Saturday, August 5, 2017

Exploring Mühlenbecker Land


My end of July resolution for the rest of the summer is to fully enjoy every single moment discovering new places, tasting new restaurants and therefore, writing more travel blog posts. I do have my own list of places that I would love to check for years, and I am looking forward to complete it in the next weeks, but there are, as usual into my life, also projects that I introduce spontaneously on my list. Such as, for instance, the Mühlenbecker Land, a destination that I stumbled upon while looking for some interesting half-day trips destinations from Berlin. The first few things I've read where encouraging enough to plan an adventure there, preferably starting early in the morning.
We arrived there with the S8 train direction Birkenwerder, with a stop at Mühlenbeck-Mönchmühle station - included in the C transportation area of the city - where you feel that Berlin is very far away: green lanes and one storey big houses with small children playgrounds look idyllic enough to make you forget the busy city life. Given the many directions to so many places situated less than 5 kilometers away from the train station, it seemed that I need at least one full day to cover all the interesting destinations. 
For the beginning, we are heading through the woods, direction Schildowsee, together with groups of parents with small children, bikes and people of all ages. 
Everyone is moving fast enough and we are on purpose staying behind, breathing deep the air still humid after the many days of rain. For a couple of minutes, everything looks very peaceful and remote.
But the quietness is shortly broken by the busyness of a public place, crowded with children happy to jump in the sand or in the waters of the lake. This part of Schildowsee is a public beach created in the middle of the nature. You pay 3 EUR. entrance and you can set your own blanket, play tennis or volleyball, swim and even have some fresh beers on the benches. As in the case of many such places in Germany, those unfamiliar with the local culture might be surprised by the high percentage of people practicing openly nudism near small children and full dressed people, but this is how things are here.
Back on the road after a full lake tour, I can't have enough of admiring the luxuriant vegetation hiding the elegant houses and manicured gardens. After a stop for houses watching on Birkenallee, we head straight forward to the Kastanienallee and after that, on Mönchmühlenallee
Mönch means monk, in German, and one of the local attraction is the water mill from a former Circensian monastery hosting nowadays cultural events and even a beer garden. However, on Sundays it is open only in the afternoon so we didn't have the chance to explore it into more detail.
But we are curious to find out more about this part of Berlin, geographically included in the Oberland part. I went far away from this area, in Wandlitz and I am sure there is more nature to explore. 
From the same train station that brought us here, we head direction Grünebergstrasse. It is around 15 minutes of walking, if you are not one of the many happy bikers which are practically everywhere on the street. However, the views are nice, and the colourful houses keep me and my camera alert.
The colourful impressions continue at the small art workshop from Piepereit&Mohlzahn which has open house this day. Besides the many second hand items, there are also fresh cakes and coffee available, and some local artists works. The art lovers can also find, but during the week only, local pottery at Mandy Kleinert store, a couple of meters away. 
We slowly continue the walk on Hauptstraße, not sure what to expect. We pass near a local school built in the typical red-bricks and a monument to peace - Frieden, in German - and many local fast foods serving either Turkish or Asian-inspired meals. 
Two storks, that apparently are the local stars as they are featured on the walls of the Tourist Office which is closed on Sundays, are playing the stars from the top of a huge industrial chimney. If they are here it means that there are still a couple of good days left from this summer, I said to myself.
At the end of the street, there is the 1935-built town hall which looks like one of the many average houses around. 
For the next half an hour I am happy to explore the still wet from the rain paths through the forest leading to Mühlenbeckersee. Like everywhere around, the power of silence is both overwhelming and healing after all the stress and daily events each of us have to deal with all over the week.
At the end of the journey, there are some beautiful horses waiting, chewing silently the grass. In total, for this first half of the day I walked around 6 kilometers and all my muscles are telling me that until now it was a good decision, but it is about time to take an urban rest.
And to rest we are, for a short beer and cappuccino for now at the Goldenen Hahn - The Gold Rooster. Mühlenbecker Land looks like an intense destination for hiking and I am seriously thinking about a new adventure soon. 

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