Düsseldorf - Schwerte
We left Düsseldorf on Saturday, 4th September, around 5 p.m. and drove 1 hour to my parents' place in Schwerte for a barbecue evening.
We left Schwerte around 10 a.m. and 3 hours later we reached the town of Goslar in the Harz region. After walking around the historic city centre (UNESCO world heritage) for an hour and another hour's drive we arrived in Wegeleben around 3 p.m. Here we had another barbecue evening with Volker's family.
With the beautiful sunny weather we decided to hike up the Brocken (1142 m), the highest mountain in the Harz region. We left Wegeleben at 9 a.m. and 1 hour later we arrived in Schierke in Harz National Park. This is also the last stop for the Brockenbahn, the steam-driven narrow gauge railway, before it climbs up to the top of the mountain (22 € return, 14 € one way). In summer trains leave every 45 minutes. We left the car in a parking site (Waldparkplatz) and began our hike via the shortest but steepest route (500 m elevation) starting off at Wasserwerk (6.5 km). We could hear the steam engine puffing through the forest like a ghost train because we couldn't see it even when it seemed close by! The middle part of the hike involved some climbing over rocks which lay strewn across the path. The last part was easier but less interesting as it followed the road. Here we could finally see the historic steam engine crossing the road. It is also possible to go up the Brocken via horse-drawn carriage. Cars are not permitted to drive up to the top. The hike took us 2 hours including 2 short breaks of approx. 15 min. each. We arrived shortly after 12 p.m., had some French fries for lunch at one of the food stalls and did the circuit walk on top of the plateau. When we hiked back down at 1:30 p.m., we chose the Goethe Way (9.6 km). This was longer but less steep and not as nice as the other walk and we were exposed to the full sunlight for most of the way which resulted in a bit of a sunburn unfortunately. We got back to the parking site at 3:30 p.m., so the hike took us 2 hours with just one short break, and we were back in Wegeleben an hour later.
We left Wegeleben at 9.20 a.m. via Magdeburg and the motorway to Berlin and finally arrived in the region of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Our destination was the Mecklenburg Lake District, called the area of 1000 lakes, the largest one being the Müritz Lake (117 km²) with the town of Waren as the major tourist centre. At 1 p.m. we reached Röbel, another small town at the Müritz Lake. Here we stopped for an hour and had fish sandwiches for lunch. At 3 p.m. we reached our hotel Alter Landsitz (4 stars, 70 € for the double room, booked via HRS), a historic country house in Sommerstorf, 10 km from Waren, where we checked in for 2 nights. From our room we were able to see the outdoor arena and the paddocks of the adjoining equestrian centre. Not long afterwards we drove back into Waren and walked around the historic town centre for a while. There are some nice old houses, but nothing spectacular. The town is picturesquely situated at the Müritz Lake. We had a good fish dinner on the terrace of the Hafenrestaurant (28 € incl. tip) at the yacht harbour.
Interactive Map Mecklenburg Lake District: http://www.all-in-all.com/karte5.htm
After helping ourselves to a good breakfast at the buffet of our hotel, we were on our way again. We were planning to spend the day in the Müritz National Park just east off Waren. The park covers over 300 km² and the major part of it is woodland with lakes, marshes, meadows and heaths. It is home of many threatened species of creatures like ospreys and cranes. To be able to see a larger area of the park we decided to rent bikes (6 € each). There is an extensive network of cycle and foot paths. We started on our tour shortly before 10 a.m. and cycled down the so-called Eichhörnchenweg (with a squirrel symbol) to the Müritz lookout point and then along the M route and to Müritzhof (this dead-end road is not really worth taking unless you plan to have a lunch break at the café). At Schwarzenhof we reached the main cycle path. Then on to Speck where we had a snack around 1 p.m. Afterwards we climbed the Käflingsberg tower which offers a bird's eye view of the national park. The last part until Boek was less interesting. Here we turned back; it was 2 p.m. Next we came through a pretty swamp area until we arrived back at Schwarzenhof. From here we followed the main park road via Federow back to Waren. The area was really more hilly than expected. Luckily we had picked the best route for the day as we had to go downhill more often then uphill! We ended our tour at 4 p.m. (we must have covered approx. 30 km) and from the car park at the national park entry, we drove back into Waren. Had an ice-cream on the terrace of the Rialto Pizzeria and ice-cream parlour. Later we had dinner on the balcony of the Greek restaurant Rhodos (24 € with tip) and watched the sunset over the lake at 7:30 p.m.
We left from the hotel shortly after 10 a.m. and drove the 80 km or so to Greifswald via country roads. We arrived shortly after 12 p.m. and walked around the beautifully restored (since GDR times) historic centre of the 750 years old Hanseatic Town for an hour and had a quick lunch (pea soup) at the market square with its gabled houses. Then we drove to the nearby fishing village Wieck to take a look at its 100-years-old Dutch style wooden bridge and the ruins of the Eldena monastery. At 3 p.m. we were on the road again to Rügen.