Sun, sand and sea: Beach hiking on Usedom

One million guests a year, nightmarishly crowded beaches, construction boom and long traffic jams on arrival and departure. The island of Usedom is the Germans' favorite sunny island. The island is only 66 kilometers long and 24 wide in the Pomeranian Bay, a money machine for hoteliers and kneipers, often a nightmare for the 76,000 inhabitants who have always made a living from mass tourism since the rediscovery of their home beaches by tourists in Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia but moan about traffic blackouts and high rents. If you’re going a few meters uproad the isle is an empty placeIf you're going a few meters uproad the isle is an empty place

The other side of Usedom is still there: lonely beaches, endless summer meadows full of animals and the starry sky over the dewy sand. But if you want to discover this secret, you have to immerse yourself in the illegality of a trip that would be forbidden from the first step if a beach bailiff, a police officer or a security officer got wind of it.

Hiking on sunny island

Beach hiking on Usedom works surprisingly well. When certain rules are observed. The challenge of this trip is clear - no hotel, no campground, no guesthouse and no Airbnb room. Just nature, for a week, with a tent on the beach or in the forest. Part 1 told the start of the journey. Part 2 now reports on the progress of the crazy plan. Let's see what will become of it.

One thing is clear - by the second day at the latest, the sand is everywhere. In every crack, every corner, even between the teeth, it repeatedly gnashes abruptly. Instead, a bright sun rises over the deserted beach and the Baltic Sea belongs to the wild campers all alone. Pack up the tent, crumple up your sleeping bag, open your backpack, and continue to the northwest. Fortunately, there is coffee to wash down the grains of sand right next door on the outskirts of Ueckeritz.

Empty beach, but only in the morningEmpty beach, but only in the morning

Behind it the sand changes, the beach becomes sloping, the path deeper. On the other hand, it is not quite as crowded here as in the self-proclaimed "imperial baths" Ahlbeck, Heringsdorf and Bansin. At a leisurely four kilometers an hour, it goes north-west, on the horizon you can already see the Peenemünder Haken, with which the walkable beach will end.

Near a vacation machine

One more night until then, right next to a kiosk grill between the little Zempin and the vacation machine Zinnowitz. The garbage man comes at six in the morning and empties the rubbish bins, which help ensure that the beaches on Usedom are as clean as a five-star hotel kitchen: on a 40-kilometer route, there won't be a single plastic bag, no flip-flops, and no popped ball on the ground . In the evening the joggers come first, then the dog owners, and at the end a couple of slightly well-trained groups who have tasted the cocktails in the neighboring village.

We and our hidden tent late in the eveningWe and our hidden tent late in the evening

The sky is still transparent blue, a queue of ships has formed in front of the port of Swinoujscie, which lies in the far east as we start. On the other side, the lighthouse flashes across from Greifswalder Oie, showing the way for boats that don't exist.

"Sun, sand and sea, what more do you want?" Peter says, who comes from Bavaria and came to Usedom with family and friends. The first time, first row on the beach promenade, the grill is smoking on the evening and in the morning it is only fifty steps to the bakery. A paradise, this island, especially with children. "They quickly find a connection and there is always something going on," says Hartwig Simon, who works as an electrician. They used to fly to Spain, Tunisia and Turkey. "Until we noticed on a short vacation with friends that nobody really needs it."

A dream of young families

At least not since the rubble of the FDGB vacation machine of the socialist GDR has grown into a vacation area that has everything to offer that young families with small children and the older regular vacationers want from the sunniest federal state, statistically speaking. Between the casino in Heringsdorf, the border crossing at Ahlbeck, which leads directly to a large cigarette market, and the Bansin pier, everyone gets something.

One of the last original fishermans housesOne of the last original fishermans houses

This especially attracts people in their mid-30s, preferably with small children. And older people aged 55 and over who, according to calculations by the Foundation for Future Issues, spend around 75 euros per day here - before 1989 a whole FDGB vacation cost 120 marks per person.

A lonely sail flashes like the russian author Valentin Katajew has writtenA lonely sail flashes like the russian author Valentin Katajew has written

Only hiking is so cheap nowadays, always along the beach, always past the amazed faces of millions of people in their beach chairs, on blankets and half-buried in huge sandcastles. We walk past, heads down. The backpacks press just like the sun. Only a few more meters, then it will be emptier and we can pitch our tent to spend the evening with a drink that we have carried with pain and a view of the sunset.

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The land is flat, the clouds are like hillsThe land is flat, the clouds are like hills See the polish side wide away blinkingSee the polish side wide away blinking
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