Sunday, September 3, 2017

Branitz Castle: An English Garden Late Summer Dream

Visiting the Bad Muskau park and castle was a travel dream I had since moving to Germany, achieved only the last year. But I am living from a travel dream to the other, so shortly after I realized that I must see another work - the last - of the multi-faceted Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Pückler Muskau, a general, writer and landscape artist, among others: Branitz Castle. Another famous work of him is the Babelsberg castle which I visited couple of times in the last months, preparing a post about my beloved Potsdam, coming up the next week.
Branitz is a small village near Cottbus - which is also worth a visit - reached by the bus no. 10 - Pückler Line - leaving in the front of the train station. In the weekend, there is a bus every hour, at past 8, and the ride takes around 20 minutes. Welcome to the world of wanders seems to be written all over the blue door!
The park is a fine work of English landscaping, the plans being coordinated by Pückler himself. The last of his works, as he spent his last years of life and died to Branitz, it has many interesting corners where the manmade landscape is insidiously invading the wild nature. The additions are so discrete that you hardly notice sometimes, therefore you might simply prefer to enter what was created for you, like in the old Chinese stories where the artist disappears from the real world by jumping into his work of art.
Even the architecture looks unusual, with normal shapes and volumes going through a dramatic metamophosis. A happy meeting between the world of creativity and that of geometry with its numbers.
I particularly loved how in the wilderness of the park, some discrete human presence can be enlightening. A reminder that you are not lost in the middle of the chaotic rhythms of nature.
In the centre of the park, there is the late Baroque castle, with its oriental rooms, and the special library and an impressive collection of items brought by Pückler from his travels around the world, where Clara Shumann and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy also used to play for the castle guests. 
The blue, my favorite colour, is everywhere, here also matched with the golden wrought of the entrance stair case. A group of young people celebrating a wedding are singing in the front, with some of the guests, dressed in colourful outfits, are running to be in time, colourful spots on the green background. It looks like the perfect setting for such happy beginnings.
The people are almost melting into the surroundings, easily being taken for one of the bizarre statues, which do have a classical Greek posture, but are ironically dressed as a modern work. In this respect, Pückler was also far before his time. 
With the sun up in the sky and promising to stay there for longer, I am following the paths, trying to not be bothered by the bikes or groups of people Nordic walking or many other visitors who are taking the same chance as me to be here. Especially if you are a local, it looks like the perfect way to spend outdoors a beautiful summer day and I am glad to be one of them today.
The grass-covered pyramid is another local attraction, near the small island where Pückler and his wife are buried. Passionate by Egypt, he wanted to create a corner of Orient in the middle of the cold Eastern part of Germany and at least visually, he succeeded to achieve something unique and unforgettable.

Although the strong fresh air is healthy all round the year, I will strongly recommend to visit this place when the nature is in full bloom and one can get extra beauty points by just looking at the lavish natural background. It took me a couple of months of waiting, but it was worth the effort and would love to come back here any time as long as I can see green pastures and colourful flowers.

Other things to do near the Branitz Castle:

Especially if you visit with children, there are at least two other things to do in Branitz, minutes away from the Park.
- The Tierpark, where you can, among others, watch from close some funny, friendly kangaroos. 
- Take a ride with the historical train. The train station is in the front of the Tierpark entrance and the kids do have a lot of fun riding through the forest and back. 
For more inspiration from Branitz, visit the dedicated Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.de/ilanaontheroad/branitz-germany/

No comments:

Post a Comment