Monday, 23 February 2015

Zinnowitz - Beside the Sea-Side on the Island of Usedom

I might have mentioned before that I love the sea. If there is one niggly regret about living in Germany rather than the UK, it is that wherever you are in the British Isles the sea is never more than an hour away. Still, better here in Berlin than München, say; at least there is a good train connection to the Baltic coast and islands from Berlin. It takes about three hours to reach the coast, which is endurable enough, especially as the train journey takes you through the beautiful, rolling countryside of Uckermark.

Zinnowitz is about the first seaside resort you reach by train on the Baltic island of Usedom. It is not very large, and like most of these resorts (in the UK as well as Germany), it grew up during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Zinnowitz still retains a feel of the Gründerzeit era, with grand Victorian-looking hotels, elaborate wood-framed villas, Strandkörbe (roofed wicker beach chairs), and a pier. It was also a resort much loved by the East Germans, and was particularly the most important seaside resort for workers in the SAG/SDAG Wismut uranium mining company, which has left Zinnowitz with rather incongruous 70's hotel like the Hotel Baltic, formerly the Roter Oktober.

February is probably not the best time to see it at its liveliest, but then instead you can get the beach and sand-dunes almost to yourself. Here are some photos to give you an impression of Zinnowitz in Winter.

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

At the end of the pier (the Vinetabrücke - named after the mythical sunken mediaeval town of Vineta) is a Tauchgondel or 'diving bell'. You can go on regular trips down to the sea bottom and, I dunno, look at the plaice and crabs down there I guess.

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

Here is the only Strandkorb we saw, and it is small enough for a cat to sit in! All the other Strandkörbe are stored away for the Winter.

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

The Hotel Baltic, formerly Roter Oktober.
photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

Visitors to Zinnowitz (and many Baltic resorts) should buy themselves a day-ticket here. It is like a tax on tourists that goes back into developing the resort:

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

Zinnowitz's USP aside from the pier seems to be its Lift-Cafe.

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

A cafe that goes up like a lift!

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

Pet pigs from the Hotel Vineta out for a walk!

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

The Zinnowitzers have some gruesome customs!

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

Zinnowitz also boasts a 'crazy' museum devoted to everything about ironing:

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

As the sun begins to set on an icy inlet near the Yachthafen South of the town centre, we reflected on our enjoyable but cold day on Usedom.

photo from the collection Zinnowitz, Usedom  by Andie Gilmour

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