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Off the Beaten Path City Hopping Near Berlin Part II: Rostock

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WHY CHOOSING ROSTOCK OVER BERLIN 

Pier 7 in Warnemünde has become one of the docking stations in Germany for a number of major international cruise ships having a Baltic Cruise Trip, including the ship we took, Princess Cruise. Spending only 8 hours in Warnemünde, my family and I found out that the best deal was to explore 2 places on the same day, which were Warnemünde itself and Rostock. Since they are not big cities, it was doable to do so.

In fact, Warnemünde station has a direct train to Rostock that only takes 20 minutes journey, situated 5 minutes walking distance from Pier 7. Therefore, I didn’t see the point of visiting Berlin, the closest big city from Warnemünde, although it’s a wonderful destination. The 6 hour journey round trip to Berlin was the main reason why it was not a wise choice. Remember, we only had 8 hours in total!

As mentioned in the previous post, we came to a conclusion that it would be better to visit Rostock in the first place as soon as we arrived in Warnemünde and explored Warnemünde later on after returning from Rostock.

Rostock is the biggest city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state in the north side of Germany situated on the Warnow river and a getaway to Scandinavian countries and Baltic Sea, especially it owns the autonomy of the seaside district Warnemünde since 1323. The name Rostock derived from Roztoc, meaning fork of river, when Polabian Slavs found a settlement at the Warnow river in 11th century.

To maximize the 4 hour trip, where the other 4 was for Warnemünde, we created our own version of self-guided tour that allowed us to visit the following places of interest:

ST. MARY’S CHURCH

Walking down the street from Rostock Station, Marienkirche or St. Mary’s Church stood out compared to other buildings nearby. We followed what our hearts said, instead of map, and quickly decided that it was the first attraction to visit.

St. Mary’s Church is the biggest church in Rostock build in 1232, then modified into a three-nave hall design. In 1398, the façade was added with 2 different tones of brick stone, red and green-brown, defining the present appearance people see nowadays. The brick stone Gothic building is a signature style of the Hanseatic port cities in North Germany.

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Every craftsmanship detail in the church never failed to mesmerize me no matter how many times I’ve been to churches in Europe, from the Renaissance / Baroque pulpit, the altar, the 13th century astronomical clock created by Hans Düringer, the tapestry, the 18th century organ, to stained glass windows. I didn’t capture some of them with my old camera, though, since its quality started to decline along with more visible noise, especially for macro shots. Nonetheless, I was happy to indulge my naked eyes with priceless masterpieces inside.

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KRÖPELINER STRASSE

The weather outside the church was something too good to be missed with refreshing breeze and sun without rain. So, we continued our own version of walking tour to the heart of Rostock. Kröpeliner Strasse is the main shopping street in Rostock, a vibrant melting pot between locals and foreigners, offering fashion, beauty, electronic goods, cafes and some necessities, too, from supermarkets, banks to drug stores.

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Strolling along the street seeing colourful gabled houses with multiple architecture styles, such baroque, classicism, and historicism was a pleasant activity, even if it didn’t include shopping at all. Moreover, they are example of surviving historical buildings in Rostock, where many other medieval buildings in the city are already destroyed. Somehow, the shape of the gabled houses reminds me of those in The Netherlands.

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UNIVERSITY SQUARE

Approximately 30 minutes walking distance Kröpeliner Strasse, University Square or Universitätsplatz showed a different side of Rostock apart from being a stopover for Baltic Cruise passengers with the presence of Rostock University as the limelight of the square.

The majestic building of the university caught our attention with its red brick domination façade, decorated with impressive engraving and sculptures. Rostock University is the 3rd oldest university in Germany founded in 1419, offering various majors in scientific field.

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Having about 14,000 students nowadays, the studies are conducted in German and English for postgraduate programs. There were 5 graduate students from the university who received Nobel prize in 600 years since its establishment. Albert Einstein earned his honorary doctorate in 1919 in Rostock University, but it was annulled during the reign of Nazi.

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The Joy of Life fountain outside the university spices up the university surroundings and becomes an attraction for visitors. Created in 1980 by Jo Jastram and Reinhard Dietrich, its main concept is the end of World War II and the city rebirth. Thanks to the naked human figures in erotic positions, it gains a nickname as the Porn Fountain.

The biggest sculpture in front of the fountain is actually a bench, where a lot of people like to seat and take a picture on it.

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NEW MARKET SQUARE AND TOWN HALL

Our visit to New Market Square, whose main landmark is Rostock Town Hall, marked the end of our brief exploration in the Hanseatic City of Rostock. Rostock Town Hal it the oldest Town Hall in brick Gothic architecture in Germany build in 1270 and once used as a store during the middle ages. Only in the 18th century did the building was transformed into a Baroque style, added with the 7 towers behind it, representing the 7 Baltic countries.

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Although the town hall still functions as administrative headquarters, it would be lovely to see further what’s inside if we had time, the interior hall, the prison and the torture chamber. There’s a German restaurant in front of the town hall as well, named Ratskeller 21, that seemed like a cozy place to hang out.

We also skimmed the markets at the square mostly selling fresh fruits and veggies. I believe they would be more suitable for locals’ grocery than souvenirs for tourists like us. Moreover, the unlimited amount of food at the ship didn’t allow our stomach to accommodate any more food from outside.

 

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somewhere not far from New Market Square

That’s a wrap for our trip to Rostock. It was a nice city to walk with save environment and not too crowded. In 4 hours, I’d rather visit a smaller city with no rush than a bigger one in hustling and bustling environment for a couple of hours, while complaining that there are too many great places but no time to explore.

Now you can download this article through the following link: https://www.gpsmycity.com/gps-tour-guides/rostock-2865.html

 

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Off the Beaten Path City Hopping Near Berlin Part I: Warnemuende

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WE SKIPPED BERLIN FOR THIS!

I don’t know about you, but I feel excited and curious about cities or towns I haven’t heard of. On a Princess Cruise trip to Baltic Sea, passengers are always informed about the next destination on a daily newsletter. I was familiar with all the cities mentioned in the itinerary, except Warnemünde. I purposely didn’t search any information about it, hoping that it would be a pleasant surprise.

When the ship docked for 8 hours at the port, so-called Pier 7, in Warnemünde, there were quite a lot of passengers prefer to go to Berlin, instead of exploring the city right before their eyes, by taking a bus tour to Berlin offered by Princess Cruise itself.

In my point of view, it’s just not a very wise choice, especially the journey from Warnemünde to Berlin and back takes nearly 6 hours by bus. It means they only had 2 hours to explore the city. Although I believe the bus tour has a very well-planned itinerary that they won’t miss major landmarks in limited time, Berlin is such a very nice city that deserves more than 2 days to visit.

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Warnemuende Station

I’ve been there before, and so the rest of my family who joined the trip. Thus, we decided to visit 2 places in 8 hours: Warnemünde and the main city of Rostock itself. But in reality, we explored Warnemünde later after returning from Rostock by train, that only took 20 minutes for less than € 5.

FYI, Warnemünde station is situated only 5 minutes walking distance from Pier 7, thats’s why it was possible for us to go to Rostock in limited hours.

Without further much ado, I’d like to bring Warnemunde to the limelight first in this post. So, Warnemünde, here we go.

ENCHANTING SEASIDE RESORT

Warnemünde is a seaside resort and a district in the suburb of Rostock that belongs to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region in north Germany, located at the mouth of the Warnow River, with a direct access to Baltic Sea. Once a small fishing village when founded in the 11th century, it started to develop in 19th century.

Nowadays, Warnemünde has become one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. Despite its reputation, Warnemünde is still not a very popular destination for overland trips, overshadowed by bigger cities nearby like Berlin and Potsdam.

Enchanting views of Warnemünde were revealed as soon as our ship approached the shore of the German side of Baltic Sea. No one could miss them from the breakfast room, but I would rather go to the top deck to get a better angle and view, as well as to avoid window reflections while capturing with my old camera.

Sometimes I wonder why anyone would skip this lovely town if he or she is already there.

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The first still-live objects I found near the port when I got off from the ship was a cute strawberry-shaped booth I don’t know what it stands for and a sand sculpture.

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ALTER STROM: THE NEAREST ATTRACTION FROM PIER 7

Since time was luxury for us, with only less than 4 hours to explore the lovely seaside resort, Alter Strom or Old Channel was a perfect choice for us since it was just 10 minutes walking distance from the port. Alter Strom has been operating since 1423 and was the only access from Baltic Sea to the harbour of Rostock. Since 1903, it has been replaced by Neuen Strom or New Channel.

Not to mention the weather, which was something I couldn’t ask for more. The combination of warming sunshine, breeze and an approximate temperature of 20 degrees Celsius has been my ideal weather for travelling. Nonetheless, forget about less crowds that a lot of us (and may be you, too) expected. My family and I were not the only ones who loved the preserved maritime atmosphere as a whole.

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The promenade of Alter Strom is undoubtedly the melting pot between locals and foreigners, especially those who get off from cruise ships. The well-maintained rows of fishermen’s cottages turned into cafes, restaurants and small shops, hotels and pension houses in white and pastel colours contribute a picturesque landscape that Alter Strom has already possessed for many centuries. The yachts and excursion boats occupied the river banks, giving alternative ways to enjoy Warnemünde when they are available for rent.

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“Will they allow me to the yacht?”
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Not to mention the weather, which was something I couldn’t ask for more. The combination of bright sunshine, breeze and an approximate temperature of 20 degrees Celsius has been my ideal weather for travelling. Nonetheless, forget about less crowds that a lot of us (and may be you, too) expected. My family and I were not the only ones who loved the preserved maritime atmosphere as a whole.

Apparently, human beings are not the only ones who love hanging out.

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Love padlock tradition is also available in Warnemünde, apart from many other European countries. One of the locations is at the station bridge. The padlocks are usually engraved, or written with a marker for practical and cheaper reason, with (initial) names of the couple. Sometimes they put the name of their children, wedding or anniversary dates as well. The couple then throw the key into the river together to bind their love, hoping that it will last forever.

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the cutest padlock – Hello Kitty!

Hanging out at one of the cafes is a recommended activity, too. I got a chance to taste Rostocker beer. But beware of the wind, as it may blow harder sometimes. I lost my € 20 banknote that I got as a change from the waiter and I only realized it after I returned to the ship!!

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ON THE WAY TO WARNEMÜNDE LIGHTHOUSE AND TEAPOT

The best part of Warnemünde is all attractions are basically reachable on foot. Thus, we continued walking to other landmarks, The Old Lighthouse and Teapot.

To be honest, I was more interested in “on the way to the landmarks” then the landmarks themselves as I found lovely details of objects attached in the traditional buildings along the way, from flower garland, vines, vintage mailbox to newspaper delivery tube.

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The lighthouse was constructed in 1897 bu Friedrich Kerner. The renovation began in 1968, but only completed in 1993. Nowadays, the 37-meter lighthouse becomes an observation deck in summer, allowing people to get a bird’s eye view of Baltic Sea and northern district of Rostock.

The other landmark next to it is Teepott, or Teapot in German, is a popular place to hang out since it has several restaurants under one roof. Firstly opened in 1926, the Bauhaus style building with Hyparschale-curved roof is an example of of remaining East German architecture. After it was burned down after the World War II, the reconstruction started in 1960 and underwent a renovation in 2002.

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The Old Lighthouse and Teapot

Though we didn’t have much time to go inside both landmarks and may not notice some other important attractions, we were happy to stroll around the town. We simply followed our hearts on where we would love to see and experience from a new place we had not heard of and chasing landmarks were not really our goal anyways.

I personally was convinced that Warnemünde is not a place you should not miss when travelling to Baltic Sea.

Now you can download this article through the following link: https://www.gpsmycity.com/gps-tour-guides/rostock-2865.html

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