I am now on the "Östliche Backstein-Route" (ÖBR) cycle path, but I get a tip from a local cyclist: "You'd better ride through the forest to Neuendorf, that's the nicer route. I follow his advice, and it pays off. It's quiet in the forest, pleasantly shady and really nice to bike. Then I follow again the ÖBR and come to Saal, where a small bridge piece makes me curious. The old sleepers on the rusting construction indicate a railroad line that once ran along here, but they are too narrow for standard gauge. A few hundred meters further, on a cycle track, which looks damned after an old railroad line, I meet then a local, whom I ask friendly. He tells me with shining eyes about the times when the railroad brought the beets to Barth (and in the evening the farmers from the pub home). The cycle track is actually on the old route of the Franzburger Kreisbahnen, which led from Damgarten via Saal to Barth on one meter gauge. In the sixties, the line was closed down, he tells me, and the Saal train station became a community center with a kindergarten – thanks to his work, among other things. A little further on in Kückenshagen at the dairy there is an old dilapidated railroad building, he gives me along the way. And indeed, after decades it is still to be seen that here in former times a railroad twitched along.
Via Damgarten I reach Ribnitz (which, as I learned, is not pronounced "Riebnitz", but "Ribbnitz") and have a short lunch break at the harbor. Along the Ribnitzer lake it goes then further in the direction of Dändorf. Again and again I smile about the creative cycle route signs: Simply paint the place names and distance information on a large boulder, also something like that decorates a cycle route! Obviously, the creators had a lot of fun, because next to the actual signposts you can find curiosities like the specially signposted "Opi-Wolter-Kurve": "In honor of Opi Wolter, who didn't get the curve here". In the meantime I have left the Eastern Brick Route. I am on the Fischland-Darß-Zingst circular route. Always along the Bodden, I reach Dierhagen via Dändorf. There I treat myself to a hearty fish roll at the harbor. Fill the sugar stores with Coke again.
I whiz through Born and Wieck, past chic little thatched-roof houses with the colorful Darss doors so typical of the area. On the way, I can see the Meiningen Bridge in the distance, perhaps only three kilometers away as the crow flies. However, Bodstedter Bodden and Prerow-Strom lie in between, which I still have to circumnavigate, so I still have some additional kilometers ahead of me. It becomes then also again properly strenuous, because one, two kilometers I must drive again against the wind. How that is exhausting after the long distance! Sometime I have reached Prerow then however and can from now on again with full tail wind on the Baltic Sea dyke eastward to Zingst hagen, where my round began and now again ends.
I look back on the more than ninety kilometers with the greatest pleasure: The Bodden round has always to offer variety, it leads over fields, through forests, sometimes along the Baltic Sea, sometimes on the Bodden. Also and especially away from the coastline there are so many places, landscapes and gems to discover that a quick day's ride on the bike is not enough to have seen everything. The cycle path signposting is perhaps not perfect, but mostly sufficient and sometimes very pretty and creatively implemented. And even if a sign is missing at a crucial point, with a little intuition and a rough understanding of the direction, you can always get further. I can only warmly recommend Baltic Sea vacationers to leave the coastal strip, which is completely overrun with tourists, and discover the hinterland of Western Pomerania. It is worthwhile!