Believing my GPS I should be on the German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea (for those geographically challenged, that’s to the right of the great North Sea and in a somewhat coldish latitude).
But I’m not sure, I have a sense that I took the wrong exit and that I somehow sleepwalked to Greece.
According to the lore that I grew up with, where I am should be grey, cold and miserable.
I should be lucky to ever see the sun and life should be no bucket of laughs.
Yet I’m not seeing it, and I still can’t recall a single negative impression from my week on Ruegen.
This island is in what was once the dreaded – by West Germany anyway – GDR (German Democratic Republic or simply East Germany).
On the charts of fun winter holiday destinations it was said to be equal to northern Siberia. And the country’s sincerety and openness was only matched by North Korea.
What I’m getting here though is a sense that I’ve been conned a little by western information flows.
I’m having my own experience that puts the western propaganda about the East to roughly what it was, a political propaganda porky.
By the way, East Germans were fed similar nonsense about the West by their political leaders (so I was informed by one very interesting East German gentleman).
The East in fact is stunningly beautiful.
It has wonderful forests that have been protected and left alone for a very long time.
The people are incredibly friendly, open and relaxed. There is a rich history, and the architecture is just magnificent.
The images below are a few examples of what awaits in this part of Germany.
It all seems Greek to me.