I think it’s appropriate that my first trail video isn’t from one of the better-known spots of Germany or Europe but rather from this haphazard collection of trails I connected between Eberswalde and Chorin in the state of Brandenburg.
People generally know that there are great trails in Germany but what this run shows is just how accessible it all is. Just 30 minutes on the train out of Berlin and you’re running through the quiet forests and willows of Brandenburg. And that’s true of just about anywhere in Germany. Hop on a train, wait 15 – 30 minutes, get off, and voila, you’re on a hike. Nature is incredibly accessible and it’s one of the things I love most about living here.
I’ve also become a believer that every trail has a story. And this is no exception.
Outside of Eberswalde, the trail runs alongside the Oder-Havel-Kanal before turning into the Plagefenn nature preserve. This area was the site of a pre-military camp for children of the German Democratic Republic where they’d learn discipline and military readiness. All children of the ninth grade were required to undergo two weeks of pre-military training with wooden rifles.
Fun camp, I guess? But it closed in 1990 following reunification and was demolished in 2008.
It was also around here that the trail started turning into old, raised cobblestones. These Pflasterstraßen, it’s explained, have characterized the landscape region for more than the past 300 years. One of the information posts says that “The old streets bear witness to the immense craftsmanship of our ancestors.”
We were able to follow these cobbled streets over to our goal, Chorin Abbey––a 13th-century Gothic monastery. Such is the benefit of living in Germany. This stuff is in your backyard. All you have to do is follow the old streets of our ancestors.
Looking for more Germany? Check out the Germany off the beaten path travel guide, my top things to do in Germany, the most important German travel phrases, and how to ride the German train system. Want something more literary? Read chapters from my upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany — There Must Be Order.