I love to travel. Usually as often and as far away as possible. I must have covered thousands of miles in the past few years, on long-haul flights, shuttling from one side of the planet to the other. When booking flights I usually tick that little box that asks me if I’d like to offset the carbon emissions by paying a few extra euro, even though I know that it might just be a trick to make me feel better about all the fuel that’s being burned to get my body from one country to the next, a sort of economical absolution of my sins. And I do feel bad about it, I really do. So recently I’ve been trying to take trips to discover the country that I live in, taking ground transportation only, and travelling by train, bus, hitchhiking occasionally, or just hopping on the metro and seeing where it takes me.
I’m lucky that I don’t have to go far to find beautiful places: the Brandenburg countryside (the area surrounding Berlin) is a mass of forests, rivers and lakes. If you live in Berlin, or you’re just visiting, one suggestion for a really great summer day trip is to pack a picnic and take the train to Liepnitzsee, one of the most beautiful (and accessible) lakes.This lake isn’t exactly a secret anymore, but if you walk for long enough around the edge of the water, you should be able to find a quiet place to sit. It does take slightly longer to get to than lakes within Berlin itself, such as Schlachtensee or Müggelsee, but it’s worth the extra effort. The forest around it isn’t bad to look at either.
Don’t forget to check out the shops in Ützdorf selling really old German romance novels like this (Yes, one of the price labels is still in deutschmarks).
To get to Liepnitzsee, get the s-bahn to Bernau (with your bikes) and cycle the remaining 15 km on the nice flat bicycle road R1. If you don’t feel like cycling, go to Bernau and then catch the 903 bus to Ützdorf and walk the last bit from there.