Vilm Island

Rügen may be the largest of the German islands, but there are several interesting smaller islands dotted around it. One of these islands is called Vilm, and it is part of the South-Eastern Biosphere. As such, the island has special protection. Boats are not allowed within 100m without permission. Swimming is not allowed in that area either.

The eastern side of Vilm, once the place where the GDR leadership bathed.The eastern side of Vilm, once the place where the GDR leadership bathed.

One part of the island is completely out of bounds to visitors, the other is used by a national government agency for nature conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz). Visitors here are limited to 30 at any one time, only in organised groups and only along a set path. Even the number of tours each year is limited, so when the Biosphere held a press tour on the island, they had to get special permission to exceed that number! [Read more…]

The Railway and Technical Museum on Rügen

Rügen’s Railway and Technical Museum (“Eisenbahn & Technik Museum”) is located in Prora, between the “Koloss” and the railway line. In fact, it is only a short walk from Prora’s station.

The sign at the entrance is a welcome sight for any museum visitor, but especially for bloggers: “entry includes free use of the toilets, the car park and unrestricted photography and filming”. There is indeed a large car park and flash photography is not a problem. Although the museum is so large, that in the main hall a small compact camera’s flash may not have much effect. The toilets, however, are at the furthest possible point in the museum from the entrance.

The entrance to the railway museum on Rügen is through a tramThe entrance to the museum is through a tram

The entrance itself is an usually but fitting way in – through a tram. You climb in at the middle, pay, and go out through one end. For those not able to climb up the steps into the carriage there is, however, a level way in as well. [Read more…]

This was once a border

Germany was, as most readers will know, at one time split in two halves by the Iron Curtain.

At some points along the “Inner-German Border” there are still some watchtowers, preserved to show the World what the border looked like. But in many parts the border has just disappeared and is part of the landscape.

To make sure that people do not forget just where that border was, many of the roads that cross that point in Germany have had signs erected, commemorating the fact that Germany was divided at those points.

A commemorative sign near Salzwedel at the location of the Inner-German border

This one can be seen between Brome (West) and Mellin (East). It is also about 25km from Salzwedel, the town in Germany that apparently is the furthest from any motorway exit and happens to be on one of the routes that I use each year to travel to the island of Rügen.

Another can be seen on the A20 motorway which follows the coast of the Baltic sea running eastwards from Hamburg.

The border itself was around 1,400km (860 miles) long.

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