Hands up who else has spent the majority of the last week feeling like they want to hibernate. I feel a bit like a bear, rummaging through the snack drawer in search of carbs and sugar before returning to the sofa to stare into space, irritated when someone disturbs my under-the-blanket state.
The grey sky has this effect on many, and while there are many ways to cope with this mild Seasonal Affective Disorder, my go-to solution (surprise surprise) is an autumnal adventure. As hard as it can be to layer up and head out of the house, the rewards are well worth it. Once away from the city’s never-ending buzz, surrounded by crisp, golden leaves and an open sky, our body’s rhythm begins to slow in a way that puts you at peace with the world (rather than that horrible headache you get after a mindless Netflix binge).
Nature, it turns out, is where our mind and body want to be (revolutionary thinking, right), so shove on some woollen socks, dress yourself in that down jacket, and reconnect with the wilderness.
There’s something oh-so humbling about lying back and staring into the depths of the universe. The Sternenpark, located in Westhavelland about 70km from Berlin, is Germany’s first “star park”, and is one of the few places in Germany that has a truly dark sky.
At the moment, Saturn and Jupiter and very bright in the night’s sky, but you can check out Stellarium, which shows your what’ll be visible. If you’re brave, take a tent and pitch up, otherwise the sun sets at 7pm, so you can get a few hours of stargazing in before catching the train home.
From Berlin, the RE2 stops in the towns of Friesack, Neustadt Dosse and Breddin, and the RE4 runs from Berlin via Nennhausen to Rathenow.
Cycle to Liepnitzsee
Liepnitzsee is widely considered one of Brandenburg’s most beautiful lakes, so it’s almost impossible to find a quiet spot there in the summer. Cold autumn days, however, makes for a different game. I could spend hours there wrapped in a blanket, watching the wind dance over the turquoise water as the surrounding trees sway back and forth.
Rather than sitting in a rental car and zipping down the Autobahn, jump on your bike and freewheel through the forests: Breathing in the fresh air and marvelling at the colour of leaves falling from the branches overhead.
Catch the S Bahn to Buch, from where there are a number of wooded routes you can take.
Flower power at Britzer Garten
If you need a bit of colour injected into your life, and golden leaves just don’t cut it, head south to Britzer Garten. Their autumn exhibition is a 2,200 square meter patch of dahlias in purples, oranges and reds.
They also have bees and donkeys (what a combination), a cafe and a model boat lake, so you really feel as if you’re out of the city. I love packing a picnic, and biking here to spend the afternoon: On a sunny autumn day, there’s nothing better.
Berlin-Marienfelde is the closest train stop, and the 179 bus stops outside.
For those of you, like me, who can’t quite bring themselves to go to Karls Erdbeerhof, but still want to relive childhood memories of running around a huge field filled with fruit-to-pick, take a trip to one of the many grown-up Hofladen where that’s an option.
One of my favourites is Sanddorn Garten Petzow, on the other side of Potsdam. Grab a basket and fill it with apples, before heading back to the farm shop for a well-deserved cup of tea. Now, what can one do with so many apples? Kartoffel Apfel Puffer, anyone?
From Bahnhof Werder (Havel) – where there’s a direct connection from Berlin – get the 607 bus to Petzow, Seering.