Brandenburg is the only neighbor the city state of Berlin has. The province offers a million nice day trip destinations for people who just need to get out of the capital for a moment. This time, our reporter tried the Tower Trail around Bad Freienwalde.
Berlin, July 15th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Getting to Bad Freienwalde from Berlin’s city center takes less than 90 minutes by car, on a good day. By train, the trip duration is two and a half hours. The little town in Brandenburg does have a train station, but there does not seem to be a direct connection to Berlin, which is why those of us who feel like hiking there will have to change from trains to buses and back to trains a million times.
Tasty and Affordable
Still, Bad Freienwalde is a good option for Berlin residents who need to breathe a little and insist on getting rid of all the noise for a few hours. On a hot Sunday in the summer of 2022, this little town of 12,000 inhabitants was quiet indeed. In fact, hardly anyone was walking the main street. It looked like a film set. The only crowded place there was the tourist information office, where they gave out little maps for several hiking tours they recommend.
This is a famous spa town. It has a good clinic for orthopedics, rheumatology and osteology and a number of nice heritage buildings to admire, including a cute little concert hall and the Bad Freienwalde Palace. The town’s cultural history can be looked into at the local ‘Oberlandmuseum’. The Kurpark, a spa garden, is nice too. They even have a ski-jumping hill out there. It did not help anyone on this summer day though. Located on highway 167, just a few steps from the towncenter, the Italian restaurant ‘La Famiglia’ is run by Arabs. Their Spaghetti Carbonara dish is both tasty and affordable.
Because we were in a hurry, we quickly picked the Tower Trail and got going. The few rain drops that hit us on the way to the sightseeing tower on Galgenberg hill helped a lot in the scorching heat. So did the nice forest. This place was not always as peacul as it is today. From the 16th into the 18th century, executions took place right here. A plaque commemorates the Jews of Bad Freienwalde who were murdered by the Nazis. Some managed to flee. During the Night of Broken Glass, the Jewish cemetery on this hill was destroyed while the town’s synagogue was set on fire. Now that this place is peaceful, it is good to climb the sightseeing tower’s 98 steps to get a good view on Bad Freienwalde and the forests around it.
From here, following the Tower Trail is easy, unless you get lost. Just locate the red dot and the tower symbol found on trees along the path. At some spots, the route guidance is a little confusing. Even though the forest could have cooled people down, hardly anyone was up here. A lady from Berlin said she had taken a spontaneous decision to hike, earlier in the morning. So, she hopped on the train. She was sort of fast and disappeared from our reporter’s sight rather quickly. A Mexican tourist who ended up in Brandenburg province liked the countryside and the path.
It winds up and down nice hills. At some locations, stairs made of soil and branches help the enthusiastic hiker. There is beauty all around. Up here, absolutely nothing will remind people of the fact that they will be back in Berlin, the rather loud city of cities, three hours later. This spot is the exact opposite of Berlin.
At one point, we lost the red dot and tower symbol markings. Once we had found them again, we hit a dead end. A locked gate to a sports field forced us to turn around. Thirty minutes later, as we were walking towards the town center on highway 158 , we understood what was going on here. The Tower Trail’s second part is located further down the road. This path has to be followed and walked in increments. No, we did not meet any wolves, bears or ticks.
Subscribe to The Berlin Spectator‘s newsletter. You will never miss articles or features again.
Losing the calories included in the Carbonara is easy in and around Bad Freienwalde. Individuals who want even more quietude than the Tower Trail offers can pick the ‘Atem Schöpfen Weg’. The analogous translation of this rather weird name would be ‘Breathing Trail’. It is 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) long and includes a “humming stone”, an inhaling spot and an exhaling spot. But breathing is recommended even between those locations.
There is a “sound of silence” part on this particular trail. Someone in the municipality might have heard Simon & Garfunkel a little too much. But if “spine meditation” is your thing, you are on the right path. By the way: There is a Watzmann mountain right here in Bad Freienwalde. While the more famous Watzmann in Bavaria is 2,713 meters (8,901 feet) high, this one measures 106.2 meters (384 feet). In order to make it look less ridiculous, the official sign at the top says Brandenburg’s Watzmann was 1,062 decimeters high.