Dienstag, 7. Januar 2014

Discovering Teltow, the middle way between Potsdam and Berlin

'The flesh is sad, I finished all the books', said Mallarmé, and I was about to adapt this unprobable sadness thinking that with such an intensive program in the last weeks it is not too much left to see from Berlin - except 3-4 places that I will cover in the next posts. What about Teltow?, I said to myself, more than happy that I still have something to write about. The 24th of December in the middle of the morning, we took a bus from Zoo that brought us after around 30 minutes in the Teltow town.
We crossed different areas and architectural styles, from the glamorous Ku'damm to the rural Dahlem, passing by the well guarded famous JFK private school. 
Teltow is situated outside the administrative borders of Berlin, being part of the Brandenburg district. During the Cold War, it on the other (wrong) side of history. Remnants of the Wall, adorned with colourful graffiti are still kept for the sake of the past. 
We followed slowly some directions indicating the way to the Tourist Information Center, closed then, and via Badstrasse we arrive to the main square. The town hall looks a bit like a building from a Far West movie. The area is colourful but almost empty, except some teenagers in the middle of doing a rehearsal for a season's show. We walk the old cobbled streets, passing by old small houses hosting modern bakeries announced by old style letters. Most part of the city is silent.
As many others areas that were later incorporated to Berlin, Teltow used to be a settlement. In 1265, it acquired equal rights with Spandau, Brandenburg and Berlin and for a couple of centuries it developed relatively independently. At the beginning of the 20th century, it has several factories and a modern transportation network.
Till late in the history of Teltow, animals like goats, were part of the daily urban landscape. Many people living here still own horses. However, the small streets are perfect for the bikes and this seems to be the easiest and fastest transportation right now. The buses and S-Bahn are also connecting Teltow to Berlin and Potsdam. The love for animals seems to be specific to this part of Brandenburg, as we saw everywhere shops, cosmetic services, and a crematorium  dedicated to pets. 
We spent around 3 hours in Teltow, but most frequently we over and over again turned around the main square, with the small old houses. Our favourite route encompassed Berlinerstrasse, Breiterstrasse and Ritterstrasse, till Zickenplatz. The communist heritage is outside this area, with the similar buildings, that were given a touch of colour for bringing more life and identity. 
All the main shops and bakeries were closed. The only art gallery, Galerie Altstadt seemed to be prepared for a private party so we left the precincts as fast as we entered. The gastronomic choices are diverse, with Greek, Asian, Pizza and Indian restaurant open till late in the day. Three star hotels, some of them with business facilities, seem to be an option for those interested to be in the middle of the way between Berlin and Potsdam.
Teltow seems to be a good option for spending a Sunday in a place with a little bit of everything. Even a local museum presenting various local traditions and customs, among which apothecary and weaving. Monuments in the memories of war victims and even a couple of Stolpersteine are interesting historical marks. Last but not least, if you plan to bring your children with, you might be charmed by the many parks and green outdoor areas that can be found in both the old and new parts. 
We didn't have too many expectations before visiting Teltow, but we enjoyed enough our trip to strongly recommend a visit to other expats looking for a quiet destination only a little bit away from Berlin. 

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