Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kibbeling in Travemünde

As promised, we've had a quiet day today, although with the wind rising overnight we didn't sleep quite as well as we hoped. At 8.30 Sam went off to check with the harbourmaster that we could stay in this berth, and then went off for a walk, leaving me fretting that we might have to move. Eventually he returned with the good news that we were fine where we were, and we were able to relax, and take a load of washing down to the waschmaschine.

Around noon we finally persuaded Ben to get dressed and walked up to the ferry. Return journeys across the river for the three of us cost €5, which is modest but not as easy as the free ferries in the Netherlands.

Travemünde seems to consist of three quite separate bits stuck together. The beach is huge, somewhat bleak today, and seems to be lined with construction of new esplanades. The river front is where all the action is, lined with bars and restaurants and slightly tacky shops. And the old town is quiet, pretty and slightly Dutch in appearance, with a handy Rewe supermarket at the far end. There's also the port, with ferries heading for Sweden, Finland, Latvia and even St Petersburg in Russia (three times a week, taking 60 hours), but we haven't explored that.

We stopped at a fast food place immediately across the river from our marina and enjoyed kibbeling. In the Netherlands these are untidy scraps of deep-fried fish. In Germany they are much tidier and neatly shaped, but just as filling.

We did a supermarket shop and headed back to the boat, where the wind is gusting up to 20 knots or so but is still bizarrely warm (24° or so). How can a wind from Russia be so hot?

My current Kindle reading is an old favourite, "One Summer's Grace", Libby Purves' tale of her family cruise around Britain in 1988. It's quite humbling to realise how much things have changed. Not only did she and Paul Heiney have two children, aged five and three, as crew; they also had a 30ft boat with an unreliable Decca as their only electronic position finder. No GPS or chart plotter, no radar or AIS. They had a mobile phone, but most of the time no signal. There was no Internet then, so forecasts were only by radio shipping forecast, VHF or phone, with nothing like the luxury of getting the latest forecasts straight to your iPhone via 3G. Forecasts are also now more accurate and more tailored to sailors. And just to cap it all, tide-free, sheltered Baltic sailing seems so much easier than the exposed coast of Britain. How lucky we are.

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