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Seahawk - newsletter 1/2007

Schwerin, Germany
June 27 2007

Hello everyone
We arrived a month ago to a hot, sunny Schwerin, but are now seeing less sun and more rain. Yesterday morning we woke up to a clear blue sky so quickly washed the deck I had prepped up for painting 10 days ago, but two hours later the sky was black and the glass had rocketed down on all of our barometers (we like to take an average, like the clocks!) and we had a tremendous storm. This morning the boat is covered with leaves and twigs and there are white horses on the lake.
This month has done Alan the world of good and he is a lot better than when we left South Africa. He has pottered on the boat and has already replaced two pumps – on day 2 the shower drain pump packed up and followed by a few days later the fresh water pressure pump. He must have been psychic because we brought new spare pumps with us. He is now making another bookcase to house our growing library.
Fortunately we didn’t have to move the boat far when we arrived. We could sense discontent among the other boaters who had to move their moorings for us so we offered to move out of everyone’s way alongside a rusty old barge moored offshore. The disadvantage of this spot is that we have to use our rowing boat to get ashore – not so nice in the rain – but we have rigged up a fixed rope so we can pull ourselves across. On the plus side we have uninterrupted views across the water and plenty of entertainment from the bird life (coots, grebes, ducks, herons, swallows etc), all kinds of boats going past on their way to Lake Schwerin ranging from big tourist boats to yachts, rowing boats and dragon boats and last but not least we have the naked bathers – the Mecklenbergers are very uninhibited! Andreas, the owner of the boat sheds and moorings, has a beautiful bod so he is a pleasure to watch.
There is a fish shop on the edge of the lake about 5 minutes walk away so we are eating lots of fish – lovely fresh trout, salmon trout, salmon and other fish which we don’t recognise but have tried. The only ones we don’t fancy are the eels. As in Holland they eat a lot of raw herring here, which I love.
Schwerin is definitely the prettiest German town we’ve been to so we couldn’t wish for a better place to spend a few weeks. It has very old sixteenth century buildings, cobbled streets and a fairy tale castle with gold turrets on the edge of the lake. We have been eating lunch out quite often but I must say after those hefty German portions and beer you feel incapable of doing much else for the rest of the day.
Last week we did ‘leave home’ for a few days to go in the car to visit two islands in the Baltic – Rügen and Usedom, both highly recommended by our friends here. Both islands are nature reserves so we were expecting natural landscapes, birds and empty beaches. Our friends had told us to stay on ‘the’ hotel on Usedom so we thought there was only one. Imagine our horror when we arrived to find hotels three deep the length of the island and it took us 30 minutes to park the car. Nature Reserve in this part of the world does not mean the same as in SA! We had been told we MUST walk across the border into Poland because there was a wonderful market where everything was very cheap. So off we went expectantly only to find really trashy clothing, loads of garden gnomes and plastic statues.
Rügen is a much larger island and was more interesting, but the famous cliff scenery was a bit of a let down – I suppose we are very spoilt for scenery at home. The highlight was a trip round a British submarine that had been in the Falklands War – goodness knows how it landed up in Rügen!
However, wherever we go, trees are a joy to behold – there are lots of natural forests and woodland and most of the smaller roads are lined with trees. There are road signs warning you not to bash trees and when there are roadworks every tree trunk is carefully covered up to prevent damage.
Next week we are off again, this time by train to Prague for 10 days where we have rented an apartment. Soon after our return our first guests Suzette and Rodney arrive so we will be leaving Schwerin for the lakes.

Bye for now

Liz and Alan

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