City-bound and reliant on trains, my pulse quickened when Kristina mentioned she had a friend's car and wondered if there was anywhere in Brandenburg I cared to explore? My mind darted in a thousand directions at first (Buckow, Gut Osgrosen, Schloss Marquardt and Rheinsberg, for a few). We ate olives and leafed through Zitty's atmospheric guide to the countryside surrounding Berlin before honing in on the lakes near Potsdam. The next day, we set off south.
Reflected light off the Schwielowsee dappled the veranda at the Fährhaus Caputh. I had lamb heaped with chanterelles, mopping up the gravy with the Wickelkloß (buttery layers of steamed bread flecked with marjoram).
They've been handweaving cloth at the Handweberei Henni Janesch-Zeymer since 1939. There's a museum with looms dating back a few centuries, a little shop with rainbows of dishcloths, and a summer cafe serving cake and coffee. We arrived just as they were closing, but we had a peek in the workshop and I plucked a few raspberries before we went back to the car.
I don't know what made us happier at the Foerster Stauden: the fragrant, overgrown flower garden surrounding the old country house, or the freezer full of tubs of Florida Eis (I choose chocolate and mint).
We ate our ice cream as we walked the grounds of Schloss Marquardt, then settled by the banks of the Schlänitzsee to warm ourselves in the sun.
This dilapidated old manor house will surely become something very dull and very grand one day, replastered and painted in some lurid shade of peach (see mock-ups here) — unless someone stages a Chipperfield-style intervention. For now, the wedding parties, film crews and we all enjoy the grass growing through the roofs of the outbuildings.
Open Jan-Feb Saturday & Sunday from 12pm to 8pm, daily March-Oct
Tel. 033/ 209 70203
Am Wasser 19, 14548 Schwielowsee OT Geltow (map)
Open Feb through Oct Tues-Sun; Nov through Dec Tues-Fri: 11am to 5pm
Tel. 033/ 27 55 272
Spring to Autumn Mon-Sun 9am to 7pm & Sun 11am till 2pm
Tel. 0331/520 294