Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hiking in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte

Summers in Germany are unexpected beautiful but dramatically short. Sometimes, I feel like in a Snapchat short movie, always too short before you see it properly. Thus, the only chance is to do as often fast forward as possible. As a big fan of hiking when there the weather is sunny without any probabilty of rain, I love to discover new places and the hit of this year so far is the Müritz area, in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte, around 90 minutes by train from the capital city. 
I took the train from Berlin until Kratzeburg, generally crowded this time of the year, especially in the bike section. But upon arrival, the bikes are flying right and left as soon as possible, and we are left to face the real faces of the countrylife. 
Maybe in none of my recent hiking trips I haven't smell and breath so strong the countryside feeling. The smell of fresh grass, minutes in a row without any sound other than that of the leaves moved by the wind. 
There is a little museum, dedicated to the various species of bats living in the area. It can be interesting for children, but I prefer to see them alive, in their natural environment.
There are no hotels in Kratzenburg, but enough private accommodations offered in colourful fishermen houses. Most of them are advertised in the old school style, before the AirBnB - through announcement written on a board in the front of the house.
The hungry visitots - we will meet many of them on the way back from the hiking in the afternoon - are invited either to a smoked fish restaurant, or to one of the two small coffee houses serving icecream or icecoffee. My favourite was Coffee Piccolino, for the friendly and fast service, exactly what you need when you are hungry and thirsty and in a big hurry.
The first hiking route was on the way to the Camping place Naturfreund, a destination for many vacationers interested to explore the area while having a fixed headquarters. 
The walking is easy and partly through some sandy pathways. The access is possible only for the camping residents, who also have access to the Käbelicksee.
The next ambitious target of our hiking day was to walk the three kilometers from Kratzeburg to Pieverstorf. From the very beginning, we made some new friends.
The road is easy, both for bikes and for walkers, including with buggies, or accompanied by dogs. We were happy to meet other families with very small children, enjoying together the pleasure of the nature. You need sport shoes and a big bottle of water. The road goes mostly at the same sea level, without too many challenges. You just can follow your feet while breathing deep the beautiful fresh smell of grass.
There were many lakes along the way, like Röthsee or Dambecker See, but most of them hidden by the vegetation. 
It is impossible to get lost here: there are many information points with arrows for different destinations, and people are always coming and going. If you are too tired, you can just rest on one of the wooden benches and eventually have a picnic.
The views are eye catching and there is no sign of human intervention. For me, this is the perfect detox after weeks, or even years, of office stressful work. 
The more I walk the more I am becoming accustomed with new smells and sounds. The sound of salt, for instance, when we arrive at the Dambecker Lake.
There is a small portion where cars can also go, but you ride through natural tunnels built by the trees.
The human presence in Pieverstorf is rather discrete. No consummerist attractions, only stone houses and some poneys that just finished their lunch. Even for a little child who starts to discern the complexity of our world, such an encounter is a moment of joy.
The next hiking route goes through Dambeck, following the same visual pattern: flowers, and a blue sky and the sounds of birds. Thanks to my mountain training as a child, I can hear the infinite music of the woodpecker at work.
I wish I can just forget about time and get myself lost out of time in the embrace of nature. The green, and the blue and the pale yellow are my favourite summer colours.
The monotony I am happily getting used with is challenged by small ponds of water arising beneath the green cover of wild vegetation or fallen trees.
3 kilometers later, our hiking adventure is about to end, and I am ready to head the train back to Berlin. But during all this time, I breath and fed my eyes with enough beauty for building a shield against stress and boredom and worries. A confirmation, if I needed any, that hiking should share a bigger part of my daily busy life, especially during the summer.

For more inspiration, check the dedicated Pinterest board: https://de.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/mecklenburgische-seeplatte/

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