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Prerow, a Cold Beach Town

November 23-25, 2005



Dear Friends and Families,


Our Thanksgiving goal was Prerow (http://www.prerow.de), a small vacation village on the "Darss" section of the Baltic coast, just east of the "Fischland" coast. (I love the name!) It's a community of a couple thousand residents, five kilometers (3 miles) of sandy beach, and, normally, dozens of welcoming hotels, residences, and guest houses. In late November, the hotel options shrink to just a few, but the place becomes a hidden getaway, just what we wanted.

We arrived late Thursday, or at least it seemed late since it had been dark for hours. Actually, it was only about 6pm. Night comes early in this northern country. We wandered up and down some of the side streets, looking for the thatched-roof building we'd seen in their website. (http://www.residenz-rennhack.de/). When we found it, it seemed a bit cold and empty, but this was winter after all. Inside, we were pointed up a grand staircase to an upper room that had a charming small window peering out of the thatch.

The entrance of the Residenz was an excellent example of the local architecture. Since the house color was almost a match for our plans in Pommersfelden, we congratulated the owners on their taste!
Stepping back, we could see the whole hotel, covered with the graceful sweep of the thatch roof. Our room shared one of the "eyebrow" windows on the left.
Other homes and guesthouse in the neighborhood were equally dressed in bright colors and soft and curving hats.

In the evening, we searched for a small snack. Our Thanksgiving afternoon fish dinner had left us with just a little appetite, which we hoped to satisfy with desert. This turned out to be harder than expected. Near the hotel, we saw a small, almost-deserted restaurant, but it didn't seem very inviting and we assumed there would be more places toward downtown, wherever that was. We were wrong. The only other open restaurant offered fish, and not much else, certainly nothing interesting for dessert. After we reached our limit of walking in the freezing weather, we returned to the Hans Kranch Restaurant, the one we'd passed on earlier.(http://www.hotelhauskranich.de) Now, a good story would have been that we had been wrong, that the Kranch Restaurant turned out to be charming, friendly, and offering a wonderful assortment of German baked goods and desserts. Unfortunately, that's not our story. The dessert was plain, the waiter snooty, and almost every other table empty. We wrote this off as simply the downside that balances the good of traveling off-season. (The next night we were ready for fish again, and did have a good meal at the neighborhood fish place.)

On Friday morning, we headed for the beach. The Residenz Rennick sits a couple hundred yards from the Baltic Sea and the walk was over a river, through a woods, and down to a stormy sea. By the time we got to the beach, despite our heavy coats, we were getting pretty darn cold. Still, this was what we expected and wanted.



All in all, Prerow turned out to be just what we had wanted; small, quiet, quaint, and "different". During the Cold War, this was the front lines of the Soviet Empire and some of the stark and plain buildings remain but, at least in Prerow, the beauty of the place and the warmth of restored and recreated old-time beach residences, make this a wonderful destination, even in Winter.

John and Marianne



One fascinating part of the new-old buildings along the Darss Coast is the use of thatch for roofing. From our5 hotel window, we could see up close the thick mat that seems to be the roofing material of choice. Just outside of Prerow, we saw a cluster of new houses and we saw several thatch roofs in the making.

The process looked both simple and complex, but the results were charming.

Our hotel window.
The new homes looked quite conventional below the roof. On top however, bundles of thatch were being spread and bound to a network of wooden board. Iron reinforcing bars secured the thatch over the curved-top windows.
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After we got home, I looked (on Google of course. What was the world like before Google?) for some websites to give more background. Here are a pair of English sites, extolling the virtues of this ancient system:



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