Peter, Katrin and their 8-year-old daughter Mieke have been on sunny Ruegen for several days. Unfortunately, things are not going as planned, and Katrin decides to take over the command.
I think we are an entirely normal family. When I get ready to go to the beach, Katrin decides to spend the day at the KOENIGSSTUHL National Park Centre. What‘s up with that? Just sit back and listen.
It‘s pretty early in the morning for vacation time, 7:38 am to be exact. But the sun is shining into our bedroom and that means the night is over – no matter how deeply I burrow my face into the pillow. A bedroom with early morning sun was Katrin‘s idea. But this way, we have the most of each vacation day, which is a good thing. Our 8-year-old daughter Mieke is already awake and running up and down the room. I pretend to be asleep, but there it comes, the dreaded, penetrating: „Papaaa … you still asleep?“ I fake a yawn, stand up, and look into Katrin and Mieke‘s red faces. „Oh no,“ I think‚ „we were most definitely at the beach too long yesterday.“
„Do I have to build sand castles with you again today?“ I hear my daughter asking. I am just about to defend my sand castles when Katrin interrupts me. „No, Mieke,“ she says „today we are going to the KOENIGSSTUHL National Park Centre. It‘s time for an adventure! We will take the bus to the chalk cliffs and then have loads of fun. We can go to the cinema, visit the exhibition, collect flint pebbles and enjoy the Centre’s facilities all day long! And if need be, your father can even build castles on the flint pebble beach.“
I knew it! Ever since Katrin spotted Dirk Steffens‘ charming face on the KOENIGSSTUHL film poster, she has been talking about nothing else. Obviously, she now wants to see the new movie in the National Park Centre.
Two hours later, we are standing on the observation platform of the Centre. What a view! I am just about to begin waxing lyrical, when I notice that Katrin is missing. „Where is your mother?“ I ask Mieke. „Mummy just wanted to pop into the cinema; we should wait for her here.“ I turn back to the Baltic Sea and hope at least be able to share my enthusiasm with my daughter: „Look Mieke! The chalk cliffs with their pointy tops look just like sand castles, don’t you think so?“ „Papaaa … can I have an ice cream?“
Precisely at that moment, Katrin approaches from the direction of the old king's grave. „The film is really great, we should definitely watch it together later!“ she says excitedly. „It‘s all about the Ancient Beech Forest here on Jasmund. Did you know that UNESCO declared the forest as a World Heritage Site because it is an example of pristine nature in Europe? And that beech trees had originally conquered almost the whole European continent? At least before human activities brought them to the brink of extinction.“ Suddenly she stops: „Wow, what a great view!“ I smile warmly and nod.
A group of young people gather beside us. They all crowd around a ranger who is holding a fossilized oyster. The friendly woman takes out one fossil after the next from her pocket and passes them around. Having become curious, we join the group. The guided tour is short and fascinating. And another good thing: Mieke has forgotten about ice cream.
The ranger tour ends in front of a gigantic gate that looks like a huge flint stone. Katrin glances in my direction and then towards the gate. We go through and discover that this is the entrance to the exhibition. Everybody gets a small clip-on receiver and earphones. A spacious elevator takes us into the depths, like miners descending into a shaft. The door opens, and we enter a shimmering world filled with primeval cuttlefish, marine reptiles and invertebrates. I encounter astonished faces, hear children laughing, see grandparents smiling. A young man places his hands on a huge block of ice, mothers sway to the music in their earphones. For two hours, I am entranced by this journey through the ages. Beginning in the Cretaceous, many interesting exhibits gradually bring us back into the present. And suddenly I am extremely thirsty.
On the garden terrace of the bistro I am reunited with Katrin and Mieke who have just made themselves comfortable under an umbrella. Mieke’s eyes shine with enthusiasm as she tells me about her experiences in the exhibition. I order ice cream, chocolate milk, coffee and apple pie from the bistro and look lovingly at my two girls. We relax in the warm afternoon sun and discuss our impression of the Centre. Before leaving, Katrin presents „her“ film to us, which I have to admit is really well made.
In the evening at the hotel, Mieke calls me to her bed one last time. She gives me a good night kiss and whispers into my ear: „ Papi, today was a really nice day with you!“ „I thought so too, my angel. Now sleep well!“