Last weekend I was in pretty sore need of some time away from the city. So we took the train about half an hour north of the Berlin to Eberswalde. From here we spent the day walking, ending up at the little town of Chorin. Now I realize that some of these photos look like a Pet Shop Boys song feels, but bear with me. I do concede that there is a dark, depressing tint to what you see here. Folks it isn’t your mind playing tricks on you; Berlin (and apparently its surrounding areas) does have some permanent residue of 1984 that it just can’t shake. It’s not a bad thing if you keep it in mind and think of it in the right way.
It was a mixed bag of a walk. There were trails, fields and villages. For lunch we stopped at a kind of roadside-standish restaurant that stood amidst a cluster of other such restaurants. I ate my first brat with sauerkraut, mustard and potatoes since I got here. There was also a lot of quiet on our walk. To my ears, which hadn’t experienced true silence the whole summer, it was something noticeable and welcome. I also couldn’t get over was how used to graffiti I had become. When we walked by the little grouping of buildings above the first thing that came to mind was “I can’t believe how clean that is. Where is the graffiti?”
A couple of my favorite stops of the day:
The first was this old swimming pool (above and left). This was just off of the walking trail in Eberswalde. It was surrounded by fields and the path was the only ‘road’ that lead up to it. And that detail is my favorite; no parking lot, no driveway. Not because I have anything against those things but because it really makes a place feel a little lost in time and just a tiny bit removed from reality. I have found such places a fair amount in Germany and not once that I can think of in the US. This place was also interesting because it is still in use but not as a swimming pool. Instead they have turned it into a kind of fishing pond. I found that a little questionable since the water was murky and I don’t quite know why it would be fun for anyone to fish there. But there was a functioning bar and restaurant at the near end of the pool. When we walked up through the columns at the entrance we could hear a few guys yakking over a beer, poolside.
The end of our day became my second favorite part. After walking 4,2 km through an oddly still forest (see this post) we entered the little village of Chorin. There is a lovely old cloister there and, on a Sunday, the quietest little town you’ve ever walked through. ( see a video here!)If I hadn’t known better (that people were in the little houses drinking coffee and eating cake) I would really have thought the place abandoned. We didn’t see or hear one person, or any sign of a human. We turned left into what looked like an alleyway. But it was really a little street that lead us to the train station. The train station was surrounded by trees and fields and little hills. It consisted of a beautifully renovated station and one set of tracks. And again, the feeling of going directly to something, as we had to the swimming pool, was enchanting.
I told F that if I was writing a guidebook this would go in it. After walking through this loveliness we discover that there is a little cafe in the train station and that we have about half an hour till the next train. We go in with another couple who arrived at the same time. We all order a beer and start talking with the guy behind the counter. It turns out that he owns the place and offered us a few little delectables to sample. He was super friendly and it was just the nicest atmosphere to end the day with. Finished the beer, walked across the tracks and caught the train back to the big city.