This day was off to a good start when we woke up between 6 and 7 and there was sunshine coming in through the bedroom window! We stayed in bed a bit longer, but then got up and had breakfast with tea and baguette and jam and butter (our butter consumption is rather scary) while looking out at the cruiseships and a whole bunch of smaller and larger sailing boats going out to sea. Then, we took off for a little morning walk, meeting up with Imke and Uschi about halfway, and showing them some of our discoveries from yesterday. At about noon, Mark and Imke gathered Kai from the apartment, and we all took a boat across the bay to the other side and back again, in about 50 minutes. This is a regular part of public transportation (since it saves quite a bit of time over driving all around the bay if you work on the other side), but also a popular tourist activity, so there is a surcharge for taking boats rather than buses. Today was a German holiday (ascension and German father’s day), so the boat was offloading a couple of hundred people all headed for our little resort town (many of them groups of young single men who were traveling with lots of booze and homemade boomboxes on little radio-flyer-type wagons; this is apparently a widespread custom that has come into being since I left Germany, although going on drunken outlings on father’s day is a VERY old tradition). But only a few people wanted to go across to Schilksee, the big marina that we can see across the way from our apartment. So the boat was pleasantly empty, and we had a wonderful time watching both coastlines and the many, many sail boats all over–by the afternoon, there were probably hundreds out there, from tiny one-man boats that looked no bigger than windsurfing board to a three-master and a viking-style ship with one big square sail. We assumed that some of the sportier-looking “schools” of dozens of similar boats were actually training for the big regatta / sailboat races that will be held here during the last week of June. This regatta, the so-called “Kiel Week,” along with its famous “parade of the big sailing ships,” is the biggest of its kind in the world, and the races start at Schilksee! Obviously, Laboe is a prime location for spectators that week, and I am sure that all the vacation rentals are booked years in advance.
After we returned shortly before 1 from our lovely round trip, we went to the Spanish tapas restaurant right on the sea side where Mark and I had coffee and hot chocolate yesterday. We all picked a couple of tapas (mini meal samplers, some meats, some vegetables), and it was a very nice meal, although some of the dishes were much more interesting than others. Imke went home to rest for a little bit, Kai did the same, and Mark and I ventured back out for a long walk / short hike (take your pick) for the rest of the afternoon. We walked to the Marine Memorial first, a huge big brick structure with an exhibit hall and an observation tower about 60 meters (60 yards) up, with a fabulous view of the entire bay and most of the state we’re in, Schleswig-Holstein. The memorial is dedicated to all German navy/marine victims of World War I and World War II as well as the civilian casualties at seat during and after the wars, and it features a whole range of models and exhibits relating to warships and u-boats etc. We didn’t stay very long, but the view from the top of the memorial was certainly gorgeous! We then went on a 5-mile hike along the coast and back, walking on the beach on the way out to a pier in the next little resort town, and back on top of the (not very tall)sandy cliffs that overhang that beach. It was beautiful, and although we occasionally ran into some rather inebriated people, they all seemed harmless and fairly friendly (if loud). When we got back, it was already around 6 pm, and I was pretty tired, but I wanted to make sure Kai would spend some time at the beach, so I went back to the waterfront with him and sat around while he got acquainted with the ocean (by getting his jeans and t-shirt thoroughly soaked). We came back in time for him to rinse the sand and salt water off of himself, and then had dinner with Imke, Uschi, and Wolfgang in their little apartment. We didn’t stay very long today, because we were all tired, but Kai did go for a bit of a walk after dinner, since he really needed some more beach time. It was a busy day, but we sure took advantage of every minute of sunshine!