Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you...

Today we had a marvellous occasion to go an a real sleigh ride with real horses. Such sleigh rides are very popular in south of Poland. In the north - where we live, it's rather unusual to have such rides with real horses. For us it was the first time and I really liked it. Horses are awesome! The weather was fine - cold enough to keep the snow and not freezing to the bones. A stud farm was situated in the outskirts of Szczecin where snow was pretty much intact. Before we started the ride we had had some time to get acquainted with the animals.

All in all there were 2 horses, 12 people, 1 big sledge and 5 little ones. The best fun was at the back, on the little ones. I liked the sound of bells ringing (they were hung on the horses neck - felt like Christmas!). And the ride was real fun!

We had exceptional fun when someone fell off and had to run fast to catch the others :)

After an hour of amusement and laughter we came back to the stud to warm up a bit by the fire, grab a sausage to eat and drink warm tea with a slight addition of rhum or cherry brandy.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ozeaneum in Stralsund

After a long walk at the seaside (see: Natureum post) we headed to Stralsund - the main destination of our trip. It's known for the Baltic See museum called Ozeaneum. Inside one can see a lot of underwater marvels - it's a place I have wanted to travel to for a long time now. We didn't see so much of the city. It was freezing cold and gloomy so we went straight to the museum

The exhibition started creepily - with a lot of plastic (to-me-lame) specimen or taxidermized animals or, even worse - shellfish in formalin. We rushed through those rooms, not having a lot of interest in non-organic exhibition. Fortunately, it was just a warm up before the real fun - the multitude of aquariums.

At some point we had a close encounter with a sea monster (an octopus of some kind). It was both, scary and amazing. I was taking a photo of a seemingly calm creature, but apparently it didn't like my camera and leaped on me! (I am not sure if a creature can leap in water, but for the sake of my dramatic description let it stay as "leap"). After a while the octopus came back to it's withdrawn position at the back of the aquarium. I have to say I was very surprised by this sudden display of power. Bullies are everywhere!

The biggest aquarium was really huge and looked like a cinema screen. One could watch the wildlife in it from 3 different floors. Schools of fish were amazing. The glass was thick for 50 cm!

At the end of our round we visited penguins. Penguins, yay! I love penguins. They are soooo adorable. It's a pity it was too bloody cold to stay outside and watch them play under water. Their aquarium was situated on an upper level of the building and we could see Stralsund panorama from there. Having said goodbye to penguins we went to the old town of the city, had a cup of coffee and a bite of cake and went back to our warm car.

Natureum in Darsser Ort

Boy - we had a lot of fun taking that photo!

Our tour cycle around Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany continues. I already described the story how we decided to travel around Szczecin (see: Greifswald post).
This time we chose Stralsund for our destination. However, before we reached Stralsund, we went a bit further west and north - to Darsser Ort (Parow).
I came across that spot when I was checking out places around Stralsund. It's a typical summer resort, with a lot of (what we call) junk-stalls, summer houses etc. - all of that of course deserted in winter. But we didn't seek for hustle and bustle of summer, to the contrary - we went there to breathe in the tranquillity of winter. And undoubtedly - we got it.

It was very cold (around 8 Cels. below zero), so to warm myself up a bit I slid a couple of times on frozen water. It was fun though my boots were not designed for that activity. Ice skates would have been better for that occasion.

In principle, we were looking for Natureum - museum of nature at the Baltic See. There was supposed to be a lighthouse and a building with sea life exhibition. What I didn't discover in advance was that the place was located in Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft Nationalpark. That meant no car access and a walk of around 12km (both ways) in order to see the lighthouse. But OK - we said "A" - we needed to say "B", so we marched courageously in the cold. Fortunately, the views were worth it.

To reach the lighthouse we needed to turn away a bit from the beach and traverse a field of cane and a forest. The path was very narrow and sometimes we needed to watch our steps in order not to fall down to the bulrush. When we finally reached Natureum we were pretty tired and cold, so we rushed back to our car (which was not that close).