04 March 2014

Sashaying along the Strela Sound: Old Town Stralsund

Back in December, during the weekend before Christmas, I decided to go on a little trip. I remember seeing my travel calendar, and realizing that the last time I didn't sleep in Berlin was in late September, when I went on a business trip to Osnabrück. If I had waited until I went to Malta in January, then it would have been more than three months before I left Berlin again and slept in a place aside from in this city. So I decided to get a train ticket and spend 3 days/2 nights in northern Germany, in the Stralsund area, at the coast of the Baltic Sea.

In this short trip, I couchsurfed again, and stayed with a German lady and her two kids for two nights. It was a very pleasant experience. And I also got to see the city of Stralsund, which is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site for its charming old town. It will be the topic of this blog entry. I also visited some sights in Rügen Island, but that will be for another future post.

I guess I picked this city because I wanted to see the sea again. It has been a while. I think the last time I saw the sea was in Barcelona, in May 2013. So I wanted to see a body of water again, and so off to the north I went.

There is this architectural style that is associated in northern Germany and Denmark, and this is the Brick Gothic. Plenty of buildings in the Old Town are in this form. The pictures I have above show the Alter Markt, which is also the plaza where the Town Hall is built. It features brick spires extending to the top. The facade has holes in it so that the wind can pass through instead of toppling it down.

Finally, as you can see from the pictures above, Stralsund used to be a walled city. Hence, there are plenty of city gates around the Old Town. Now they are just part of the old town cityscape. The cobblestones are still there, the old narrow houses are there, and yes, the atmosphere is still different compared to that outside the old town. I stayed in the new part of town, so whenever I would be walking into the old town, it felt like I was entering a different part altogether.

For my next post, I will cross the Strela Sound and go to Rügen Island, which is Germany's largest island. I visited a hunting castle, as well as a beach! Stay tuned.


  1. Couchsurfing is such a great way to discover new places! I have never had the chance to try it. I should.

    1. Zhu,

      It's not for everyone I think. I definitely had some moments where I wanted to be alone, instead of socializing with locals, so in all of the surfing trips I have made, I have budgeted enough alone time as well. But yes, if one has a more outgoing personality and is not shy of trying new things, I advocate couchsurfing as a great way of discovering alternative sides of a destination.