We arrived in Germany, Moiken’s motherland, where we encountered a different hiking reality. The regions are much more densely populated and there are more places open to eat or to sleep, even in the low season. Finally, we spoke the native language of the country and could talk to all people we met. In terms of waymarking, Germany seemed to be less well organized than Poland; although the E9 is supported by the local hiking associations, we found much fewer marks along the way.
On day 127 we started in Swinoujscie to cross the border to Germany, which wins the prize of the most photogenic border so far.
We said goodbye to Regine, who took the train to Berlin, and went off to explore the island of Usedom. First, we walked 12km on the longest beach promenade in Europe. Then the surroundings were more natural and we had to do some climbing to follow the line of the coastal cliffs.
We walked on beautiful beaches and through quiet forests, but had to put on our rain gear a number of times – and take it off soon after, when the sun appeared from behind the clouds. We reached Wolgast where we spent a rest day, relaxing and walking around in the old town. Despite the sunny weather, it was quite windy and cool – we had to get used to the idea that summer was over and fall had arrived.
On the following day, we continued to Greifswald. On our route, we saw a hiker going in the same direction and when we finally managed to catch up with her, we discovered that she was walking the E9 as well! We had time for a picture before we parted ways, because Katja had a longer way ahead of her than we had that day.
Before we arrived in the town center, we stopped for a short visit to the picturesque ruins of Eldena abbey. Greifswald is a pretty hanseatic town, where we enjoyed lunch on the sunny market square.
We then had two more days to cover the distance until Stralsund. According to our guidebook, we would have to walk around 32km on day 132 and 25km the following day. A distance over 30km always scares us a bit, so we left extra early and planned enough breaks to make it to our destination in good shape. When we were on our first break, we met a group of ladies who just came from Stahlbrode, where we wanted to stay for the night. To our delight, they informed us that the distance was 5 km less than indicated by the guide. We took it easy for the last bit and had enough time to rest in the sun with the high grass protecting us from the wind. Here, we could get a first glimpse of the island of Rügen – less than two kilometers away, but unfortunately not part of our route. After this relaxed walk, we arrived in Stahlbrode, a small port town.
We followed a beautiful path along the Strelasund straight the next day. Long before we arrived in the hanseatic town of Stralsund, we already saw the huge shipyard. We could hardly wait to get there, because this was the first place on our trip where family was waiting for us. Nicole, the girlfriend of Moiken’s cousin Ulf, arranged a wonderful place to stay and pampered us with home-made dinner.
We took a rest day on the next day; sleeping in, updating our blog and waiting for the arrival of our friends Judith and Carsten. They were the next brave people to hike with us, and travelled 750km through Germany to do so. We did a small city tour with them, admiring the buildings in the well-preserved old town.