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Situated on the Baltic coast in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany’s north-east, Rügen Island is famous for it’s white-sand beaches and dense forest canopies. In the summer of 2016 I was lucky enough to spend a few days on the island exploring the wonders it has to offer.

Prior to arriving in Rügen we’d spent a few days in the German capital Berlin so we were really looking forward to getting out to the countryside and escaping the crowds. Although a very popular holiday destination in the summer months, Rügen is Germany’s largest island with 926 square kilometres of surface land and 574km of coastline, meaning there are plenty of isolated spots.

It took us about three hours to drive to Rügen from Berlin, mostly motorway but the last two kilometres of which took us across Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea – I wasn’t aware of this beforehand, this is a geographical term for a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land. I took this to be a good sign of things to come!

We based ourselves in Lohme, a tiny coastal village next to UNESCO World Heritage Site Jasmund National Park. It was exactly what we were hoping for, a countryside setting with very few people and our beautiful small bungalow backed onto woods that led straight down to the coastline. One morning I headed out into the woods behind the bungalow and recorded the soundscape, an interesting mix of gentle waves lapping onto the stoney shore and light birdsong.

On our third day, we’d just finished eating lunch in the garden when I heard some distant bird calls. I ran and grabbed by gear, hoping that they might come nearer to my location. And that’s exactly what happened. A group of gulls began circling right overhead crying to each other. It’s a fairly short recording as they headed off not long after I started to record (and it started to rain quite heavily).

And as our stay in Rügen was drawing to an end, I headed out into the corn fields on our last evening and recorded the cricket chorus.

I really enjoyed my time on Rügen Island and it was great to spend some time close to coastal nature. I would have liked to have recorded a little more, perhaps heading deep into Jasmund National Park, but with only a few days before moving on this just wasn’t possible. But I have come away with great memories of the beautiful white-sand beaches and the lush coastal woodland.