May 17th, 2013
They call it the “Wahrzeichen der Stadt” – the town’s landmark, and photos of it can usually be found on many of the postcards from Bergen auf RÃ¼gen.Â And yet, the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Tower is not really near to the centre of the town and, in tower terms, is not really that tall.Â So what is all the fuss about?
To understand the tower, it is an advantage to know who exactly Ernst Moritz Arndt was and why it was built in the first place.
He was a poet and a thinker, born in 1769 on RÃ¼gen at a time when the island belonged to Sweden.Â His works reflect the beauty that he saw in the island, but he known in particular for criticising Napoleon’s occupation of Germany and fleeing into exile as a result. Read the rest of this entry »
February 17th, 2013
One of the most popular ways of paying for thingsÂ in shops in Germany is by ec-card â a standardised debit card that is issued by most banks and accepted by most shops. The card, which has a both a magnetic strip and a chip on it, generally comes with a PIN and you enter the PIN when paying to confirm the transaction, although some older card readers still require you to sign a slip of paper instead.
The money is debited from your bank account in a similar way to a direct debit (âLastschriftâ), but the similarity stops here. Because whereas a direct debit can be reversed within 6 weeks, I recently found out that such protection is not offered when paying by PIN. Read the rest of this entry »
February 2nd, 2013
If you travel to the Sassnitz on the Eastern coast of the island of RÃ¼gen, to visit the chalk cliffs (“Kaiserstuhl”) for example, then you may be surprised to find signs to “H.M.S. Otus”.
H.M.S.?Â As in “Her Majesty’s Ship?”Â Well, almost.Â Actually it is an Oberon-class submarine that was launched in Scotland in 1962 and served with the Royal Navy until it was decommissioned in the 1991.
H.M.S. Otus in Sassnitz harbour
After decommissioning she was towed to Stralsund on the Baltic coast, before being moored in the harbour at Sassnitz, where she is now a floating museum. Read the rest of this entry »