An Island Called Rügen

Back in October, we decided we wanted to to drive to the sea. The closest sea is the Baltic, and I’d never been, so we started planning a road trip to Poland. But those plans changed quickly when my boyfriend Filip’s best friend called and told us they’d rented a big house on a German island for the same weekend. We accepted the open invitation, and I learned that Germany, indeed, had islands.

With a little time and talk, our group of four turned into eight, and the next weekend I found myself walking the coast of Rügen, once a popular tourist spot for Czechs during the age of Communism. It was one of the only places within the Iron Curtain that one could visit the sea. Now, Germany’s biggest island is a popular place for Germans looking to get away from the hubbub of its big cities. I get it. Rügen is clean, it’s quiet, it’s simple–a lovely place to be removed from it all.

The first morning, Filip and I awake before everyone to find our best running route. We discover a little trail along the sea. It’s shaded by trees, enveloped in dense forest, but close enough to smell the salt and to hear the ocean waves crashing against the rocks. The trail ends abruptly, emptying out to the sea. It’s too perfect and too enticing, so I keep running straight into the cold water and, in the bliss of morning, withstand the beating of thrashing waves for ten long minutes, before surrendering and perching on a rock like a graceful, but frigid mermaid.

My boyfriend spots a coffee shop on a little hill right on the seashore and dreams about having something like it one day. He asks me a question that I don’t expect to consider so seriously… Can you imagine life this way? Waking, running by the sea, opening shop, making coffee, meeting and talking with only a handful of people, and ending your day with an ocean view of the sunset? I hadn’t thought about it before, but it sounds quite nice, actually.

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The pier. The first view as you enter the Baltic Sea in Rügen.

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Filip, Katka, Filip, and Denis. Taking in the seascape.

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Seagulls.

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Every sea is full of these opportunists.

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Girls and gulls.

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Filip relaxing on the beach, after a 7-hour car journey.

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True love. D + F

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The boys.

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Cape Arkona Lighthouse.

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Happy Denis.

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Along our walk to the lighthouse.

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On our way to the lighthouse.

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Green fields and blue skies.

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Green fields and blue skies.

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Walks in Rügen.

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Filip and his leader.

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Former marine navigation tower turned amber studio.

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Celebration?

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Cafe by the sea.

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The gang, minus Filip.

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In gear.

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Rügen is full of woods.

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Walking along the coast.

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Fallen tree along the coast.

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Filip, still recovering from his bike accident, but in good spirits, with beer ready to go in his personal cupholder.

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Rügen coast.

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Filip and the sea.

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Three little birds on a rock.

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Denis looking for me.

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Speedy is king of the mountain.

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Taking a snack break from a long day of walking.

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Denis on the rocks.

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Lone sailboat out at sea.

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View of the Baltic.

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View of the Baltic

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Until next time, Rügen.

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