A couple of weeks ago, a bunch of us wandered into Grunewald and found a meadow at the north end completely hidden from other wanderers. Dasniya and Tam returned recently, up Teufelsberg this time. She showed me the photos on Saturday and blogged them herself. (Her blog is much more interesting than mine!)
The S-Bahn detoured to Messe Sud, somewhere I’d never heard of before, then the ersatzverkehr bus dragged me the length of that absurd Autobahn cutting Grunewald, depositing me at the far south end – S-Bahn Nikolaisee. I decided to walk in the opposite direction to my usual.
My vague plan was to veer immediately towards the lake, then follow by or near the coast up till Havelchausee (another piece of tarmac through the forest), crossing over to continue by the lake and perhaps stumble by Kaiser-Wilhelm-Turm continuing up into the bulge of the forest between the north end of Großer Wannsee and Teufelsberg before heading east-ish to S-Bahn Grunewald. Mostly I managed that, though once past the Turm, having discovered blisters growing on blisters, curved more directly towards the finish.
The weather was close to perfect. Cold, grey occasionally split by shafts of turbulent sun, wet – not quite raining though – and tempestuously windy. As with my love of climbing, I don’t think too deeply about why my ideal hiking conditions verge on atrocious, and being wet, cold and suffering is sublime. Part of it is that there are simply less people, and so an according increase in wildlife activity.
I didn’t take many photos. These walks are in part just to enjoy the rhythm of moving across uneven ground surrounded by woods for hours on end until I ache a little, and so I only infrequently pause, though the idea of spending many hours photographing one small copse or gully is seductive. The light early on was beautiful, and most of the photos I took were in the first kilometer. They don’t capture though the ethereal glow beneath the turning leaves; at times it feels as though I am nowhere near a big city, and have arrived in some transcendental landscape.
How did that happen? A month and hot a single hike or walk. I thought perhaps it had been two weeks since my last journey down the S-Bahn but puh! not that long.
It was very warm and sun shining the whole day, enough so that Grunewald was awash in families, dogs, children, runners, cyclists, mushroom hunters and other despoilers of the autumn routine of the trees and animals. Woodpeckers were especially busy; mushrooms and other fungi not so as last time.
I decided to walk slightly further west before veering off south-ish, skirting one of the small lakes and wetlands before gently looping around to arrive at Dahlemer Feld. I was aiming for Havelgraben, the cleft on the east side of the small hill that is Haveltor or berg, and somehow in my successful wandering found myself after an hour exactly where I’d started. I think that’s the first time ever I’ve found myself turned around like that. I decided to head in the direction of Nikolaisee instead, not trusting that I wouldn’t do a silly repeat of my circular walking, and so veered off in the other direction.
Grunewald is ruined by a dead straight line that gouges from its north-east corner to the south-west tip. Almost the longest distance between any two borders of the forest is on one side the somewhat harmless Kronprinzessinnenweg, a sealed road for those not feeling like wandering in the muck of trees, on the other the venerable S-Bahn, raised on its pile of stones, and in-between the obnoxiously loud and very Roman sounding Avus. Otherwise known as the E51 / 115. An autobahn.
Not content to merely vandalise the centre of the forest, to make it impossible easy crossing from the heart of the woods to the lakes; being without noise barriers, it ceaselessly pollutes a kilometer-wide band on either side of its monument to personal selfishness with either a anxious, insistent rumble or unrestrained ear-tormenting blare, depending on one’s proximity.
Couldn’t they have at least buried it? As with all instances of trees coming into contact with urban planning though, nothing signals ‘coming in under budget’ like a single trunk, a copse or an entire Wald. Especially when the natives either side of said woods happen to of the class which approves such planning. (On that note, I can also happily say our Baum in Uferstrasse will remain. I wonder if anyone has told it the good news?)
Finding one way across, and with Schlachtensee in the unseen distance, I continued south with half-hearted attempts at wandering until being spat out at the S-Bahnhof. Not quite as enjoyable as last time, but utterly joyous in places. Nothing either rain or unfrolicsome cold wouldn’t fix. And I’ve barely begun to explore the whole forest. Some photos…
Schlachtensee, Krume Lanke and the lakes along the east side of Grunewald have been my favourite walks around Berlin since soon after I first came here. There not so long ago with Gala and again with Dy, I discovered new parts; further west but still bounded in that direction by the S-Bahn and highway.
Rainy, cold, grey and peopleless, today was a typically perfect day for me to go further that way, cross over the dividing rails to see what the great body of Grunewald might have. My method of navigation, which often I find eerily accurate in a I’m-not-paying-attention kind of way, still got me going in an approximately desired direction as opposed to mired in a hopeless gyre; in this case mostly south-ish with west-ish tendencies.
It is mushroom season and the last few warm days met at their end with today’s rain found the forest erupting from all damp, moist, earthy orifices in a beautiful diversity of fungi. I was hoping the path I planned to wander wouldn’t be either too occupied by others nor too obviously a path, so I could feel at least a little as though I wasn’t surrounded by a city and it’s periphery. Lucky then my crypto-navigation also is accompanied by, “That path is sort-of in the direction I think I am to go, furthermore it is small, mostly overgrown and unused. Also wet. Perfect!”
After some time where I felt much the same as I did on my cold and wet circumnavigation of Lainzer Tiergarten in Wien, I found myself on a small bluff overlooking Havelsee. Much walking later, now thinking I needed to continue south-ish but east-ish also, I fell out at the furthest south-east corner possible, by S-Bahn Nicolaisee; just where I’d hoped.
Some photos of mushrooms and trees…
Raining in steady endless sheets, grey and the faint sense of autumn already. While hiking around Vienna I thought I should continue this now back in Berlin, and so went for a short walk with Dasniya along one of my favourite places nearby, Grunewald and Schlachtensee. The inclement day kept most people away and getting turned around in the forest added to the feeling of directionlessness. Some ducks on the lake…
Last time I was here it was autumn. Today with Gala, the day after her birthday, cold but again blue sky, wind blowing the clouds to long trails, walking from Nikolassee to Grünwald…
Much welcome distraction these last few days as a visit from my delightful hobo has kept me both awake and in good stock of adventures. To see Berlin through someone who grew up here, who has memories of places I am just discovering and has memories of their histories. And oh such a delight, is well-read in philosophy, Hanna Arendt, Theodore Adorno… mmm… since when did whispering lines from Wittgenstein in a scruffy queer bar become so fun?
We decided for a day trip somewhere west or south-ish, and settled on part of Grunewald forest while sitting on the S-Bahn in the direction of Potsdam. And so to disembark at Nikolassee and wander generally north-east along the shore of Schlachtensee, trees beginning their fiery winter demise, the water cold but not, after two days of autumn sun, impossible to swim naked in. And to the tied-off end of this lake, past the café that was once a small shed and now is a conveyor-belt and to find from memory the van selling cheap coffee and sausages, so we sat beside Schlachtensee near the grass banks where the fights or maybe riots from people who wanted to swim nude first took place, and eating thick, heavy bread with smoked mozzarella and butter.
More northerly now until this lake also choked off into reed beds and wetlands, along a dim, moist path following the stream until arriving at Grunwaldsee, which horribly was populated with hoardes of dogs off their leashes and owners possessing no self-control nor that over their feral pets. Lucky we both share a disdain for such things, and instead wandered away, into the forest having maybe a sense of direction that would get us home.
And to find a café in Grimmstr with a leather sofa out front, and a menu composed to the sheet music of old songs. Tea and Crêpes.