One of my favorite passtimes after spending a couple of days in a place is to discover the places closer to home where can I visit. After my first week in Buckow, I already started to check the map and ask the locals where I can go for a one-day trip. Of course, the easiest answer is Berlin, but I promised myself to keep the countryside mood lit for my whole stay so I rather preferred to explore some unique, off the beaten place destinations. Which I actually did: I offered myself 3 trips exploring the surrounding, while also burning the calories after my extensive foodie guide research.
With a bit of luck and a lot of energy, here is the list of my favorite three day-trips to take from Buckow.
This small hunters' village founded in the second half of the 13th century can be reached either by bus - the bus going to Muncheberg from Buckow - or by foot, through a quiet forest. If you know me, you know already which way I choose...
The forest walk starts near the train station, passing near a small farm of wild goats that were keen to do their best to jump over the net surrounding them to escape to liberty.
The forest walk is of around 3 km. and you can easily make it wearing comfy sport shoes. You can bike, walk your dog or push a relatively solid buggy.
The natural surrounding is simple, with small rivers crossing the paths and refreshing the air. A welcomed encounter, especially during the hot summer days. The directions to the village are clearly mentioned so getting lost is not possible. Especially in the weekend, there are many people around, so you can hardly go half an hour without meeting someone.
As we arrived on the streets, the village was perfectly quiet, lost in the summer Sunday laziness. A mechanical watch made of flowers looked like one of the few things alive in Waldsieversdorf at that time.
The small wooden houses with large gardens were looking like a perfect refuge against the heat.
The main cultural activities are hosted in the former summer house of the Dadaist, and politically engaged on behalf of the communists German artist John Heartfield. He was born Helmut Herzfeld, and took his new name after his exile in the Great Britain, where he escaped the political persecutions during the WWII in Germany. Bertold Brecht convinced him to set summer headquarters in the Märkische Schweiz and the blue and black house is part of the intellectual heritage in the region. A friend of the writer Stefan Heym who supported his membership in the Academy of Arts of the GDR, his political collages and artistic works were often considered not ideologically conform by the political leadership of the time, but he was not an open disident to the SED-dictatorship.
Although small, Waldsieversdorf offers a couple of entertainment options to the locals too. For instance, an afternoon to the beach or a visit to the Wasserturm - water tower. At the end of July, it took place the biggest event, a festival dedicated to the local hunting tradition.
The only place we succeeded to explore throughout was the chidren-friendly Café Tilia, a good stop not only for hikers, but also for bikers crossing the Märkische Schweiz.
The interior is decorated in a timeless GDR-chic kitsch, with the porcelain dolls are a constant present in the rooms that may look actually as a cosy refuge during the cold winter days.
The Café offers homemade cakes, made of seasonal fruits, delicious icecreams and a variety of wines. It was a welcomed stop, given that we needed some fresh drinks and energy for starting our journey back to Buckow.
But when you travel with friends, time passes much easier. The way back looked not only easier, but we also made it faster. The calming nature landscape was a good companion and inspiration.
The 3-km. trip from Buckow to the 400-inhabitant village of Bollersdorf I did it alone, in the morning, following the path near the Strand - beach area.
It is a very easy ride, and all you need is a pair of comfy sport shoes and an open heart to welcome the quietness and interesting sides of nature.
After almost 30 minutes of hiking I ended up on some streets with huge wooden gates which reminded me of some small Transylvanian villages.
I was confused that I arrived to Bollersdorf so fast, but soon after talking with a local, I was directed to the next leg of my trip. I was just in a small no man's land where cats were welcomed. (Actually, during my stay in Buckow I've seen most cats on the street - not stray, but street walking - than in 10 years of German life).
The next stage of my trip involved a less romantic view, with a predominant agricultural focus.
With larger than the eye view fields of corn, ready to be picked-up.
The 14th century old Bollersdorf has two main streets: Hauptstraße - the main street, and Buckower Weg. No shops, no coffee house, nothing but unique houses with front yards full of colourful flowers and a restaurant - Gasthaus Fischer - that was closed at the time of my visit. And an old Trabi - the symbol car of the GDR times - parked near the sound-soaked capitalist Audis or Mercedes.
The view of the golden fields is worth a summer painting, or at least a couple of pictures, for the less artistically gifted.
There are some former horse stables buildings made of hard stone, the same material used for the local church, but during the week, everything looked completely deserted.
I am back on the road to Buckow, saying good bye to the golden fields.
Welcoming the narrowing paths of the forest, reaching roads with names like Weißetaube - the dove, or Poetensweg - the Poets' path.
My short trip to Bollersdorf was refreshing and a good opportunity to put at work my orientation skills - as I refused to use any Google Maps being guided only by my well-trained sense of finding the right direction. Apparently, I am doing much better in the wilderness than in the city.
From Buckow, Müncheberg is the closest destination if you are looking for some serious shopping, including food and clothes. I've been there twice, once only for exploring the area around the train station. You can use a day ticket for 3 EUR for your bus journey from Buckow - every hour during the week - to Müncheberg train station and back, plus the two-way ride from the train station the the central area.
You can also take the old train from Buckow.
The ride lasts around 30 minutes.
During my first stop, exploring the surroundings of the train station, I ended up in an area called Schlagenthin, with hills took over by beautiful horses. Given that this place is less than 10 km. away from Hoppegarten, it makes sense to see all those horses. Close-by, on Eberswalder straße, there is the horse-riding center of Galgenberghof, the local recommended destination for horse lovers of all ages.
The complete trip we took to the town, ended around Ernest Thalmann street, from where we started to explore the surronding. A small shop selling ceramics was our first sight. Actually, all round the area, you can see small ceramics and wood carving workshops whose works can easily spotted in the front of the villages' houses.
Although the city was at a great extent destroyed during the war - compared to Buckow has larger streets allowing the tanks to easily enter, but it was also situated closed to the battle lines leading to Poland, which is a couple of minutes away by car or train - the old Middle Ages city walls survived at a great extent and are surrounding the city. They make it into the background of more modern settings, such as a kitschy games hall.
Most of the buildings are new, designed in the practical, anti-aesthetical communist mindset, with only a couple of traditional buildings left.
Fortunatelly, the summer decorated beautifully everything, and the ivy on the wall is for sure hiding some cracks on the walls. Although the town in its entirety may be described as the opposite of beautiful, some small colours added here and there make a tremendous difference as it uplifts not only the grey mood, but also bring some splashes of life to a street or a building.
As many other places in the region of Brandenburg, Müncheberg has a development potential, but it seems still has to cope with the heritage of the communist past. After the reunification, some industries become obsolete and assigning new economic functions didn't happened yet. Tourism and real estate could bring fresh life, but you may need also some other opportunities to the combo. Until then, old shops formerly used by companies closed at least 10 years ago, are waiting and waiting to be rented back and brought to the commercial circuit.
As a visitor, the old Middle Ages remnants and towers offer at least a good photographic opportunity.
The local park is big enough to answer the movement needs of some energetic kids, especially in the summer when everything is covered in green.
While waiting for the bus to take us back to Buckow, we went back and forth, from a former tower bridge to the other, trying to connect histories and stories.
The natural line of the trees is doubled by the edges of the old wall, creating some narrow path for slow walking and meditation. Some corners are recluse enough to let your imagination of faraway lands and better places fly faster.
We left Müncheberg with no regrets; actually we wished the bus was coming earlier. However, I would be curious to return here in a couple of years to see how things changed. I am sure changes are around the corner here too.
Coming next in my Buckow installments: Hiking recommendations. Stay tunned!