Our ship docked in Warnemunde, a town in Mecklenberg, part of what was East Germany not so many years ago. It's not an industrial area except for ship building; agriculture is the focus here with rapeseed (for cooking oil and now being converted to fuel for trucks), wheat, corn and so on. Mecklenberg is now one of the Federal States, associated with the Pomeranian area which is nearer to Poland. There are over 2000 lakes in the area, connected by rivers and canals, so of course tourism is a major growth area, not just with cruise ships but for Europeans looking for second homes in a lake district.
The Hanseatic League was founded in 1329 in Lubeck, just to the west of where we were. It was a merchant league of the cities on the Baltic Sea, connected by the Via Reggia, which is now a modern route. The symbol of the League was the Griffin, a combination of a lion and a dragon; this is still the symbol of the area today.
Route 20, the road we took to Schwerin, was built with great regard for the environment. There are special bridges built for the wildlife so that they may get from one side to the other without danger. There are many windmills along the route – about 50% of Mecklenberg’s power comes from windpower. These windmills are built in Rostock, another of the few industrial ventures in the State.
We docked on May Day, the European version of our Labor Day, with parades and crowds. The advertised destination was Berlin but it is a 2 1/2 hour train ride away which did not interest us. Instead we opted for a ship excursion to the town of Schwerin with its beautiful Palace.