Monday, July 25, 2011

Müritz National Park

Northern Germany is a soggy land, peppered with small lakes and ponds. To maintain all this standing water, it rains a lot. On the plus side, the soil is incredibly sandy and there are a lot of lake beaches. I have been loathe to commit to any major trips, and so have been going to beaches in the Berlin area, which are conveniently accessible by S-Bahn, on the rare warm sunny weekends this summer. However, the lakes immediately around Berlin tend to be crowded and are also unpleasantly swamp-like, with opaque greenish water.

I was looking for something a little more pristine, so last weekend, I packed a lunch (for the first time in almost a year) and day-tripped up to Müritz National Park, in Mecklenburg. It lies in the former East Germany, northwest of Berlin and took almost two hours by train to reach. We rented bicycles in the neighbouring town of Waren (another rarity for me) and went on a cycle trip around the park. Let it be said that Müritz National Park is not very similar to Canadian parks. It reminded me a lot of the area where I grew up – low hills, very green, lots of fields and forests and rural communities.

Church of Speck - one of the small villages in the park
It didn't feel like the city, but also didn't feel like remote wilderness.

A beer garden never more than a stone's throw away – this is Germany, after all.
I did get to go swimming in the end, and the lake was beautiful, and crystal clear. Worth all the bike riding I had to do.

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