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.
After a while you somehow get used to your surroundings and you do not really notice much less appreciate them anymore. This week Berlin has reminded me why I love this city so much.
On Monday, I had an errand to run for the office. I looked up connections how to get to the client and was given an option that included a walk through the Tiergarten – the former royal hunting grounds and today a big park in the center of town.
The weather was fabulous and I got a lovely walk, which started a week of really loving Berlin.
Arriving at Tiergarten S-Bahn station with the new builings of the city West in the background…
… with a view along the Strasse des 17. Juni towards the Siegessaeule (Victory Column) and even further the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate).
Turning into the park…
… you walk along a row of historic street lamps from all over the world.
You then cross the Landwehrkanal, an important canal in the city, right at one of the locks. From the beer garden on the lefthand side you can watch the boats on the water and the trains on the bridge.
The next highlight was walking along the outer fence of the Zoologischer Garten, the West Berlin zoo.
And finally passing the Rosa Luxemburg Memorial at the Liechtensteinbrücke…
… before I had to give up on simply enjoying the city and return to working while enjoying the city or enjoying the city while working.
A great start to a week that had more in store for me.
After spending the day outside at the beach in winter, there is nothing better than to warm up with a swim and a couple of visits to the sauna.
Being the only guest in a house with 15 condos also means that I have the pool and sauna all to myself. I must admit that it is a bit scary too. A lot of what ifs come to mind, but mostly I just enjoy the warmth and the quiet – and taking Ellie too.
First arriving (after walking down the outside stairway in just above freezing temperatures in only a robe (what if I cannot get back into the condo and need to call someone and wait for someone to open the door; don’t I want to be wearing a little more?!), it’s changing shoes.
Then a quick swim – quick because the water was cold enough to use to cool down after sweating.
And then ahhhh, warm…
And finally relaxing, enjoying the moment (and sending a text that I made it out of the sauna ok).
The Ruhrgebiet, Germany’s former hotspot for coal mining and heavy steel industry, is not primarily known for its lovely green landscape. Nevertheless, we had a weekend planned here with friends to go hiking.
The whole area has changed a lot in recent years. Most of the mines have been closed down, many sites today have been converted into museums, event locations, restaurants, cultural centers etc. and there’s a surprising amount of green around.
We trekked along the old “Leinpfad”, the pathway where once the boats loaded with coal were pulled down the Ruhr river, from the town of Hattingen to the city of Essen.
Starting out from the train station in Hattingen.
Following the river we were surrounded by green fields.
All along the way old buildings, bridges, chimneys, and locks bore witness to the areas past.
Beautiful vistas and the old mile stones counting our progress, while the wildlife kept their distance or defended their territory.
Third and final rest.
And finally the tram to take us all the way back into the town center of Essen ca 14km later.