Remedies against the rain in Potsdam

DSC01509

Berlin and especially Brandenburg that I extensively explored in the last weeks offered me a gorgeous unexpected summer, but little by little, everything will become memories and eventually travel blog posts. The cold raining season is in full bloom and need to switch not only the wardrobe and shoes, but also the bags, big enough to welcome an umbrella. Regardless of how much I love to discover other places in Brandenburg, I have a big weakness for Potsdam that makes me want to come back every couple of weeks. This time I want to see a face I never explored it, which includes the cultural headquarters. I went out of the SBahn at Babelsberg station and from there, took the tram for a couple of stations till the port.

DSC01512As in many places in Berlin, this is a favourite area for bikers of all ages, unstoppable by the rain and any other bad weather signs. Following the arrows I am heading direction Schieffbauergasse and the artistic encounters on the way indicates that I am going in the right direction.  DSC01513In just a couple of minutes, I am in the middle of the cultural district of Potsdam, offering from concerts to dance shows and alternative theatre, plus some pubs and green eateries.DSC01515Everything is hosted in the Art Yard (Kunsthof) that because of the rain and the late afternoon hour it is relatively empty.DSC01516

The last visitors are busy to finish reading the information about the very interesting FLUXUS movement which has a dedicated museum in Potsdam. Encouraging happenings and spontaneity and oriented against the commercial art, the movement developped in the 1960s and had many similarities with the Dadaist and Suprarealist art streams.DSC01525

One of the buildings that I wanted to see and photograph for a long time is Hans Otto Theater, whose bold reddish silhouette I admired at different moments of the day during various boat trips I took in the last years. This time, I see it under a grey sky and from close it may look not only interesting, but also a bit threatening. Not it seems for the couples founding refuge from rain under the pagoda-like roofs. DSC01538

Armed with a pink umbrella I bought in Jerusalem, I ignore the insistent drops of rain and keep walking more around the lakes, trying to be careful not to stumble upon the very fast squirrels that started the harvest time for the winter. Welcome, autumn! DSC01539

Shortly, I am in another new place for me, at the New Garden, which I explored only partially a couple of years back when I was writing a travel guide about Potsdam. This time I stop in the part guarded by the so-called Gothic Library, a cold stone construction which also hosts couples refugiated against the rain. Potsdam seems to be a city of love, which I completely agree…DSC01542

Wish I can have time to have a short meditation with a view over the lake, but this time the view from the top of the stairs is enough to inspire me.  DSC01552

On way back to the central area, the architecture of some houses surprises me, a mixture of Dutch and reddish typical Brandenburg stones with blue windows frames. A couple of streets away, some new white apartment buildings, with high ceilings and small balconies, a sign that Potsdam is not only a place for students, teachers for oversea and history lovers, but also is turning into a posh place to live. DSC01553

The rain is about to calm down and I take my chance to get a bit lost on the long alleys of the 18th century New Garden, which is showing me another different side. The geometrically planned alleys reminding of the my favourite Brandenburg architect Schinkel are part since 1990 of the UNESCO World Heritage. DSC01558If you are looking for meeting artists and arts lovers in Potsdam, Cafe Matschke is one recommended places. The best is to go there during the summer and enjoy the artistic ambiance of the garden, but inside is also cosy and inspiring. DSC01560This time, I do not have time to stop to the 19th century Russian colony of Alexandrowka, but I still have pleasant memories about the pastry nuts filled with cream that reminded me so much of sweet childhood treats. DSC01562

I keep walking decided to both look for a place to stop before going back to Berlin, but also curious what new discoveries will have during this short Postdam trip. Hopefully there are so many things to discover that I don’t feel disappointed of too much walking.

DSC01565

The diversity of architectural styles and materials used is rewarding and I keep looking to the right and to the left, keen to do not miss anything important and with the camera always in action. DSC01566

I finally get closer to the central area through one of the 6 gates (Tören) of the city, Jägertor, the oldest one, built in 1733. Smaller than Brandenburg Gate a couple of minutes away and less touristic maybe but situated around streets with many local restaurants. DSC01572

The architecture of this area is predominanly following the programatic principles of Schinkel which may look too corect and less spontaneous at the first sight. But if you know how to correctly use your eyes, you may find some surprises. DSC01573

As I have a sweet tooth, I hope to find some waffles or pancakes – or both – in the Dutch quarter. Built in 1733 by Jan Bouman, it has 134 red brick buildings hosting various vintage shops and coffee places. Unfortunately for me, after two full days of a local street festival, all my potential surces of culinary delight are too tired to keep open till late afternoon. Time for a change of plans…

DSC01579

As usual, it is all for the good. For a long time I wanted to start the gourmet exploration of Potsdam and the French restaurant Jero was on the top. This time, the rain and the lack of options brought me here, and the expensive and high class bottles of wine covering the walls welcomed me into the intimate ambiance smelling of freshly cooked truffles. The SansSouci cold water was brought fast and most importantly with a smile, followed by a generous cappuccino and my sweet choice, a big cup of creme brulee, more expensive than the usual average sample you can find. Not an unforgettable taste, but nothing bad to say about it either – except that maybe for the 8 Euro you would have wait something a little bit special. However, I felt good enough to plan soon a new gourmet experience here, and maybe in other high class places in Potsdam tool.

All being said and planned, I can’t wait to be back!

Advertisements

Spring Western adventures in Templin

DSC09538

One year ago, I celebrated the beginnging of a beautiful spring day in Templin, and 12 months after I was back in the small Brandenburg city which is the hometown of Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel for exploring the other part of the city.

DSC09543

Shortly arrived in the train station, I headed direction Westernstadt, an adventure park that promises a lot of Western-like experiences. Although there is a bus that connects the city to this area, it works only during the week and thus, I had to walk a couple of kilometers. Luckily, the weather was nice and the road was quite sure. Close to a wood deposit, a train platform was presented as a possible attraction for visitors, but there were no one to give more information about tickets and schedule. Maybe later in the year…

DSC09552

After another half an hour of walk, I stumbled upon a small antiquities shop near the road, stuffed with everything, from old family pictures to metal garden tools and furniture.

DSC09556

Nothing compares though with the view of beautiful horses enjoying too the coming of the spring. In the quietness of the place, they offered a silently moving fragment of life and beauty.

DSC09560

But what is this noise? The serenity of the previous scenery was suddenly interrupted by the broken sound of repeated shootings. Hopefully, it was no war or frozen conflict getting heated nearby, I was just approachign the destination of my travel day: Westernstadt.

DSC09566

With most part of the activities taking place open air, the Western City is usually open from April to November, between 10am and 6pm. It has a huge parking place, as the car is the easiest transportation during the weekend, when the bus is on break. I arrived shortly before closing -something went wrong with my time management the whole day – but not late enough for not seizing the local ambiance.

DSC09567

There are different experiences offered to the big and small visitors, from photo boots where you can picture yourself and your family in the specific ambiance to live shows.

DSC09568

Beautiful horses are patrolling the sandy streets of the city, friendly enough for being approached by children.

DSC09572

Once in a while, one can also learn some country dancing steps. You are in El Dorado, after all…

DSC09577

Everything I go, I was more and more getting into the local feeling. Some colourful totems at a crossroad encouraged me to explore more the place instead of going down near the lake to see admire a quiet slice of nature.

DSC09582

If I would have been a child visiting Western city, it would be hard to resist the temptation to hide in one of these tents hidden beneath bushes. DSC09585

There is also a little animal farm and an adventurous playground.DSC09591Don’t forget about the golden washing places as being in El Dorado always involved the search for some precious gold. DSC09595

Just in case, if you need to defend your treasure, you can get some special shooting training for being ready to react against your enemies, just in case…DSC09598In the saloon, the dark corners gives you intimacy and the time to think where can be the best undiscovered source of gold. As the closing time was getting closer, groups of parents and their children were heading to the exit and doors were locked behind. The silence was taking control of everything and sooner, the lack of movement will wrap perfectly the entire place.DSC09618Remnants of some communist youth activities on a wall near the Westernstadt were reminding that Templin used to be part of the red part of Germany. But right now, there is the Western spirit who won and with the new constructions being built ahead, those times will be soon only history books memories. DSC09627For me, it is about time to take the road back home, walking my portion of kilometers on the way to the train station. At mid-distance, I made a stop near a beautiful lake, that confirms the fame of Templin as the ‘pearl’ of the natural area of Uckermark. DSC09634

The huge storks hosted on the top of houses kept me company most part of the hiking. Maybe I did not spend a full day in Western style, but at least I was back in time to check how the winter finally surrended to the sunny spring. See you in one year, Templin?

Disclaimer: I was offered a free entrance to Westernstadt, but the opinions are, as usual, my own.

For more pictures from Templin, check the dedicated Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/templin-stadt/

In the city of horses – Neustadt an der Dosse

Image

After the horse racing in Hoppegarten, I want to continue my week in the company of horses. And as I was told that in Brandenburg there is a city created especially for horse breeding in the 18th century, one of the biggest in Europe of this kind, I am heading in the next day by train to Neustadt an der Dosse, less than one hour away from Berlin.

Image

It is Wednesday and the streets are quiet, disturbing quiet to be honest. The houses are small, with maximum two levels, with big yards with rooster singing gloriously. Add to this the smell of grass freshly cut and you have the whole feeling of the country side life. Keeping this in mind, I keep walking an alley bordered by chestnuts in full bloom.

Image

Neustadt an der Dosse was created in the 18th century, by Friedrich the II as a state stud center. The horses for the Prussian Army were brought from Wien but also from outside Europe, till the center was able to produce its own breeds. Many old houses nowadays used as shops or medical cabinets or housing look like horse stables because they were created originally to serve as accommodation for horses.

Image

With so much beautiful nature around, there is no wonder that the horses are feeling so good and healthy here. They feel the humans around, as in the case of those three beautiful horses that hear me coming from afar, resumed their eating and welcomed me with curiosity according to their own mysterious and elegant ritual.

Image

After another 30 minutes of walking, I arrive at the Forstlehrgarten, a small park where families with children can enjoy the experience of the life in the middle of the nature, either by learning more about old tools used in the agriculture or about birds and animals living in the Brandenburg area. It is a nice piece of wood where you can walk and enjoy your time while learning a little bit as well.

Image

Nearby, a beautiful park, near the biggest hotel around. Otherwise, people can find easily private accommodation. As for food, there are a couple of small restaurants with fast-food look, but open in the afternoon.

Image

Neustadt an der Dosse doesn’t have a center in the proper sense of the word. There are a couple of small shops, even an insurance company with extensive services offered for horses, and even some historical old buildings. While I was thinking about what exactly you can do here except horses, I was reminded that this can be enough: a carriage carried by a beautiful black horse broke the silence of the street. I was feeling in a film studio with a remake of old country movies. A beautiful feeling, I might say.Image

For more quietness, near the river Dosse there are enough spots where to stay and look around at the beautiful colourful flowers.

Image

Otherwise, everywhere where is a small piece of healthy grass, there will always be horses. They are used with humans, but still, educated enough to keep an elegant distance from them.

Image

On the way to the historical training center, one of the most important in this part of Germany, there are even more horses: of all ages and breeds, more or less annoyed by the human curiosity. Grandparents bring their children to look at them, and tourists are renting big carriages for a round around the city. As there are not too many cars on the streets, they can relatively walk unharmed.

Image

At a certain extent, the history of the center in Neustadt an der Dosse reflects historical episodes of this part of the world too. Friedrich the II wanted to introduce the use of horses part of his larger plan to reform the army. During WWII, around 4,800 horses were used for infantry, many of them being killed. When the Red Army arrived, 300 horses at least were took away to the Soviet Russia. Nowadays, they are part of more peaceful plans, being mostly trained for sport competition.

Image

When I am leaving, I feel under the spell of beauty for a long time after. Back in the busy city, I know that I can hardly expect to see a horse graciously walking in the crossroad. But I least I know that the beautiful creatures are not that far away from me.

For more insights about Neustadt an der Dosse, check the dedicated Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/neustadt-an-der-dosse/

Visiting Lübbenau and the Spreewald area

Image

I was told on several occasions about the beautiful landscape of Spreewald, but till I arrived at Lübbenau, one hour away by train from Berlin, I did not fully believe it. Call it the good habit of the journalist. That we should have congratulate ourselves for a perfect choice for a summer day away from the city, we had realize as sooner  aswe spotted out of the window the Spree shining in the sun.

But there is a somehow unfair natural law according to which good things happen to those who wait. None of the beautiful nature was around the streets near the train station when we arrived, but we were optimistic enough that  we will really be in the middle of that nature soon. Till then, we first encountered a kind of ranch with a big yard where were gathered different domesticated animals.

Image

Respecting the traditions and language of the local Sorb minority, the names of the streets and other important information are bilingual. Despite the too much tourist information, we were able to continue our way easily though. The big monument of the Soviet soldier reminded us that the area used to be during the Cold War part of the DDR.

Image

Our meditations about recent history, if any, were cut shortly by the view of the alley leading to a thick forest. The quietness and simple beauty left us in silence for a good amount of time. We slowly walked the alleys, breathing deep the fresh air. Except the fast forward moving bikes, many of them belonging to visitors like us, nothing troubled the majestic ambiance.

Image

For less than one hour, we made a short tour of the town, with red bricked houses stuck between white modern buildings where one can enter following cobblestoned streets. People are living simply, many probably using the products of their gardens. The consumption area was reduced to the bare minimum: pharmacy, bakery, bookstore, food, some clothing shops.

Image

We can’t wait to be back in the nature. Spreewald is not only part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve, but also one of Germany’s major gardens. The famous pickles made in the region are one of the most sought and famous products in the North of the country. The area has no less than 18,000 species of flora and fauna most of them in full blown during the spring and summer.

Visitors are coming in the ‘Woodland’ – the raw translation of ‘Spreewald’ – to relax. For us, it was enough just to stay on one of the bridges and look. The rest of the people would most likely enjoy an hours long tour by canoe, an usual transportation for the locals – that can be rented from one of the localities part of the small delta. Especially during the summer, the river is getting busy as the commotion from the streets of Berlin in a working afternoon is moving to Spree. Except that the risk of an accident or of getting angry on your traffic partner is almost impossible. With so much beauty around, you calm down immediately.

Image

Besides the famous big jars of pickles, an iconic product for the former East Germans, the traditional arts of the Sorbs are another trademark of the area. Coloured glass globes with motives inspired by nature are a special souvenir that you can take back home from the trip.

As for us, the best souvenir was the good mood and refreshed energies that lasted at least for a very busy week ahead. In less than two weeks, we were back exploring another corner of Spreewald. Why not taking the chance of living in a big capital city surrounded by so much beautiful nature?

More pictures from our trip to Lübbenau can be found here: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/spreewald/

Sunday at Diedersdorf Castle

Image

Summer is just around the corner, but spring in Berlin and Brandenburg is by far one of the most beautiful season. After long months of darkness and rain, the beautiful nature is waking up suddenly and shows itself in its full colourful beauty. Hard to resist the temptation of staying outdoors as much as possible, I take any opportunity for more discoveries. Enchanted by the promise of another full day of sun, we took the S-Bahn till Blankenfelde with a simple and clear direction: Diedersdorf Castle.

Close to the station, on Mozartweg a mini-bus was waiting. In exchange of 2 Euro one way, we were brought fast to the destination, although I would have rather prefer to walk as many other groups of visitors till the gates. Maybe on the way back… Image

On the way, we noticed the quiet streets, that are getting more and more busy close to the gate to the castle. Most visitors seem to arrive by car, bikes or motorbikes. Although it is Sunday, many shops are open, offering only with souvenirs or sweet roasted almonds to buy as a snack to keep you company during a tour around the castle; there are also books, home design items and designed clothes.

Image

After a short look at the elegant lobby of the 200-year hotel, we go next  discovering the big yard, with shops, restaurants and other locations used for theatre or other cultural activities.  The castle was built in the mid-18th century and changed several times. The hotel has 8 big suites and a fitness place and it often chosen for elegant weddings or company parties, but also for fairs, one of them being fully dedicated to wedding planning.

Image

The darked old buildings were maintained in the middle of newest additions , but assigned new (often commercial) functions. People are coming and going, visiting the shops to buy or only to have a look.

Image

In a small room, bride bouquets and other lavish arrangements are prepared. From simple designs to complicated orders, nothing seems to be impossible for the skilled hands of the artisans working here.

Image

An important area of the main yard is dedicated to the children: a big indoor where birthday parties can be organized, a couple of big playground, with paid entrance, and also some tempting carts, that can be used starting with 3 Euro for 30 minutes. Alongside, the adults can play boules.

Image

While the children are playing, their parents can enjoy a grill, but the season for such activities was not fully open yet. For the wine lovers, the cellar is hiding exquisite names, like Chateau Etang des Colombes, Rheinegau Riesling or Cotes du Rhone, for over 25 Euro the bottle.

Image

Meanwhile, we continue our tour of the main locations. A former cowshed was changed into a big hall mostly used for weddings where around 300 guests – 130 if seated – can be hosted. In order to keep the original feeling of the place, some old elements of the original space were kept. If you are non-conformist enough, why not celebrating the entrance into a new life in such an ambiance?

Image

The lazy Sunday brunch can be taken in a former blacksmith. The bakery nearby is offering various sorts of bread and cookies that can be easily tasted outside for long hours. The famous asparagus is already introduced on the menu of the restaurant –  former horse shed – alongside with healthy potatoes dishes or a bowl of pear compote.

Image

But not the food brought me here this time, but the perspective of spending a lot of time hiking quietly. We follow one of the hiking routes getting closer to more wild nature.

Image

When the weather allows it, the weddings can be celebrated outdoors, in a quiet and green environment. Otherwise, you can spend the full day reading outside on a chaise-longue that can be rented for free.

Image

As we get far away from the ‘civilized’ areas, we meet my favourite animals: beautiful horses trained for slow rides. As we walk, we cross paths with happy children riding their ponies. A noble encounter between children and beautiful animals is a real lesson in life.

Image

And we go further on, and the perspective changes even more. More beautiful green fields with rebel areas of trees at the horizon.

Image

The wildlife observation standpoints warn the visitors that there might be a hidden life in the fields, but unfortunately we are not privy to any special meeting with representatives of the animal world.

Image

The hiking lane can be busy at times, with people of all ages some of them together with their bikes, many checking their tracking apps to see if they are on the right way. A complete tour of the area takes around 2 hours of slow walking and we are delighted to taste every single second of it.

Image

The majestic profiles of the riders brings a certain elegance to the wild nature around. And its prolongs the feeling of being surrounded by so much natural beauty.

Image

For those living a quiet urban life in the city, nature can inspire Romantic thoughts. However, for those living here, it means a lot of hard work and permanent preparations. The buzz of the machines wakes me up from the poetic reveries, bringing me back to the basis.

Image

As the castle is situated close to Tegel airport, no wonder that the airplanes coming and going are permanently troubling the celestial silence of the nature. Far away, we spotted high speed trains, red dots disappearing instantly in the green. But there are also perfect moment of quietness when, as in life, you should be ready to enjoy the lack of unexpected occurences.

Image

We are back to the castle again. The beer garden where Oktoberfest celebrations are held is getting busier, but some prefer to lay on the grass instead with or without the pick-nick baskets. Traditional bretzels and beers are tasted on the long tables and instant friendships are made easier.

Image

We are ready for more walking, going back to Blankenfelde by foot. From flowers to homemade marmalade, the locals are doing their best to convince the visitors to take some memories back home and support the local economy as well. The local small museum displays some information about local traditions, mostly connected to agricultural works.

Image

Far away from the Castle, the streets are quiet and only the fast bikes are breaking the monotony.

Image

One hour after, we finally arrive in the borough of Blankenfelde, the least populated area of Berlin, according to the statistics. Created in 1375 as a settlement, it was integrated into the city during the big administrative reform in 1920, and till the fall of the Wall it play the role of guardian of the Western borders of the East Berlin. Nowadays, is just another quiet neighbourhood questioning its future. An invitation to a local debate about how culture can revive the area suggests that the local people wants and expect more for their corner of Berlin.

We don’t have too many answers to such big questions now, but we think about coming back soon to check what’s new at the castle and maybe spend more time in the area as well.

For more insights from Diedersdorf Castle, have a look at the dedicated Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/schloss-diedersdorfdiedersdorf-castle/

Here is a short video about agricultural works at the castle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH4629LN9so

Spring hiking in Kremmen

Image

Nothing compares with the smell of spring in the air. Give me some rays of lights and a clear blue sky and I am instantly at the door ready to spend the rest of the day outside. In one of those days of the unusual early spring, we took a train to Kremmen, a relatively less known destination in the always surprising area of Brandenburg. In less than one hour we were at the train station, without too many people around, and in the middle of an old looking train station. At least, it was a colourful invitation to the bar.

Image

Hopefully, there were a lot of arrows indicating the way to the main areas of interests and we took Berliner Chausee till the first stop: the Spargelhoff/Asparagus yard. I hardly knew what ‘spargel’ is till moving in Germany, except for the decorative plant with the same name. ‘Spargel’ is a national food, with various celebrations organized on the occasion of the first – and second, and third – degustation. As we are relatively out season, the area looked empty, except some accidental visitors (us included). 

Image

We made a little tour, had a surprised look at the big agricultural machines – the city girl doesn’t have too many ideas what you can do with them – and tried to made a timid eye contact with the fury residents of the area, not yet ready for guests. Image

Five minutes later, we were in the Scheunenviertel, a well preserved quarter of old peasant’s houses – despite the frequent fires that affected it from time to time -, changed into location for different cultural and foodie attractions. It seems that here is the liveliest area of the little town, with many restaurants, coffees, dancing classes, art galleries and little antiques shops. Here is also a bar where the motor bikers area gathering, and we already noticed a couple of big metal machine monsters around. Image

I preferred to stop at the Antiques shop, finding my way and the sense through the diverse pieces of furniture, from different stages of the history of interior design. Image

The weather was so lovely that I didn’t want to stop: we arrived at the central area Am Markt, with the small city hall, took the quiet street of Berliner Strasse, and after to Ruppiner strasse, where close to a war monument we saw a small barefoot path. Kremmen also has a spa/thermal center, closed till April.Image

Although Scheunenviertel offered a couple of foodie temptations, we decided to have a longer refuel stop at the former gingerbread factory – Zur alten Leibkuchen – for a coffee and more. The place looks a bit too crowded for me, with many reconverted pieces of furniture, but cozy and with a friendly service.Image

While we were planning the next stop while chewing the poppy seed cake – a bit too sweet, but lovely taste – and sipping the excellent coffee, one of the customers was reminding loudly his memories about the gingerbread factory as a kid. Somehow, knowing the local language always helps to get better travel stories.Image

With new energies, we were on the road again, direction Grosse Ziethen. The 5-km. walk is very easy, in the middle of a green scenery, with fields and farms. Accompanied by the birds returning back home the walk went faster and we enjoyed every breath of the new spring.

Image

For those who dare to go farther by car or foot, there is a horse-back riding center, with beautiful horses getting ready for the high season.

Image

At the end of the walk, there was a castle, Schloss Ziethen, nowadays an elegant hotel and restaurant. The garden is open to the public, and we continued our discovery of new spring signs. An art installation, by Janine von Thuengen, in the middle of the luxuriant garden, creates a certain feeling of unusual and unexpected.Image

But it was time to go back to our busy city life. The day was almost over but the spring air gave me more strength and an optimistic view for the rest of the season. When it’s spring, I know that only good things can happen. If not sure, will take a new trip to Kremmen for the confirmation.

For more visual insights about Kremmen, have a look at the dedicated Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/kremmen/

Early spring in Templin

Image

Give me a ray of light and some spring and you can hardly find me at home. As the winter was so mild winter this year, no wonder that I was on the road most part of the time, looking for more and more interesting places to write about. When I want to be spontaneous, I only have to look around Brandenburg and I have a one-day trip guaranteed. For the first serious spring day of the year, we took an almost 2-hour ride to Templin, also called ‘the pearl of Uckermark’ and the hometown of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

The ride was very pleasant, with a lot of green plains and deer running freely. Later on, my enthusiasm about the beauty of the countryside will be calmed down as I was told that the deer were not as free as I thought, but hosted at a farm till mature enough for being sold as meat.

Image

Templin developed in the 14th century as a middle age town and has the best preserved fortification system in the North of Germany. When we arrived there, around 11.30, everything was covered in quietness. Except some tourists, no one shown up before the second half of the day.

Image

We visited the Berlin tower, where we watched a live display of local traditions performed by people of different ages living in Templin. The city has a strong rural component, that was kept despite the industrialisation. The home made baskets look interesting and so are the home made soaps, some of them following Middle Ages recipes, transmitted from a generation to another. As the family plays an important role in transmitting and keeping traditions live, we are told that the children from Templin are regularly invited for various workshops in the tower.

Image

Outside in the sun, we walk for hours the cobblestoned streets, with houses lost in time.

Image

On the other side of the fortified walls, the boats are waiting the beginning of the fishing season.

Image

Till then, the lake is quiet and half frozen near the shore.

Image

With such a quiet ambiance, we wonder what can be done if you are living in Templin. The main cultural activities are held at the Multicultural center, where movies and various shows are presented. Other cultural activities for tourists is a visit to the museum of local history, that was closed that Sunday.

Image

The main shops – mostly small ones, selling things of immediate necessity and home made products – and the few restaurants are concentrated in the area around the city hall, where regularly the weekly market is held too.

Image

After so much walking and courageous plans to continue the hiking for another hours, we decided to have a stop and a coffee. Caught by the sound of French chansonettes, we entered Café Flammene, a small cozy place, with tables made up of sewing machines. The coffee is delicious and looking good and everything seems to be made with soul, including the waffles that we take as energy refuel.

Image

From now on nothing stops us from the adventures in the middle of the nature. The small forest is not green yet, but carefully cut to leave enough place to the different marked hiking trails.

Image

The frozen lake doesn’t deter the swans and ducks to go further and enjoy the beginning of the spring. The ice helps keeping the dogs at a decent distance from the birds.

Image

In the middle of the wild forest, everything is quiet and inspiring a round-up of the immediate priorities. We walk in silence, breathing deep the fresh air. With such a beginning of the spring, the next months look very optimistic.

For more insights about Templin Stadt, have a look at my dedicated Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/templin-stadt/