This was going to be my first post from Hiddensee.

The German railway system has grounded to a halt, a strategic move by the union that threw the holiday plans of families into chaos and us along with it. Reacting quickly we went to the internet and were able to get a bus to Stralsund the next day. We left Berlin at 7:45 and reached Stralsund at 11o’clock, then had six-hour wait for the ferry that would take us to Hiddensee, a small island off the German coast. No cars allowed, it’s a destination for those seeking a restful quiet. With it now being late fall, the island becomes dark early and light is conspicuous by its absence. Never having been on this island before our introduction was one of dark and foreboding. No vehicles means no transport to the hotel, it’s all done by foot. The one-and-a-half-kilometer walk to the hotel in daylight is a light walk, and the hotel supplies a buggage trolley to make transporting one’s luggage a light chore, but on a dark and windy night with minimal directions, it seemed like we were at the end of the world. What becomes quickly apparent is how the security and comfort of modern life is dependent upon a major simple technology, electricity. Something as ordinary as a hand torch on a dark cold windy night can mean the difference between comfort and angst. Two old hands at the dock saw our dilemma and showed us how it should be done, saving us a great deal of nervous frustration. In daylight the trip from the docks to the hotel is a restful stroll, but we were weary travellers, the night black and stormy, the directions opaque riddles. After what seemed at the time, like a trek through unwelcoming wilderness, we arrived at the hotel fourteen hours after setting out, weary and ready for a hot drink, a hot bath and bed.

What followed was a restless night surrounded by the untrammeled voices of nature, wind, rain and storm. It’s why we city dwellers come, to escape our ordinary, but our normal has a remote button enabling partial control of the everyday. Away from normal, simple things become exaggerated, this ordinary is too different, and then salvation, morning arrived.

It is a beautiful place, but, like all such places money and its master, progress, has moved in and taken control. The hordes from the cities,who, like us, seek a piece of the past have inundated the bucolic landscape, morphing it into a zoo. No motor vehicles has reduced the drum of civilization but replaced it with the hysteria of bad-mannered mass tourism. Quiet walks have become a fun fair of families rambunctiously traversing the paths at full tilt with bicycles. Fathers, mothers and children in charge of machines rarely used in normal life, race headless to the safety of others. Bloated with omnipotent power of self importance the label laden careen along narrow paths designed for less hectic perambulation. Thus the beauty of the island is constricted by aggravation due to the self-centered insensitivity modern life has taught so many. It’s in places like this that one realizes that while proper manners may have been overdone in the past few centuries, that now the pendulum has swung too far towards individual self-expectation and that the current crop of bourgeoisie are as boorish as those much critcised in the Weimar area . The omnipresent competitive new age families are now a blight on humanity, preening themselves publicly with overt technical replicas of the past this self-centered, self- adsorbed processional class have all the social skills of rats.

 

24-70mm, f6.3, 1/400sec, ISO160

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