Trip to the Baltic Sea: Ahlbeck, Germany & Świnoujście, Poland

March 18, 2014

Ahlbeck beach Germany_path to sea with lifeguard tower The lack of good beef. The near impossibility at finding my shoe size in an actual store. That awful German language. Sure, there are lots of things that are quite an adjustment being a Californian now settled in Germany, but there is one that tops them all: not living next to the ocean. Growing up, vacations were always at the beach. After my mother moved to the coast when I graduated high school, I spent most weekends there. Granted, I was never your stereotypical California girl. I've never surfed, I don't consider rubber flip-flops to be legitimate footwear and I can count the number of times I've been sunburned on one hand. For the most part, I remain bundled at the windy beach well into summer and never venture more than calf-deep into the water (more for fear of what's living there than of the ocean itself - if you grew up where sea lions washed up on shore, half-eaten with teeth markings of a Great White, you might feel the same). But there is something about watching the waves roll in and feeling the sand between your toes that can put one's mind at ease. Looking out at that great expanse of blue, or grey, as was often determined by the cloud cover, most problems feel insignificant. It was the place I went to think.

So after feeling supremely landlocked in the central/western part of Germany for the last four years - albeit, fantastically located for travel to other European countries - realizing Berlin was mere hours from a beach was almost reason enough to make the move. The phenomenally unseasonable weather we were having last week, coupled with my husband's forced vacation time, meant the time had come to make a break for the sea. I was just along for the ride, oblivious to where we were going (somewhere near the border with Poland, I was told...) and thinking only of the blue paradise that is the Baltic Sea, or Die Ostsee as the Germans call it, awaiting us at the end of our drive. When we showed up in the picturesque town of Ahlbeck, a resort town located on the island of Usedom, I was surprised at how charming and welcoming it was, even in the winter time. Sure, it looked as if most resorts and restaurants were closed up for the season, but the town itself was incredibly clean and well-cared for (it is Germany, after all), and we were able to find one open cafe for some drinks, snacks and some sun-soaking from inside the charming Strandkorbs (best. invention. ever.) on its patio.

Perhaps even more starved for sand and surf was our poor California-born-and-raised dog, who grew up romping on the beach and paddling around my mother's pool. While we had been to the seaside last summer in France, Bailey had not been able to indulge her aquatic sensibilities, other than at the shore of the industry-lined Rhine river in Wiesbaden, since leaving the States. We did the very un-German thing and took her out on the regular beach, regardless of the posted 'no dog' signs, as it was nearly empty and we kept her close so as not to bother anyone. When we did discover a sign pointing to a dedicated Hundestrand, we laughed at the distance noted, as it conveniently appeared to be exactly how far to the border of Poland. Well, we did take her to Poland and she romped and splashed and played and ingested enough sand with her stick-fetching to poop sand castles. The excitement on her face was worth any repercussions for German (or Polish) laws we might have been breaking. At the end of the day, we headed back to Berlin exhausted, still warmed from the seaside sun and dreaming of returning on even warmer summer days in the future.

Ahlbeck beach Germany_picturesque tree-lined promenade through town and Villa Seeblick Ahlbeck beach Germany_birds flying in the sky Ahlbeck beach Germany_sand sea and blue sky Ahlbeck beach Germany_Bailey dog shadow in the sand Ahlbeck beach Germany_blue and white lifeguard tower Ahlbeck beach Germany_dunes grass and trees
Ahlbeck beach Germany_plank path with trees and sea grass Ahlbeck beach Germany_sandy path to town with sun
Ahlbeck beach Germany_beautiful brick building Ahlbeck beach Germany_Strandhotel Ahlbeck beach Germany_beach cafe Strandversorgung Ostender Tor Ahlbeck beach Germany_cocktail and beer at cafe in the sunshine Ahlbeck beach Germany_Kate relaxing on cafe bench Strandkorb in the sunshine Ahlbeck beach Germany_blooming branches and trees Ahlbeck beach Germany_bird in the branches Ahlbeck beach Germany_boat on the sand through the trees Świnoujście beach Poland_protected area sign in Polish Świnoujście beach Poland_sand sea and sky Świnoujście beach Poland_Bailey dog running into the sea Świnoujście beach Poland_Bailey dog running in the waves with her stick Świnoujście beach Poland_Kate bundled in down coat and Warby Parker Preston glasses in pearled tortoise_closeup
Świnoujście beach Poland_shore seagull flying cruise ship Świnoujście beach Poland_dunes with grass and trees
Border posts of Ahlbeck Germany and Świnoujście, Poland Świnoujście beach Poland_late afternoon sun

Oh, and another highlight of our trip? A bag full of Polish groceries - including beer, candy bars and not-to-be-found-in-Germany American classics like Cheerios and Cheetos - that we discovered after doing the conversions, cost us less than 10€. Next time we head to the coast, we'll be sure to pack more grocery bags for stocking up!

Polish grocery store food_Cheerios Cheetos chocolate


  1. Looks like an amazing getaway! I am the same way; the sea just has this way of reenergizing me!

  2. "The lack of good beef. The near impossibility at finding my shoe size in an actual store. That awful German language. " - Good to hear you like it here :-(

  3. Being a Seattle girl, I am definitely feeling land locked here in Nürnberg. Exciting about the grocery haul from Poland. I was so excited to find Doritos in my local grocery store today. We couldn't wait, and ate them this afternoon. We've decided they taste the closest of any of the "American" products we've found here so far. :)


  4. These pics are so lovely! I've been wanting to make it to the coast for ages, but your lovely post will have to satisfy for now. What a perfect trip with a dog, too.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments. I love hearing from you!

That said, Sole Satisfaction is a space free from hate, drama and spam. If that's all you're bringin', please take it elsewhere.