This past weekend I went with Insa and some friends up to a small place in northern Germany called Woserin.
Woserin was an old medieval town that had a blacksmith and a church, but all that’s there now is the church and about 5-6 houses. Woserin is perhaps best know for the famous East German author Christa Wolf. Our friend is one of Wolf’s grandchildren and such we were going to be staying at their family home.
I left work Friday afternoon with all my bags packed and rushed to meet Insa. It was a cold night and she had arrived at the train station a little too early. We had to make several transfers across Berlin public transit to get to the rendezvous point where we would meet up with 6 friends, get into cars, and drive through the night to Woserin. The cold stuck to us and didn’t leave us the entire night. I was tired from the week and did not fully grasp where we were going or where we were staying; much less the fact that we were staying at a famous author’s home. I was exhausted and while Insa and our friends were chatting along the drive, I dozed off for an hour or so. If you’re not fluent in another language, it can become background noise if you’re not actively paying attention. When I awoke we were going through the woods and getting closer to our destination.
The countryside was pitch black. You could only be aware of the existence of things immediately around you. After a few feet and it was nothing but void. We pulled up to the farm house and shivered inside. Insa and I were shown to our room and we dropped our stuff off before a quick make-shift tour. The bedrooms had stoves in them and big fluffy beds. There was a really nice rustic feel to the place, despite being so massive of a house that it was difficult to mentally map what rooms were where.
The house seemed to keep going on and on. There were two kitchens, multiple bedrooms, some nestled inside other rooms, a large living room with several heavy pieces of furniture spaced around it, a cellar, and of course, a study full of books.
The place was amazing, but we were all tired, cold, and hungry, so we gathered in the kitchen for hot drinks and a meal of hearty soup.
In that kitchen we were a small bubble warmth and life in a cold dark countryside. The soup, the bread, the beers, everything felt very rural “old world” and was incredibly cozy. After the meal had warmed us, and we turned on the heat in our bedrooms, we all decided to go for a quick walk around Woserin. I had recently purchased a new specialty flashlight after doing a lot of research and was eager to give it test in the darkness of the countryside. We strolled along the streets looking at the town at night, seeing nothing but what the flashlight, which looked like a light-saber for the first few inches, illuminated. Outside of the searchlight like cone of nearly 1000 lumens the world was still blackness. I turned off the flashlight for a bit so we could see what it was like to be enveloped in total darkness. At first you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, but then your eyes adjusted and you could at least dimly make out the person standing next to you.
We got back home, sunk into our beds and passed out. It was only the next morning when you could finally see where you were and the world around you. Here was the view out the bedroom window:
With it finally being daylight, I went for a walk around the grounds:
There was an old circus train car on the property. IT had been converted into a room with a stove and a bed where someone could live. Nobody was in there at the time though.
Behind the house looked out onto a large open field. The night we arrived, a couple of us stepped outside for a smoke. As I was having my cigar, I never realized that the void stretched on so far beyond the house.
Inside the barn there is a small corner that is sectioned off for the sheep to take shelter in bad weather.
We sat down for a German breakfast of hot rolls, various cheeses and spreads, and went for a walk around the town now that it was daylight.
Woserin used to be part of the DDR and at times it felt like we were in eastern Europe despite the fact that we had driven northwest from Berlin.
After a walk around town, some of our friends wanted to take us on a walk around the forest where we could see some 800 year old trees. We gathered everyone together and got into the cars and drove out to the forest.
(One of our friends was from the UK and was driving his van which is why the steering wheel is on the opposite side.)
As we turned off the road to go deeper into the woods we were surprised to see a large number of cars and trucks parked all over the place. There was no way these people were all from Woserin and its 5-6 houses. As we drove deeper through the lines of cars and people, we realized that many of them were men and many more were wearing bright day-glow orange. We had stumbled upon the aftermath of a large hunting party. As we slowly drove past them into the forest, we saw their catch laid out on pine branches before a butcher’s truck. I had never seen something like this and so I went back to get some pictures.
I don’t know how many animals they got in total as it was clearly the end of the hunt, but it was really interesting to see. This sparked some discussion among us as we walked through the woods. Yeah it was sad to see the animals that were killed, but we pretty much all agreed that it was better than the mass industrialized meat industry. The animals that were killed didn’t know it was coming, would be eaten for food and made use of, and the people who hunted them had a vested interest in making sure the forest and animal populations were healthy.
Back in the DDR days, this part of the country was home to some tar industry. Here you can see how the trees were cut to collect the sap for tar production.
There were three of these trees there were over 800 years old. They kind of look like something out of Game of Thrones.
That night we returned home to another hearty meal, some board games, and a camp fire.
Unfortunately we didn’t have any s’mores, but we did have plenty of hot mulled wine, or gluhwein.
The next morning we decided to check out this abandoned DDR summer camp we spotted on the walk the day before. But first: I got to use a coffee press for the first time and was really excited.
Some of the rooms were being used to dry bundles.
We discovered some cabins in the back…
It was a cold and misty day as we walked around Woserin. We made our way back to the farm house and each of us found a place in the living room around the fire place with a blanket, some tea and ginger snaps, and a book. The place was a polar opposite of Berlin: open, calm, and old. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bustle and life of the capital city, but it is really nice to be able to escape to the rural farmland every now and then to recover.