Warnemunde is the port for Berlin, a three-hour drive away. Deciding that a six-hour return trip was not the best use of our limited time in the area, we took the train into Rostock instead, a medieval town of the Hanseatic League, only 20 minutes away. Rostock will be 800 years old this weekend, so we were only four days too early for the big celebration, but saw all the tents being put up in the main market square. So sorry to be missing that!

Main market square in Rostock, 800 year old town.

We did visit the 14th century Marienkirche, a tall, white, spacious Lutheran church with an Astronomical clock from 1472 and a copper baptismal font from 1290.

Astronomical clock in St Mary’s Church, Rostock

We arrived in time to see the 12 disciples march around the clock at noon, accompanied by clockwork music. The calendar with it had made all the calculations for finding the date of every Easter from the time the clock was built right up to 2017. So I guess that means this year they just had to google it.

Detail of the Astronomical Clock

We were also lucky enough to hear a few organ pieces played on a gorgeously imposing Baroque organ. Like my Tante Rie, I do enjoy the organ!

But we lucked into a real treat just outside the church. I just happened to spy a doorway, and a courtyard, and it seemed there was a cafe. It turned out that these were buildings belonging to the church, and a group of volunteers were operating a cafe for charity. Six of us – well seven, in a way, as they brought us one extra portion (which did not go to waste) – had excellent cups of coffee (or tea) and a very delicious almond cake, fresh out of the oven, for 20 euros, which included a two-euro donation to their charity. And use of the bathroom. Always greatly appreciated.

Coffeehouse courtyard

A walk around town led us to St. Nikolai’s church, which was partially converted to an apartment complex during the Communist period, when Rostock was in east Germany.

Condos built into the church

And we found evidence in the pavement once more of those who disappeared in the Holocaust, including this four-year-old girl and her mother.

The tourist brochures treat Warnemunde very dismissively as a cheesy seaside town, a former East German relic of the Cold War with ugly architecture and nothing to commend it, but we found it charming. There’s a long beach, constant shipping traffic, and lots of little shops in a bustling central town.

Along the canal in Warnemunde
Pirates still roam in Warnemunde

We went back in the evening to take photos in the beautiful clear light. I’d happily come back again some day!