Day 8: Halloween, boat trip and Berlin

Day 8: Halloween, boat trip and Berlin

Starting in the morning in Zingst at Friday, the 30th of Octobre, we reached our new accomodation for the next two days, the diving tover in Berlin, in the afternoon. The diving tower is a huge building run by the regional association of the DLRG Berlin. In the tower, the boats and many material are repaired, different training courses are offered for the members and of course, it’s possible to dive. Rooms to sleep, to sit and to talk but also offices are included and built around a huge diving tube. In the past, medical research about physiology and the effects of diving on the human body, especially the lung, were done, too.A very interesting building that only few of us had ever seen before. In the evening, invited by our friends from Israel and together with members of the local jewish community, we celebrated „Kiddusch“. Kiddusch is a very common jewish tradition to welcome the beginning of weekend, which, in opposition to western traditions, begins Friday afternoon and ends Saturday evening, already. Sunday is just a normal day and marks the beginning of the new week, just as our Monday.It was a very interesting and beautiful ceremony and an honor for us to be part of it.

Our slogan for Saturday morning was „Berlin by boat“. The regional association of the DLRG Berlin organised a boat trip and so we went from the north to the south nearly visiting the whole „Havel“.Starting at „Schafe Lanke“ in the north where the diving tower was built, we saw the famous „peacock-island“, „Strandbad Wannsee“ and got some information about the line of the former border dividing Germany in the nearer past. We also saw many of the lifeguard-stations of  the DLRG Berlin. Cause of taking care of a sailing competition, one of the stations was still manned. So we had a short break there, were talking to the lifeguards, changing experiences and know-how. Nearly every DLRG in Germany does things a bit different and to broaden the own horizone everytime makes our honory office even more interesting and valuable. After our return to the diving tower and a short break, we drove to and through the inner city of Berlin (thanks to the drivers from the local DLRG clubs who spent their time at Saturday to get us there!) just to „Frankfurter Tor“. Arrived, the group divided in several parts. Some wanted to see a soccer game, otheres wanted to visit friends and family in Berlin and some of us enjoyed a guided city tour from „Warschauer Brücke“ to the „East Side Gallery“ and from there, walking parallel to the Spree, to the „Alexander Platz“. (Thanks to Alex!)We had a lot of free time this day and the whole group met in the evening, already our last evening unfortunatley, in very nice and unusual restaurant called „Turnhalle“. The name of the location was the program and so you could find old wall bars, basketball baskets and several other devices we used at school in PE.Although it was Halloween, little „monstres“ and maked-up children were very rare. It was a great evening. The group was mixed, everybody was in a good mood. We took photos and had conversations with everybody, added us in the common social networks, swapped phone numbers and email adresses.We had become a funny and dynamic group of sometimes different but all in all very similar people and lifeguards. And very good friends! That’s why saying goodbye in the next morning was difficult. But we were left with the certainty that we’ve been part of a special and very interesting exchange in which everybody of us made some unique and unforgettable experiences and, of course, photos. We hope that this was not the last lifeguard-exchange and we’re sure, we will see each other again!

Day 7: Cold water, media and Rostock

Day 7: Cold water, media and Rostock

Today we went to Ahrenshoop, where some of us are lifeguards in the summer, and met the mayor, who greeted us all in English and exchanged gifts with Herzliya and Tel Aviv. Paul presented a short presentation about beach management and our flag system. I explained some safety rules, asked them to remember some things we did yesterday and told them about our safety signs. One for “ok”, one for “I need another lifeguard” and another on for “the person I rescue will need an ambulance”.

We went for the beach and changed into wetsuits. That’s also were we met the camera team from the local television. First we slipped the boat all together and helped the camera team to get on the boat dry and safe. Then we first trained the rescue on the groynes.

There are three kinds of danger on the groynes: because of the current it is way deeper just beside them, then one meter away. There are sharp clamps where you can cut yourself deeply. And if the waves push you against them, you can hurt your head or something else and can’t get away from them. That’s why we use the rescue tube as a shield against the groynes and push with our feet against it, so we don’t hurt them. While doing that we hold the drowning person under their arms and take them away. If the waves are really strong and you cannot get away, you have to use the small break between the waves to swim to the shore, bit by bit, until the next wave crushes you against the groynes. Fortunately we had perfect conditions for training. The sea was very calm today.

After we were finished with this, we trained how to rescue a person in the open water with the rescue tube. We also trained how to show your fellow lifeguard in the water the right direction in case of the waves being too high. All in all we had a very good training session.

Right after lunch we took the bus to Rostock where Bine awaited us. She guided us through the city with a very well prepared presentation that was neither to short nor to long! Following we had some time for chopping and some coffee, before we went to Warnemünde by bus. There we met our fellow lifegaurds from Prerow and the President and Vicepresident of the DLRG of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania.

We heard some presentations of Tel Aviv and Herzliya and showed all the pictures we took, while we were in Israel. I experienced this evening as very nice and interesting in Addition to the wonderful sights we had.

We also want to thank all the local clubs of the DLRG that helped to make the time of our guests here remarkable! So thanks to Prerow, Stralsund, Wismar and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern!


Day 6: Wismar

Day 6: Wismar

This morning Frank and Volker were allowed to film the morning prayer of some of the more religious lifeguard. I am very eager to see this myself. After the breakfast we walked to the kinder garden of Zingst. The educators showed us the whole building before we met some of the older children. The lifeguards were very enthusiastic about the drum they found in the room and demonstrated some very cool rhythms. They asked some questions: “What animals do live in Israel?” “What do you think about Zingst?” “How long do you work every day?” and so on. They also sang a song for us, where everybody took part in in the end.

The ride to Wismar went very smooth, although some roads were closed. We met the mayor of Wismar, exchanged some gifts and had a very good fish soup. The guided tour through the city was very informative. We were in the gothic district, were we saw the old cathedral, that was destroyed by the socialistic government of the DDR. Only the tower remained, because it still is a sign mentioned on the sea charts. We also saw some parts of the harbour and the market place. Our guide also explained about the history of the city that was hanseatic, then was for nearly 400 years under Swedish crown and was also influenced by the industrialisation. The time under the Swedish rule is responsible that Wismar was left out on the train connection between Hamburg and Stettin in Poland.

Afterwards we went to the swimming pool to show some techniques. We did 4 stations concerning this topics: liberation from a drowning person, explaining the situation on the groynes and how we rescue there (we will do it tomorrow in the Baltic Sea), spineboard and stiffneck and training with the recuetube. The indoor competition team from Wismar also demonstrated one discipline.

We had dinner on an old ship that was reconstructed partly from original parts from 1400 and partly new parts. We also heard a presentation about the lifeguard stations in Israel and saw some videos. All in all it was a very nice evening and we came home very late. Frank seemed tohave a very philosophical discussion with Schmulig and Roy from Herzliya and our bus driver Henry about religion, Kant and many different things, He still was very amazed about this the next day in the morning.


Day 5: Boats and Beer

Day 5: Boats and Beer


Breakfast in the morning and then we drove with the bus to Prerow were we met our fellow lifeguards. We met the mayor, got another warm welcome and had some pictures for the local newspaper. The lifeguards responsible for the so called IRB’s, inflatable rescue boats, explained some safety rules for the boats, after they had changed into swimming suits. “Always wear a helmet and a vest, when you are using one of the boats! There are always two quickstops on the boats available”. The Israeli guys changed into wetsuits, took their life jackets and their helmets and pulled the third IRB to the beach. They were very enthusiastic and all went into the water, even if it only had 10°C.

They all trained some time with the three drivers and had their fun I think. They simulated the rescue of a person with a rescue tube. There were some small waves they could jump over, too. But because they only were small they could drive at maximum speed! The reporter from the local newspaper also took some pictures, made interviews with the managers from Tel Aviv and Herzliya. We actually did it on the front page of the local newspaper! Avi Licht, the manager of the beach department of Tel Aviv, even said, that even if the beach of Tel Aviv was crowned as the 6th best beach in the world by National Geographic World, in his personal opinion he thought our beaches here much more beautiful because of their nearly untouched nature.

Some soup and on we went with the bus to Stralsund. That is a former hanseatic city on the Baltic Sea, one hour drive from Zingst. There Robert did a short introduction to the city before we went to the Störtebecker Brewery. There the brewing process was explained to us. After that we could 5 out of the 16 beers brewed in this manufactory.

The buffet that waited for us was very delicious. We had a wonderful evening with our guests until we had to return to the youth hostel.

Day 4: Zingst

Day 4: Zingst

In the morning we had breakfast at the youth hostel we are staying in until Friday. We met the mayor of Zingst in the Max-Hünten-House, which is the media and photography centre of Zingst. He gave a very warm welcome to our guests. In addition we were told some facts about Zingst. The lifeguards asked some questions and gave a small present to the mayor.

The Israelis also gave a short presentation about the blue flag beaches in Israel while Michael explained something about the distribution of lifeguards in the summer. After that we rented the bikes and made a small tour to the harbour of Zingst, located in on the Bodden. We had some free time in the village. I used that timr to see the sea at daylight. Because the sun was shining I even went in the sea, but only with my feet. The others were either relaxing or buying some things in the supermarket or in the small touristic shops.

Before we had lunch, we saw our old lifeguard station, which now belongs to the german red cross. We also did a group picture on the station with the sea behind us.

After the lunch, where we ate fish again we began our bicycle tour to Pramort, the most eastern corner of the peninsula you are allowed to go. It was ten kilometre until we reached the place where a ranger explained a bit about the national park and the surrounding area. It was another ten kilometres until we reached Pramort and saw the cranes and some other rare birds. On the way back we could see the sun going down, while the moon was rising up behind us.

We drove directly to the DGzRS, the german Search and Rescue unit (SAR), where the showed us their ship “Zander”. They also explained some things about their work, because they also work voluntarily. The bikes went back to the shop we rented them in and we had a very good American dinner.


Day 3: Relaxing on Sunday

Day 3: Relaxing on Sunday

On Sunday we could sleep one hour longer because of the time shift in the night. So everybody could regenerate from the night 😉 We met at 9.00 for a great breakfast. After that the Isaelis had to pack their things and we went to the bus. It took us almost six and a half hours to get to the Baltic Sea to Zingst. As we drove over the peninsula to reach Zingst, I explained some things about the nature, the different parts of the peninsula and there was one place on the road, where you could see the Bodden. That is the lake located on the south side of the peninsula and is sustained by small rivers and salty water from the Baltic Sea. Because of that it has a very unique nature.

As we arrived on the hostel we moved into our rooms, had a small break and went to eat dinner at the hotel Paul´s dad is managing. It was very delicious. And that was the relaxing day we needed after our exhausting Saturday.

Day 2: Full of events

Day 2: Full of events

We had breakfast at 6.15 in the morning in the university where Frank teaches, because the bus was going to pick us up at 7.00 to take us to the Kanupark at Markleeberg. There the mayor greeted us and told us, that if the Olympic games in 2024 take part in Hamburg, the wild water competitions will be in this Kanupark, because it is the newest and biggest in Europe. After that we were given wetsuits, shoos, a lifevest and a yellow helmet and changed into them.

Outside we met some lifeguards from Leipzig, which are also qualified in swift water rescue. They had even more special equipment than we had. In addition to the stuff we wore, they had a carbine on the back of their vest for a security rope and a panic release rope in the front, to loosen the carbine in an emergency. They also had a throw bag on their back below the carbine, a knife in the front of the vest, gloves, thicker shoes and a helmet that also protects the ears. Then they walked with us through the parkour without the water. Afterwards we were shown the passive way of swimming, where you keep your feet in the front, cross your arms over your chest and hold on to your vest. We trained it a little bit. Some of the Israeli guys told us, that they never had been to water this cold. In my opinion the water was not the biggest problem even if it was freezing cold, but the air temperature was only 3°C. Furthermore they told us about how they cross a stream. The smallest person comes to the front, while all the other people build a pyramid behind him. The last line is the most important one, because they have to push the hardest. It actually was very hard to do it. I was very happy, as I was under the shower and could feel my hands and feet again.

After that the Israelis drove with some rescue boats to a swimming church called Vineta. It is located in a flooded old coal production site to remember the villages, which had to be destroyed for the mining. As they wanted to get to the place where we were waiting for them with the bus, they realized, that the engine of the biggest boat was defect. So they had to come back with the ferry, which pulled the rescue boat.

They were a bit tired, but we took them to the station of the DLRG Leipzig on the Kulkwitzer See, where we had some potato soup. Then the feast of safety organizations started. Afterwards the open water competition team from Leipzig demonstrated the board and surf ski rescue. But you cannot compare them to real life and daily situations, because the competition equipment is built for speed instead of stability and taking a second person on it. But the surf ski is taken by Australian lifeguards to check, if there are sharks in the water.

Fire department, police, german army, ASB (they demonstrated some first aid stuff) and the german association for rescue dogs. We showed them everything. Some guys were very interested in the army, they were impressed by the perfect arrangement and small space you could fit in all the first aid things and the tent from the ASB. The other ones had a very interesting conversation with the competition team and saw the station.

As we went back into the city by bus, Mira pointed out the sights of Leipzig and told us some facts about them. A short break for changing and showering in the bus and then we went for dinner to the Moritzbastei, a very impressive location that was once the cellar of a monastery. After some speeches from german DLRG members and also Stefan from Tel Aviv. Later on we went to the club, which is located in the Moritzbastei too, and had a very nice evening.

Day 1: Arrival in Germany

Arrival in Germany


Rouven and I were at the airport in Berlin at 8 o’clock in the morning to greet our guests from Tel Aviv and Herzliya. The airplane arrived on time but it still took them a while to come out, because one piece of baggage was missing. We used that time for breakfast at the airport while Rouven went for the baggage claim. Fortunately it was found and we go to the bus that took us to Leipzig. On the road I had to answer many questions “Is that the black forest, we are driving through?” “No that’s only a little forest somewhere in Brandenburg, I don’t know its name”, “Does ‘Ausfahrt’ translates for exit?”, “Yes, it does”, “How long is the way to Leipzig?”, “It is about two and a half hours” “Wow there are so many trees and they are so colourful!”, “That’s because of the season” ….

For one half of the Israelis it is the first time in Europe, for most of them the first time in Germany.

As we arrived in Leipzig Frank and Kai were there to greet us. He showed us the hostel, were the Lifeguards were staying and after that we had lunch. Most of them ordered “Schnitzel with Spätzle” and beer. We the tram to a small canal and wanted to go canoeing. But as they all wanted to go into the boats at the same time and wouldn’t wait for someone helping them, two of the managers from Herzliya and Tel Aviv stood on the boat and fell into the water with all their clothes, mobile phones passports, money! Half of us were helping immediately while the other half was taking pictures and couldn’t believe the hilarious situation in front of them. After they were pulled onto the footbridge soaking wet and freezing. Water temperature was around 11°C that evening, 14°C air temperature. First but unintended contact with our surroundings concerning lifesaving here in Germany. Maybe we can show you some on the gallery, but I want to ask for permission first 😉

After that they went to the hostel for dry clothes while we did the canoeing trip. We were having very much fun just looking at the Israelis, because they seemed to use the canoe like the hasaka, two where paddling while one was standing! In the back and steering the boat in the right direction like the gondoleri in Venetia. Or they were having small races between each other and one was holding to paddles, while his friend was filming and paddled like he was on the hasaka. Dinner was really good and we had some presentations of the local club of the German lifesaving organisation in Leipzig and had a nice evening.

Frank took them back to the hostel and explained, what we were going to do the next day. At that point most of the lifeguards were more or less awake for 36 hours. Every one of them was working on Thursday (remember that the shift begins at 7.00 a.m.) and they had to be at the airport at 2.00 a.m. on Friday night. The airplane took off at 5.00 a.m. and most could only sleep for some hours on the plane. So we all went to bed really early, because we had to have breakfast at 6 a.m. in the morning.