Summer’s still not over in Berlin but as the days get shorter and everyone’s agendas and lists are filling up, now feels like a good time to reflect on those happy days spent in Brandenburg. Days that smelled like hot waffles, freshly cut grass and no plans for the near future. This is a collection of photos I took between July and September and up until now, I didn’t actually realise how much time I spent out in the countryside. I rediscovered the fun of trampolines with my cousins, had long conversations about love and age and how both affect each other with my wise great aunt and uncle and then cycled to the closest lake which had the perfect temperature (in September). I spent a weekend with friends near Werbellinsee, dipped my feet into Liepnitzsee while having a sunset beer or two, barbequed in a hidden spot by Wannsee and cuddled with a lot of dogs. Looking back, I didn’t need spectacular mountains or white beaches this summer, friends, waves and overgrown bike paths were enough.
I’m currently sitting in the garden of Clärchens Ballhaus, an old Berlin restaurant and dance hall. The birds are chirping, some mosquitos are up for a battle (guess who’s winning). I’m trying out Snapchat filters, answering some questions for da Travelettes gang, texting with my sister (it’s her first long-haul flight to the US in a few hours and she’s all by herself. Crazy stuff. You can do this grrrrl ♥), there a glass of white wine next to me (day-drinking much) and it’s the last day of July. It’s been a great last three months because for the first time in a while, I somehow managed to shift down a gear or two.
Less photos, more meaning. That’s the pledge I made at the beginning of this month, hoping for a slow and beautiful summer. I want it to be less about big numbers, lots of photos or full diaries and more about real adventures, sleepless nights and books that take my breath away. In fact, I cannot wait for weekends of camping by the lake, crossing the Alps and cycling through the county of Brandenburg because more often than not, good things (strawberries) are so close.
Because I keep getting emails, tweets or comments on here with questions on how to do Berlin like a local (and not like your parents), I compiled some of my favourite places where you’re very likely to find me on weekends. I use Google Maps to “star” places as that makes it easy to rediscover places you love and to see when you’re in the area. Highly recommend that method also when you’re travelling!
As we’ve just welcomed a new year, many will have vowed to “travel and explore more” because there barely is anything more exciting to life, right!? While my days are currently circulating around books, essays and academic journals (yep, that time of year), I spent a good third of last year on the road and thought I’d share some tips with you in case you’re already planning a big trip for summer or just a short weekend getaway.
There’s only one answer I’d give to “Hey Caroline, are you up for a road trip?”. A hundred times yes! After coming back from Norway, I made a quick stop in Germany where my family lives and a few hours later, an exceptionally good friend grabbed me, some blankets and lots of food and we went off to Holland for two days. Love when that happens.
I promised you a second part of the most exciting of all hiking adventures in Stølsheimen, Norway. After reaching the hut (thank God for people who put up and maintain those little worlds of warmth in the midst of wilderness), we fell straight into the bunk beds and had the kind of sleep that you can only have after hiking for nearly 20 hours and if having ‘slept’ next to a lake the night before. It was a great sleep.
The next morning, the mountains were covered in so much fog and the rain just wouldn’t stop, so some other guys we met in this little red house (suddenly it was full of people when we didn’t meet a single person on the way up) urged us to wait until it cleared up. Well, it didn’t clear up for two full days and things can get quite boring when all you have is Norwegian books. They had great photos of hardcore adventurers though. So we journaled, tried to bake bread on fire which went horribly wrong, drank bad instant coffee while the rain against the glass was the best soundtrack and were just quiet and listened to what thoughts were shooting through our heads. It was surreal and it felt like torture at times, because there’s nothing you can do, no phone signal, no proof that the world you’ve grown up in even exists after all. In retrospect, it feels more surreal that the lack of activities is such a big deal. How did we become so addicted to being busy? That doesn’t seem right. But this whole thing was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life and I’m already planning the next trip… Let me know if anyone wants to join!