When the boyfriend said we were headed away to a little beach island that I was going to love, I'll admit I wasn't really believing him. Germany... charming beach town? I mean yes, Germany has fantastic beer gardens, and beautiful castles ... but charming beach town?
The little island of Usedom however absolutely blew me away! It really is a massively underrated hidden gem. The history of Usedom is what makes it so special.
Back in the day the wealthy business men of Berlin choose Usedom island to be 'the place' to have a beach house. It's conveniently located 2.5 hours from the capital. The business men built up truly ornate, romantic beach houses/mansions and Usedom was thriving.
After WWII Germany was separated into the east and west. Usedom found itself cut off from the capitalist side, and belonged to the GDR, or East Germany. In an effort to keep everyone equal and not encourage envy for material, capitalist possessions, the houses were abandoned, fell into ruin and some even painted a (slightly depressing) grey.
During the 60's West Germany built up large hotels right by the beach on their stretch of the Baltic Sea in 60's style, but in the East, the stretch of beach was left untouched.
When the wall came down and the East and West were married back together again Usedom slowly began to be restored to it's former glory.
The wonderful thing about the island is that the old buildings are almost all now perfectly restored. When they say 'they don't make them like this anymore' it really is true. Usedom is a rare gem in that it sat for years just hanging in time, and the amazing architecture of the past still exists there.
While I've been to some great beach towns in my life, Usedom takes the cake for the most unique in history and architecture. It's a true pleasure to walk down the road of historical homes and hotels just as the Berlin business men did before the war.
I'll be following this up with a Weekend Guide To Usedom as well as a post on the must-do-and-see places on the island, so keep an eye on the blog. Or even better, subscribe friend! You can do so in the sidebar to the right just there and you'll be notified of new posts straight to your inbox ... so you can continue your wanderlust through the blog, even while at work 'pretending' to be reading important work-stuff.
Now Smith, have that report on my desk by Monday! ;)