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The Beginning

The breeze off the Baltic Sea was chilly today, but the sun was warm, fending off fluffy cumulus clouds into the evening. I arrived in Travemünde this afternoon, after nearly 26 hours of consecutive travel. And the more I had to carry my unwieldy bike bag, the more my energy was sapped, slowly but steadily, all the way to my hotel room. But when I finally got here, I suddenly felt great. Finally! After more than six months of planning, reading, and logistical nightmares, I’m here!

After I cleaned up a bit and making sure my bike arrived in one piece (it did, minus a bent waterbottle rack!), I headed out to explore the city and the Priwall. Funny story, the only hitch in my travel plans thus far was that I booked my hotel in the wrong village. I thought it was a lot closer than it actually is. Anyway, this necessitated me taking a bus down to Travemünde proper. After I got off the bus, I walked as fast as possible down the boardwalk, excited to see the beginning of the German-German border trail.

Priwall is a peninsula separated from Travemünde by a deep canal. Priwall was in East Germany, Travemünde in the west. To this day, there are no direct paths to the peninsula, and I arrived too late for the ferries, so I was forced to gaze on the beach from my vantage point on the boardwalk. I was initially frustrated, but then I got excited when I realized that this experience, frustration, sense of being so close yet thoroughly incapable of reaching the other side, was exactly what the Iron Curtain had done in the past, and had just done to me in the present.

The Baltic coast is perhaps overlooked as part of the Iron Curtain, but the sea border was observed just as strictly as that on land. At least 174 people died attempting to leave the GDR by sea. There is a memorial stone on the peninsula today, but aside from this, traces of the border have been wiped away here.

Tomorrow, I should be able to take the ferry and break the border for my first time. I plan to bike to Ratzeburg, about 30 miles. I will continue to post regularly as internet is available.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Benson
    June 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Hi beautiful!
    Good luck on your adventure – I’m sure you will see some amazing things. I look forward to seeing all your photos as you go along! keep in touch

  2. Jim
    August 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Kate, I’m finally on a proper PC and looking through your blog just now.
    The last picture in this first post, your view of Priwall from Travemunde: Chris and I were on the other side of the ‘curtain’, by the ‘Passatt’; one of the last iron & rivett sail ships, used in the early 1900’s to transport commodities from as far afield as Australia!

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