I grew up in exceedingly small town in the middle of nowhere, or more precisely in the Uckermark , Brandenburg. Let me illustrate what that means. It means you don´t have internet or a telephone network most of the time. It means that you live in an area, where public transport means that one bus per day stops at your village. It means that around 38 people share one square kilometre (the average in Germany is 127 people per square kilometre). And it means that you drive 130 kilometres to Berlin and around 230 km to see the coast.
So, no coast, no real public transport; lots of woods, many fields, and much nature. It is truly lonely and lovely! But sadly, there is no University nearby, so I moved to Rostock to start my studies. And what can I say? There are some things that are really different compared to Uckermark.
First and most prominently of all: seagulls! What the heck is wrong with sea gulls here?! At home in Brandenburg, everything bigger than a pigeon is a hawk or something like that and keeps its distance to you. But here the situation is completely different! In Rostock the sea gulls must be mutated as they have the size of a bulldog and are eagerly ready to take your first-born for food and your second born as a hostage. And then they will laugh at you afterwards, staring with their yellow eyes and planning your death. Seriously, why are they so big, so mean, so hungry, and so many?? And they are EVERYWHERE!
I have tried several defence techniques, so you don´t have to. I tried to stare back. It is hard to keep the contact and I daresay the seagulls don´t care at all if you do an angry stare. I also tried to hide my food. But I´m honestly convinced they can smell fear and fish sandwiches equally horrifying well – so no, it doesn´t work. But what works is to shoo them away in a very intense manner. So be prepared, non-coast dwellers, to learn how to `properly` shoo birds away.
A second thing I still find quite disturbing is the love for Salzherringe (salt herrings) , little fish made from liquorice and then covered in salt. I have received them as a present several times, always with the word “I´ve got some sweets for you.”. THEY AREN`T SWEETS – THEY ARE SALTY! Liquorice itself is controversial enough, but why do you think a salt crust is a good idea? Maybe I just know the wrong people, most of them bizarrely convinced by the taste of Salzherringe. If you want to know how they taste, I must disappoint you, because all description I can give will include words I cannot publish in a blog. We have liquorice in Uckermark too, but in Rostock I have the feeling that it has some kind of iconic status and that vastly more people eat it regularly (Only God knows why).
One other thing I don´t understand and still baffles me is this: why Rostockers are so unaware of the natural treasures they have right on their doorstep. I know many who are only at the beach during the hottest summer days and have never been to Nienhagen, Börgerende or the beach on the other side of the Warnow. The biggest advantage to live at the coast is the beach and the nature. And I don´t understand how unconscious many seem to be about this fact. There is nothing better than a walk at the beach right after a storm or to have a winter picknick there. I especially love the winter picknicks. When the weather is cold and dry, I pack some food, a thermos with mulled wine, a thick blanket to sit on, and a bedroll (not for sleeping in this case, but for use as a blanket). And then I just sit there, watch the waves, eat a bit, and read. I love the peace and how you feel the cold wind on your cheeks!
Another aspect I really do love about Rostock and Warnemünde are the series of street fairs. At home in Brandenburg, we also have some street fairs, but not as many as here. I enjoy the street fairs and different festivals very much. Not only can you eat you Christmas market favourites basically all year around, you also nearly always have an excursion destination. No matters if it is the Lichtwoche (laser shows and dramatic illumination of building), the HanseSail , the Warnemünder Woche , the Oktoberfest or the Pfingstmarkt (street fair at whitsun). The variety of festivals is something to appreciate, and I never miss them
My life in Rostock hasbrought so many changes, and most of them I enjoy and appreciate. Even if there is no place like home.