Sun, sand and a beach chair - summer in the imperial baths

Ahlbeck pier © Andreas Dumke
Pier Andreas Dumke

Do you hear it? The sound of the waves as the water rushes onto the beach? The screeching of seagulls as they sail through the wind? The trickling of sand through children's hands when they build mess castles? It sounds like vacation, relaxation, freedom.


A sea breeze blows across the beach, the air smells of sunscreen. The smell of culinary delights rises in the nose, the light trail of smoke from a charcoal grill remains. The view sweeps along the promenade lined with spa villas. The piers carry you weightlessly over the shallow surf of the Baltic Sea. This is what summer feels like in the imperial baths.

As I cycle along the promenade with the sunrise in the morning, the guests gradually open the balcony doors of their hotel rooms. I wonder if they also associate the scent of pine and magnolia with summer and the sea. I drive past footbridges that lead to the sandy beach, which is still empty, and pass the concert shells, whose seats are still lying there. I see the sun calmly preparing for a new day. I watch the sky slowly turn from orange to blue.

I stop at the beach like every morning. I leave everyday life, just for a moment. My thoughts are with the deep blue of the sea and the endless sky above. The clouds are moving towards the land, the sun bathes the coast in light. When the wind has cleared my mind and tangled my hair, I get back on my bike. The path leads me past whitewashed facades with small turrets, curved gables and filigree ornaments. The pearls of the Baltic Sea, one more beautiful than the other.

I love the break of day, the twilight of the morning - a time when nothing and no one breaks the silence of the island. With the increasing heat of the day, the sun worshipers and water lovers also wake up. They look for a decent spot on the beach, spread out their towels and relax in a beach chair. I too wait longingly and impatiently every year to jump into the cool waters of the Baltic Sea - as if summer would only begin once you've dived through the waves.

Along the water's edge, with your feet in the soft sand and the breeze on your salty skin, next to blurred footprints and polished shell halves, sand cakes, turrets and mess castles line up. Buckets and shovels are waiting steadfastly to continue spinning the structures, laboriously created by children's imagination and children's hands. While fireless dragons fight with their cords in the sky, balls of ice in small and large hands melt away on the ground. Today the Baltic Sea is not a capricious lover, today the Baltic Sea is the calm sea.

And I ask myself: what do you associate with summer in the imperial baths?

When the beaches get empty in the evening, the promenade fills with life. While some enjoy Eiland delicacies on the terraces of the restaurants, others eat their fish rolls on a foray through the imperial baths. Here and there are crowds of people - they listen to the music that sounds from the concert shells, enjoy the pictures in the sea, which are accompanied by the sound of the waves, or stroll through one or the other market that offers art and crafts.

In between, you will always discover top-class diamonds that can only be found here. Whether "Grand Schlemm", "International Cabaret Festival" or "Heringsdorfer Kaisertage". The imperial baths are always a stage for the boards that mean the world.

Now I cycle past footbridges that lead to the sandy beach, which is still busy, and pass the concert shells, whose squares are populated. I see the sun calmly preparing for the end of the day. I watch the sky slowly turn from blue to black. I love the contrast that the new day brings.