I like German word "Sehnsucht" more than "nostalgia". Nostalgia is overused and Portuguese "saudade" forever will be associated with Brazil.
Yet Rügen, the island in the North of Germany, famous for its white chalk cliffs and Caspar David Friedrich views forever will stay with me as the island of Sehnsucht.
I didn't come up with that word or even the description, unfortunately - Karl Lagerfeld did. In 2008 he did a fashion shoot on the island for the German Vogue, which he ( or the editors, for that matter) called Insel der Sehnsucht. Featuring young models Toni Garrn and Siri Tollerod, wandering through the woods of the Baltic coast, the shoot inspired me to visit the island.
Only 3 hours car ride to Berlin, the island offers beautiful wild parks, strong winds and amazing views. Probably more middle-aged and families oriented, the island doesn't have a party spirit, unlike the other German famous island Sylt.
To go to the island in February, like we did, one has to be a tough cookie, since the weather is not tropical, to say the least. Nevertheless, since most of us were photographers, we were more than happy to get our feet wet and our thumbs frozen while shooting in the foggy forest or in the nearby swamp of the Jasmund National Park.
Finding a reasonably priced hotel was also not a problem - for merely 20 euros per person (we were 4 people) we've booked an excellent apartment with a little fireplace in the town of Sassnitz, just a short drive from the Park and its main attraction - the chalk cliffs and the Königsstuhl ("King's Chair"), which could be seen on the paintings of the famous German romanticism painter Caspar David Friedrich.
If you live or are visiting Hamburg or Berlin for a longer time, I can only recommend a weekend tour to the island. Fresh air, sea buckthorn liquor, dried fish, the lighthouse of Cape Arkona - I promise you, that one some warm summer nights, you will get nostalgic, or as German would say "sehnsüchtig" for the beautiful and cold island in the equally cold and beautiful Baltic sea.