Helping a friend on his apartment hunt brought me to a part of Germany I didn’t really know before. Around the towns of Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Wolfenbuettel in Lower Saxony in the center of Germany, there is a lot of open country side with rolling fields, the Harz mountains are close by, but there is also a lot of heavy (mainly steel) industry.
And there is this charming little town that I completey fell in love with. It actually dates all the way back to the 10th century. The old town, that is many of the old buildings there, are from about the 16th century.
What we didn’t really think about is that this is exactly the area that is currently threatened to be flooded. There has been a lot (!) of rain lately in Germany and many towns have had problems with flooding, trees being uprooted etc.
The first time we drove through town you could already tell that the waters of the river Oker were high and almost up to bridge level. There was one street that had just been blocked off and the police were going around asking people to remove their cars.
The next day we were back and the bridge was closed and the blocked off street completely under water. There were pumps working all around the old town and a lot of people around too looking, watching…
Who would,have thought that hunting for apartments (successfully I might add) could turn into such an adventure – and the best part: I will be back – hopefully in bright sunshine!
On our travels we have been on a couple of tree top walks. The first was in Western Australia and more recently we’ve been in one in Costa Rica and we’ve always enjoyed them immensely.
Apparently, there are a few scattered around Germany too and one is only about an hour drive from Berlin – perfect for a day trip. Since the weather forecast predicted rain for Saturday through Monday, we decided to go on Good Friday – obviously we weren’t the only ones checking the forecast. Let’s say it was busy…
This place is called Beelitz-Heilstätten. Beelitz actually being the closest town; Heilstätten literally meaning “places of healing”. The park (ranked the third popular park in the greater Berlin area) is named “Baum & Zeit” (tree & time) because you enjoy trees and travel back in time.
The places of healing used to be a sanatorium for patients with lung diseases like tuberculosis in the first half of the 20th century. Now all the buildings are in ruins. Many of them have trees growing on the roofs – or what used to be attics: very unique!
The walk is built around and above the buildings and not only offers great views (all the way to Berlin to the North for example) of the surrounding landscape, but also interesting glances into the buildings.
The elevated walk is about 320m (1,000 feet) long and 23m (75 feet) high. The highest viewing platform is at 40m (130 feet). This is just the first stage of the project. There are plans to extent the walk. Also, they are currently working on a barefoot path (on the ground) and planning a maze.
I knew the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to be a city worth visiting, but I was surprised at how pretty it really is. It has a really cozy old town with little cute stores, rustic restaurants, lively markets, and modern cafes (Miss Tortchen was divine). But the best is definitely their fairytale castle. Who has ever said that you need to go to southern Germany to see castles and palaces!? Schwerin has a palace! And beautiful gardens – even on a cold and windy day. With the lakes all around it also feels like you are at the coast, which is a nice little extra. I am sure this was not the last time we went…
This is definitely a town that’s going to stand out. Since living in Berlin, we have visited many of the towns around, like Greifswald, Stalsund, Neubrandenburg, Eberswalde, Frankfurt/Oder, Cottbus, Brandenburg/Havel – and all of them have something special, something unique. I still think Schwerin has just moved to no. 1. But maybe with Ellie on board now, I have to go back to all of them and post many “best of”s: palace, museum, shopping, lake/river, historic town, coffee, ….