A weekend alone with me in Szczecin

Since a few months, I regularly read the blog of Frank Kreitner from Frankfurt (Oder). He is the first member of the BLOK O. Together with the Sparda-Bank Berlin eG we founded the BLOK O in October 2018 in this town at the Oder river. Frank is currently traveling and blogging about what it’s like for him to be alone on the road. Being alone is a condition that I have come to appreciate personally over the past few months.

It is my personal happiness that even if I want to forget the whole world, Kati never disturbs me. She can always be near me. From time to time I still travel alone. I recently spent two nights on business trips and didn’t hurry back to Berlin right away. I chose good hotels and enjoyed being able to eat alone, going for a walk alone and not having to talk to anybody.

I only started that last October. On the weekend after the opening of BLOK O, I went alone to Szczecin. The opening of a coworking space can be a very exhausting experience. I drove away to recharge my batteries and to be for myself. Szczecin is a city with two faces. There are the corners that remind you of the history of the Prussian metropolis and those that give you an impression of modern Poland.

Journey into the past

Szczecin in 1898

A few weeks earlier I had read an article in the magazine “Cereal” by travel journalist Charlie Lee-Potter, who wanted to explore the English city of Barth with a nearly 200-year-old city map. She discovered how many buildings from that time were still standing and perceived the city with entirely different eyes. Inspired by this idea, I got myself a map of Szczecin from 1898 on a scale of 1 to 15,000 as a PDF. With that, I set off on my way.

I walked two days through Szczecin to see which buildings still existed after 120 years. I discovered what I actually already knew that Szczecin is a beautiful city. It was not my first visit to the town, but for the first time, I was there for the city. I have been interested in history since childhood, and it often gives me a more profound sense of something. Szczecin is full of history. It can be found in every corner.

The house next to my hostel was the birthplace of the writer Alfred Döblin. He was born in Szczecin in 1878 and later wrote the novel “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” which is set in the building of today’s St. Oberholz, which at that time housed an Aschinger’s beer hall. The later Russian tsarina Catherine the Great (1729-1796) was born and spent her childhood in Szczecin Castle, which lies on a mountain above my accommodation.

The old commandant’s office of the fortress at Viktoriaplatz still stood, as did the Red Town Hall, which is much more magnificent than the Red Town Hall in Berlin. From the synagogue, at the street Grüne Schanze, there were only the foundation walls left, but the former municipal library still existed. Where the map still contained the note “Platz für Museum” (place for a museum), the National Museum has been standing since 1913 – high above the uniquely beautiful Haken Terrace.

Listening to his inner voice

The best thing is to discover Szczecin yourself. I will, therefore, spare myself even more details, for example on the still existing gates of the Prussian fortress, the Wilhelminian quarter around Plac Grunwaldzki and the General Anders Park. This weekend showed me how much inner peace I could draw from taking time for myself and my interests. Just two days that I only did what I personally liked.

Our everyday life is full of impulses that can sometimes just distract you. It is good to be alone with your thoughts and to be able to follow them. From time to time you need this time out to get to know yourself, how you are at the moment and to listen to your inner voice to learn something about yourself. It can be challenging to meet yourself, but it also helps you to develop.

The Oder river near Kostrzyn nad Odrą (Image: Tobias Kremkau, Kostrzyn nad Odrą 2018)
The Oder river near Kostrzyn nad Odrą

I stayed until Monday morning in Szczecin and then took the train via Kostrzyn nad Odrą directly to Frankfurt (Oder). When I crossed the Oder at Kostrzyn, I saw a beautiful view of the river. Seldom has a way to work enchanted me so much. It’s worth taking new paths.

All images by Tobias Kremkau, Szczecin & Kostrzyn nad Odrą 2018