Hike: Why Borgsdorf is my Favorite

I’ve taken a half dozen hikes starting from Borgsdorf into the Briesetal forest. The Briesetal was mined by glacier movements during the Ice Age and cut through by the river Briese. Along a three hour hike you can see the glacier dunes, pristine forest that are milled nearby, wild trees, and a fairy-tale marshland. Given the size of the Briesetal, you can easily choose a route to suit your mood – with as little or as much interaction with other people as you want. You can truly be alone once you get deep into the forest. Sundays, however, are especially…

Hike: Straussee

12.03 kilometers through the Ruheforst Strausberg, Herrensee, and Straussee.  [Tour Link] The “Ruheforst” Strausberg is a forest cemetery where people can be buried in a tree. At first the plaques are easy to miss, but once you know what they are demand attention. The area was lined with informational plaques on details of the forest and vignettes of the lake. Unrelated to the Ruheforst (I think), there were smatterings of small works of art composed of stones, branches and other crafts. This is clearly a very communal space that was relatively busy for a cold late afternoon. The lakes are…

Hike: Grunewald Heerstraße

Grunewald is located in the western side of Berlin on the east side of the Havel. On this frosty day in January I hiked up to the Drachenberg, a hill that provides an excellent vantage point for looking out over the city. This hike was all about elevation change, which was refreshing after so many flat hikes. It was especially picturesque as a light snow fell, but I’ll admit I didn’t stay very long on the Drachenberg as it had a very brisk wind. The only other people up there were what looked like army ROTC guys running up and…

Hike: Tegeler See

There used to be a busy industrial port here, but the operation largely came to a standstill with the division of Germany. The first conversion took place in the 1980s: as part of the international building exhibition, new residential buildings were built by well-known architects. In the meantime, the old harbor with its idyllic location between Tegeler See and Tegeler Fließ has become a trendy residential area. Not only are there elegant city villas on the shore, but also the so-called ‘floating houses’. If you stroll through the harbor here, the modern architecture will remind you of Copenhagen or Stockholm…

Hike: Christmas at Tegeler Fließ

Tegeler Fließ is the name of the river at the former GDR Border. Despite it raining on me for must of the trip, this hike spanned an impressive landscape. The moors were speckled with informational signs on plants, birds, and other wildlife. When I have more time, and it’s not constantly raining on me, it would be a great place to revisit. I was pleasantly surprised by how many other people were also hiking, in the rain, on a holiday. I seem to fit in well with the German tradition of afternoon walks in nature. ‘Hike’ often feels like too…

Hikes & Trains

As November hikes were less structured it seems like a great opportunity to discuss the ease of accessing natural space via public transit. On the outskirts of Berlin lie wide fields, dense forests, quiet river valleys and picturesque lake landscapes — many easily accessible via the S-Bahn (think Metro North). One of the school fees is a transit card, which makes traveling as far as Potsdam “free” in so far as I just have to show my student id.

Hike Halloween: Brandenburg

8.4 kilometer loop in Brandenburg which featured lakes, forests, and the abandoned Schloss Dammsmühle. [Tour Link] This hike focused on three lakes (including Mühlenbecker See) and the abandoned neo-baroque Dammsmühle Castle. Dammsmühle is right on the mill pond and although the renovation scafolding ruined the mood, it is still a perfect spooky backdrop. Originally built in 1650 a s a hunting lodge, the list of former residents ranges from Napoleon and the SS to the Red Army. From January to July 1943, 20 to 25 prisoners from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp were used for construction and maintenance work.[4] Shortly before the end…

Hike: Birkenwerder

This was my first trip into the Briesetal, which quickly became my favorite place to hike. The sheer size of the forest is impressive and with many paths shooting in all directions, it is easy to explore. I was especially struck by the Bäume im Wasser (Erlenbruchwald) at the Briese which is something very special and rare. The Alter Forest area,  the Erlenbruchwald was once the most widespread habitat in the Spreewald.

Drawing the City

While museums were still open during COVID, I was able to visit the Berlinische Galerie. This exhibit focuses in on the city of Berlin works on paper from 1945 until today. The fascination of international artists for the modern metropolis is always alive and present in the art that has been created in Berlin since 1945. Over 175 works by 22 female and 47 male artists are exhibited: predominantly drawings in large, medium and small formats, lots of color and black and white in very different techniques, as well as a multi-faceted mix of styles of representationalism, photo-realism, surrealism, late…

Hike: Krumme Lanke

11.6 km loop around Krumme Lanke [Tour Link] Krumme Lanke is a lake in the south west of Berlin on the edge of the Grunewald forest. After Nikolassee and the neighbouring Schlachtensee, it is the southernmost of the Grunewald chain of lakes. Though crowded, the wide path that runs the entire circuit around the lake made it easy to navigate in our group. Said the robin to the sparrow,“I should really like to know,Why these anxious human beingsRush about and worry so.”Said the sparrow to the robin,“Friend I think that it must be,That they have no Heavenly Father,Such as cares…