Every February, Werder (an der Havel) pops-up into the day travel agenda for its famous cherry blossom festival where local wines made of almost every kind of fruits are displayed. I went to the festival as far as 6 years ago - how fast the times go - and wanted to return this year but either the weather or my hectic agenda didn't allow it. Is there anything else to do there outside the festival? I tried to answer this question during a full one day generously spent there.
If you arrive from Berlin to Potsdam train station, there are regular buses every 30 minutes going there. The ABC ticket is available on the regional lines too, and elegant air conditioned buses provided with wlan - much better than you can get in Berlin - are leading you for around 30 minutes near blue lakes and wild corners of nature.
Our stop is near the Panoramaweg-Obstweg, close to the usual routes for fruity wine tasting during the festival. This time, there are only bikers running up to the hills, on the otherwise quiet roads bordered by trees. The fragrances of fruits and fresh juices is in the air and I can't stop thinking about maybe visiting one or two orchards for some tastings.
The wines made of sour cherries or peaches or strawberries or who knows what are usually displayed in the front of the houses. There is almost lunch time, so most people are busy enjoying their meals under the unusual hot sun.
As for me, I can finally visit the Fruchterlebnis - which means Fruit experience - Garten Petzow which is made of a restaurant, a shop, a garden and warmhouse and other facilities, with a special focus on sea buckthorn - or Sanddorn, in German - a fruit I am not familiar at all. But during my time there I have plenty of occasions to get accustumed with, as almost everything served there use the small light orange pearl-like fruits as the main ingredient.
The Vitamin C rich natural juice is very refreshing, but the soup, made of smoked salmon and again some sea buckthorn and parsley, matched with white bread, is not necessarily a fantastic experience, but goes well as a short snack. The service is fast and friendly and in the sea of orange chairs and table wares and orange walls or napkins, you can easily forget any eventual inconveniences. Note to self: try the 'wine' - still, as a daughter of a wine maker, it takes me some time to get used with the idea of wine not made of grapes - the next time.
As we are walking up the streets around, we stumble upon some crow-stepped towers, an architecture staple on the street.
A couple of meters away, a wedding is about to begin at the Petzow castle, a family owned residence until 1945, a mixture between an Italian fortress and an Tudor English manor house. In the last decades, it was used as school or other institutional destinations, nowadays in process of being rebuilt as a residential quarter.
After a couple of more walking, we are back into the old city center of Werder, of which I don't remember too much, as during the Cherry blossom the whole area is packed with kiosks and merries-go-rounds. The colourful fassades on Unter den Linden narrow street are elegant and remind me a bit of the neighbouring Potsdam.
The street is bordered on one side by green trees whose shade is protecting half of the passage, and on the other by small restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a quiet cup in the afternoon.
As we are walking, the views are getting better and better, with a huge windmill surrounded by green trees profiled against the sky, near the blue lake waters where a colourful boat is waddling in the middle.
The hot weather is keeping us a good company, therefore finding a proper icecream is a priority. At Cafe Jacob, an elegant family friendly located on Torstraße, I am delighted to try for the first time a delicious vanilla icecream soaked in pumpkinseeds oil. An unusual yet perfect taste combination that I wish I can find somewhere else too...
And my efforts are rewarded with a diversity of styles, from Art Nouveau architecture to classical old German timbered houses. Most shops are closed for now, and the owners are sitting a bit more in the front of the stores, sometimes with a glass of (real) red wine and a book.
The water is the calming element, always present always hiding. Sometimes, it feels that Werder is a small island - and actually it has a small island connected by a bridge to the rest of the town - far away from the busy world to which is separated only by one boat trip away.
There is a sense of familiar and friendliness floating over the old cobblestone streets. People trust each other and greet each other even if they meet for the first and last time. In the front of the houses, homemade jams and marmalade are displayed on tables with only a jar where to leave the money in exchange of your purchase. It's even better than online shopping.
Could I dare to ask if this lovely house is on sale? Maybe, after all my city adventures, we are make for each other...
But there is a time to leave and I feel like a traitor. For sure I wanted to stay more and even find more foodie places to delight my senses with, or more hiking paths to fulfill my love for nature. I don't like to make promises, but I wish I can mak
e it back here earlier than 6 years. And, who knows, by then the blue little house might be available...