Our plan had been to go and see the European bisons in Wolin,Poland, but as we had followed to signs to the wrong ferry we never got there
(see the transportation tip on my Swinoujscie page).
So we went to the European bisons on the German part of Usedom instead. There are only a few animals , as the park is quite new. It was opened in 2004 with some bisons from Wolin.
There is not much to see apart from the bisons, some information about them and about local birds, also a small playground for children.It's nice to visit, but unless you're an artists trying to draw the most beautiful pictures of bisons you won't spend much time there.
Entrance was very cheap, I don't remember exactly, but I think it was 2 Euro.
- Family Travel
A megalith site
Close to the village of Lütow-Netzelkow ,the only megalith site from the stone age can be found on Usedom. It is thought to be about 3000 years old. An oak tree, about 350 years old, is right beside it and seems to be guarding it.
Weapons, amber ornaments and cups were found in the grave. There are now kept in the museum in Szczecin.
- Historical Travel
A way to beat the high oil price??
During one of our hikes I saw something shaped against the horizon and thought it looked like an oil pump.When we got closer it turned out to be an oil pump!
In fact, we saw several of them. I was very surprised as I had had no idea that there was oil on Usedom. I don't know if there are still in use, one of wheels was turning, so maybe someone on Usedom is trying to beat the high oil prices.
The pumps can be seen near Neuendorf.
We did a truly wonderful, long hike on Gnitz. We parked our car near Lütow and walked towards the Achterwasser, as the water between Usedom and the mainland is called. After about five minutes we were the only hikers there. Eagles circled above us and we found the remaining parts of an osprey's breakfast. There is no beach , but reed grows until the water, a perfect place for many waterbirds.
The Southern tip of the peninsula is called Mövenort - place of the sea gulls. From there we had a great view to the other side of the Achterwasser.
Then the cliffs started and we had to walk uphill. It is called Weißer Berg - the white mountain. Well, mountain is relatively spoken, it's about 30 meters high, but a steep drop down to the sea. There are railings, so it's not dangerous. Again the view was magnificent, across the Achterwasser we could watch the eagles .
A few days before our arrival there had been a big storm and now lots of trees were lying across the hiking trail. We had to climb over them or walk around, not always easy to do. Once we were out of the woods our trail continued along fields. Again we were lucky and saw a snake enjoying the sun.
Because we stopped ever so often and took pictures or simply enjoyed the wonderful scenery, we need several hours for this hike. If you walked straight through, you could manage it in about three hours, I think.
A huge oak tree
Near the village of Suckow there is a huge oaktree. It's more than 800 years old, growing on top of an old cairn.Seeing it, it's easy to understand that the old tribes used to regard these trees as holy places. This is a very impressing tree!
Golm: A very moving memorial
Golm is is the name of a hill in the South of Usedom, very close to the Polish border.
It is the site of a very moving memorial.
In March 1945, shortly before the end of WWII, there were about 100 000 refugees in Swinoujscie, plus the inhabitants of the city and many wounded soldiers in the hospital there. On 12th March 1945 the American airforce bombed the city, killing more than 23 000 people. Because of the possibility of an outbreak of diseases, there was no time to find out any names, most of the dead were buried in a mass grave on the Golm. The names of just about 500 people were known.
Today this is one of the most moving memorial sites against war I've seen.
There is a statue of a woman, being cold and covering herself in a soldier's coat which is too large for her.It was done by the sculptor Robert Leptien in 1952, but only put up much later, because he had fled the GDR for the west.
On top of the hill there is the inscription "That no mother ever will have to cry for her son" - "Dass nie eine Mutter mehr ihren Sohn beweint".
The Golm seems ages away from the busy beach towns, but if someone is interested in WWII history, this is a very moving place to see.
Water:Lakes and Canals
One of our hikes took us from Kachiner See to the Gothensee, Lake Kachin to Lake Gothen, through meadows and fields, alongside small canals.In July and August these meadows are said to be abundant with many different butterflies. In May we only saw a few, but we were acompagnied for a long part by several storks.
We even saw a crane, who must have missed the departure of his friends, as usually you only see these huge birds in large groups.
This is a very nice hike, but no shade whatsoever, so a hat or any other protection against the sun is needed.
Like a page out of a history book:Stolpe
This tiny village looks like straight out of page of a history book, complete with a mansion opposite a lake in the village centre.The road leading through it is part cobblestone, part simply sand.There was even a duck swimming on the lake and a cat sleeping in the sun nearby.
The mansion can look back to some interesting times, built in the end of 17th century, first several aristocratic families used to live there, then after WWII a Russian general stayed there, it was then used as a storage place and was looking very run down. A few years ago the villagers bought it and started restoration. This is a joint effort and will need much time and money, but I think it's a great community project.
I was walking around when I noticed a pigeon attacking our car! My husband inside the car heard a strange pecking noise. It seems we had parked on a spot where the pigeon
wanted to walk. I don't know why it didn't simply fly over the car, but no, the car was in its way and had to attacked! It stopped when it noticed me looking, but as soon as I stepped away it started again. When we left we looked in the back mirror and saw the pigeon walk across where we had parked. It really did look proud!
Just outside of Stolpe there is a very good restaurant, Stolperhof.
The Szczezin lagoon - quiet and beautiful
Kamminke is another small village on Usedom ,about 400 people live there. The sea here in the South is the Szczezin lagoon. Fishing is still an important way of life there, you can see the nets and the boats in the harbour.
I walked along the water for some time until I was stopped by canals and fences . It was very quiet and peaceful there, completely different to the busy seaside walks in the Kaiserbäder.
There is a large statue in the harbour which looked like Lenin to me, but I didn't see any plate with an explanation. So maybe it was Lenin and you're supposed to recognize him without any extra help.
A Memorial Site
Between Karlshagen and Trassenheide there is a memorial site for the victims of bombs in August 1943. They were forced labourers who had to work in the factories in Peenemünde during WWII, assembling rockets. When the allied forces tried to bomb the factories , they missed and hit the barracks for the forced labourers instead, killing about 750 people.
The cemetery and the memorial are close to the road leading up to the Northern part of Usedom.
The tiny village of Mellenthin - about 150 people live there - is the site of the only moated castle on Usedom. Castle is a big word for this building, it's more like a mansion, but completely surrounded by water.
It's from late 16th century and in need of repair . Part of it has been renovated already and has been transformed into a hotel with restaurant. There is still lots to do, it takes much time and money to fully repair and restore it. There is a nice garden behind the house and we enjoyed our stroll there.
Stone Garden Forsthaus Pudagla
If you're a geology freak, you shouldn't miss the stone collection at Pudagla Forsthaus. The stones which are assembled here are really old (about 2 billion years!) and were carried to Usedom by glaciers during the last ice age. They all originate from Scandinavia or the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Little tables quote their age and origin.
You find the Stone Garden about 2km from Ückeritz.
- Historical Travel
If you're looking for a quiet place on Usedom, stay in Ückeritz. It's a small village between the open sea and the channel which separates the island from the mainland (called Achternwasser here). The coast towards the mainland doesn't have those splendid beaches and is mainly covered with reed, but it's popular with surfers and sailors.
There's a small marina from where you can also take boat trips on the Achternwasser.
- Sailing and Boating
Miedzyzdroje is a popular seaside resort on Usedom's neighbouring island Wolin. It is easily reached by boat from Bansin/Heringsdorf/Ahlbeck and Swinoujscie and makes a perfect day-trip.
The beaches here are as beautiful as those of it's counterparts on Usedom and there still some grand villas left to marvel at.
The island of Wolin is nearly entirely a Nationalpark and some great walks start from Miedzyzdroje. There's a short walk up to "Coffee Hill" from where you have splendid views over the Baltic Sea.
- National/State Park
Some more romance
That´s the bridge from mainland to isla Usedom. At evening a romantic place and view above the sea and the nature of the area.
The next two picture show some of the windmills on isla and one of the lighthouses.
- Adventure Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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