day for it. This was the biggest disappointment for me.
We all got back onto the bus, including Kim, who was so happy. Just after we had left, an organist and soloist came into the church and started singing. She said it was so amazing. The acoustics were unbelievable. This is such a beautiful city.
The driver and guides opted to take us on a scenic drive through Warnemunde (where the other group’s cruise ship is). It is such a pretty seaside town. We dropped the other people off at their cruise ship and then they dropped us back to ours. We got back about 7:00pm. We walked past Guest Services and so Kim spoke to them about some questions that she had. We then went to dinner at Savor, which is a complimentary restaurant. We ordered off the menu and the food was cooked for us. It was lovely.
After dinner, once again, we headed to Syd Norman’s Pour House for some great music. We had had a few drinks (luckily we have the unlimited drinks package) and we were singing along with the band. No karaoke tonight though – thankfully. We headed back to the cabin and needed to put our clocks forward one hour.
Sea day tomorrow, so time to relax and recharge. We organised to meet for breakfast at 9:00 am