Mittwoch, 2. November 2011

Afternoon at Königs Wusterhausen

Autumn is gorgeous this year and it's hard for me to resist the temptation of staying indoors, writing/reading/pitching ideas. Since a couple of weeks I am carefully checking periodically the list of places I haven't seen in Berlin, and today it was the moment of glory of Königs Wusterhausen. It took me 45 minutes by S-Bahn, in a train almost empty, very quiet after Ahrensfelde with passengers over 60 and only one person talking a foreign language: a group of Africans. From Eichwalde, via Zeuthen, Wildau and till the final destination, the view alternated between the red-yellow-brown colours of the autumn leaves from the forests to the orderly blockhouses communist-style. Soon I was in Brandenburg, former part of East Germany.
The two streets I was directed to from the central station were Pushkinallee and Maxim-Gorki-strasse. Every respected locality from the East Germany was having at least one street named after the Russian writer and activist who played an important role in the German literature and not only. As I didn't find any tourist office or maps, I walked around slowly, slowly, for almost 20 minutes. Quiet streets, with quiet houses and parkings. Nothing outrageously elegant: one-storey private houses with gardens and small dogs. Block-houses with old people taking solidary afternoon walks.
The wonderful colours of the autumn in a predominantly nature-oriented town made me think that autumn is a perfect time to visit this small locality - with only 17.363 inhabitants. It was created at the end of the 14th century and its forests rich in wild animals offered various occasions for the counts and princes to gather together and hunt.
If you have enough of the busy life in the city, you can take a quiet walk around the natural parks. Nobody will disturb your time.

Everything is covered by green and autumn fits the best the sober architecture of the houses. The Evangelical Church was built in 1693. You can also find here a Catholic Church.
The building of the fire department, created in 1888. Today it was a quiet day.

Even though you will not find expensive and luxury shops, if you live here you don't need to worry too much. There are many bio-shops as well. The one I visited is very close to the Central Station and you can find there good healthy and pricey products - from food to wines and cosmetics. If you take a careful look you will find as well leaflets with important cultural events taking place in and out of the locality - in Berlin and Potsdam.
With the exception of my humble and extravagant presence (I was the only tourist-looking person around during my 4-hour adventure), all those on the streets were having some things to do. I saw kids only around 3pm, when the school was over. 
There are many Chinese shops, with cheap products as well. If you can stand the difficult smell of some of the products, you will be rewarded with a good deal. 
On an honorable street you can buy condoms for 4 Euro. The machine is installed in the front of a former club.

You will find many other local shops (including remains of the former Communist shopping culture): jewelries, Esprit clothes, Antiques. Nothing to miss.

 As in Potsdam, the royal crown of Brandenburg, in my opinion, you will find here many passionate owners of boats.
 A nice corner from an area with high concentration of pubs, restaurants, shops and offices.
 A curry is neighboring a Greek restaurant. I saw also an Indian place, a Vietnamese restaurant, a Chinese and a Turkish imbiss (fast-food). The prices were good, but the places were empty (too early, maybe, for eating out)
 Icecream is always cool.
 A biergarden welcoming its guests from the end of the 19th century.
 An example of local flavour and colour.
 This is the cutest Town Hall I ever seen. It looks like an appartment house with many flowers at the windows. It is situated in the vicinity of the Stadtbibliothek, a sign that here people are interested in the books too. There are also around 4 bookstores in the city, displaying books in German, travel guides and books about the local history.
 I spotted a couple of small and nice hotels and pensions where you can spend a quiet night while on the road.
Every locality is having its local cultural hero. In our case, it is Theodor Fontane who visited the city in 1862. Here is the place where he stopped by and a public square is bearing his name. The restaurant is pretty pricey, with a portion of fish going far beyond the 10 Euro.
One of the main touristic attraction of the city is the Castle. The entrance is 4 Euro and you can visit it only with a guided tour. It lasts around 40 minutes, is in German, and reveals interesting aspects regarding the difficult history of the German princes. The  rooms opened to the public are modestely decorated, with hunting trophees and paitings illustrating the life at the court. A souvenir shop is offering small objects and booklets about the history of the German dynasties.
 View of the park around the castle. Here you can find also a restaurant and a coffee house.
 Another attraction for curious tourists might be Heimat Museum. In the German tradition is a museum offering insights in the local and regional culture of a town and locality. 
 The objects displayed in the yard or indoors are explaining various customs and local traditions.
Another touristic attraction here is the Funktechnikmuseum, a must-see for those who are passionate about history of the radio and technique.
 I took another short walk - if you want, you can use the local buses as well, but I wanted to enjoy more of the sunny afternoon - and reached the Central Station.

The Central Station was built at the end of the 19th century. Completely by accident I finally found the Tourist Information Office with various leaflets - in German - about opportunities for all categories of ages. The Tourist Office is hosted at the Central Station. All over my trip I was thinking how comes that you can't find touristic leaflets here. Justice was done and I lefted the place almost happy. It wasn't a glamorous trip, but a relaxing one. It is what we need sometimes to clarify our thoughts. 
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  1. Stumbled up on your blog while I was browsing Berlin on the internet. I am going there in a few days. Can´t wait :)

  2. Enjoy Berlin! The weather isn't extremely good, but plenty of things to do around all over the day - and night, of course!