After spending a few days in the city of Hamburg, the whole family was ready for a change of pace. An escape, if you will. So we a short drive up the coast to the resort of Travemunde on the Baltic sea. This, although a pretty port and lovely place, was not the final destination. This was where we picked up the ferry to the slightly more remote resort of Priwall. When I say ferry, that’s a little grand. It’s a little car transporting boat that takes the traffic across the harbour. You can see one side from the other and the whole process takes about fifteen minutes. But it felt like a mini adventure, especially buying the tickets in our best-but-still-limited-German. Crossing the water lets you feel like every day life is left behind.
Our home from home was a beach chalet nestled in the sand dunes and connected to the beach by sandy paths and a boardwalk. If your idea of a good seaside resort involves chip shops and amusements, this isn’t the place for you. The beach chalets are part of a holiday park, but facilities are limited. There is a small reception-cum-shop, a daily bread delivery , bikes for hire and a beach shack bar. And that’s about it. The beach and the Baltic sea are the stars of the show here.
This stretch of coastline is not hugely developed, possibly because it was borderland when Germany was divided. The pace is slow, the WIFI none existent. Spending time here is about getting back to basics, walking, sea swimming, embracing wellness. Long days spent on the beach watching the huge ships come and go. Being busy doing nothing.
The beach might be underdeveloped but in typical German fashion it was very well organised. The sand is zoned with areas for dog walking, swimming and nudity. Apparently the watch towers for soldiers guarding the old border were right opposite the nudist beach. If it’s your thing, going ‘textile frei’ won’t raise any eyebrows here.
If you want to make a day of it, you can rent the typical German Strandkorb beach chairs. They can be rotated to catch the sun or turn your back to the wind. The canny Germans have thought of everything and these seats even feature a folding shelf for your book, sunglasses, morning coffee or glass of champagne. Much nicer than a towel on the sand and perfect for the changeable weather blowing in off the Baltic.
After a few days in high-end, fast-paced Hamburg it was a complete change of pace to spend time just messing about on the sand. The tide line was rich pickings for beach finds. Along side a pretty collection of sea glass and shells, we also found a lot of dead crabs and a washed up, eel like fish. Gruesomely fascinating. If you want pleasant beach strolls and general seaside loveliness, I’d advise against taking a seven-year old boy with you. They like dead stuff , ask a million questions and always need the toilet when your about three miles away from them.
While the deceased wildlife was no issue, we did have a few niggles with the living variety. The sea on this stretch of coastline slopes very gently and remains shallow until you are some distance out, making it perfect for none swimmers and families. And not even that cold, in the height of summer. But, it was infested with jellyfish. And I’m talking tea plate size with long, trailing tentacles. Initially, we decided to be bold and undeterred by a bit of wildlife. But then two of us got stung and we all felt a bit less brave. A shame, as there’s something lovely about swimming in the sea.
Back on dry land we discovered that the sea gulls were to be carefully watched. They certainly weren’t shy and would come right up to you. We thought this was just because they were used to people until we watched one boldly steal a packet of biscuits from a picnic. Feathered thievery!
We stayed in Travemunde with Landal Greenparks.