Where Brecht enjoyed his summer months
The Oder-Spree Lake District lies between Berlin and the Polish border. Scharmützelsee lake, dubbed the “Markish Sea”, is a haven for swimming, rowing, and sailing. Like pleasures can be enjoyed at Schermützelsee – similar in name, different in size – it’s somewhat smaller. Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel once used to disconnect and relax here in the romantic summer resort of Buckow beside the lake; nowadays it has also become a destination for the Kneipp devotees who wade through the River Stobber’s frigid water, all surrounded by the Märkische Schweiz Nature Park’s hills, forests, gulches, and lakes. Nearby there is Neuhardenberg, a jewel of the Mark, with a neoclassical complex comprising a church designed by Schinkel, a mansion, and a mansion park that was laid out by the landscape architect Peter-Joseph Lenné. The Oderbruch plain, a moor drained during the reign of Friedrich the Great, is easy to explore by bicycle. Hikers can ramble from mill to mill along the wild and romantic Schlaubetal valley. Close to the border of the Schlaubetal Nature park is Neuzelle Abbey, originally built by the Cistercians, and long since restructured in the baroque style.