Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wismar

From Travemünde to Wismar is 27M, but almost half of that is the channel from the outer shoals of Wismar to the port. When we left Travemünde at 8am we had a light southerly wind, and as we cruised along the coast we alternated between sailing slowly, sometimes with the cruising chute up, and motoring when our speed dropped below 3 knots to make up a bit of time. Once we turned south into the channel we were hard on the wind, which inevitably then strengthened, and it felt like a long slog to get here.

It was great when we reached the Westhafen yacht harbour to be greeted by a harbourmaster who directed us to a berth - the first time we've had that since Oostende last year. We were so pleased we immediately booked for two nights, and then wondered if we were mad.

But Wismar is worth it. It's the first place we've been which feels Baltic rather than German. It even reminded me a bit of Vilnius in Lithuania. The Alte Stadt is five minutes' walk from the yacht harbour and is beautifully restored, with interesting buildings around every corner. Like Lübeck this was blown to bits by the RAF but because it was in the East it has retained much more of its historical character, with fewer modern buildings, and a few still unrestored.

As we walked in along the cobbled main street we heard the sound of jazz. In an unlabelled cafe - or maybe it was just someone's interesting historic house, with the door open - a trio was belting out "Sunny side of the street". This is a pretty cool place, although it can also look creepy. Much of the original 1922 film Nosferatu was filmed here.

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