Vacation at Home – Exploring the Neighborhood Part II

A vacation at home – doesn’t sound interesting? Exploring the neighborhood, seeing the beauty surrounding you, the great possibilities within the neighborhood and that fun is not always made with money – its possible! As I mentioned in my previous post a bit of preparation for a vacation at home goes a long way. We made the best of it by exploring the neighborhood and we didn’t even do everything we wanted to.

But I know you are curious what we actually did and how hour vacation continued. Let’s go.

Exploring the neighborhood outside our doorstep

Day 3 – Monday – following in Humboldt’s Tracks

Today was all about culture, history some sightseeing and learning. But let’s start from the beginning. Again, sleeping and slow mornings. For me that means having my coffee and reading a book. At best for hours. Followed by a late breakfast. Around 3 pm we started packing up and heading towards the tourist info to pick up a leaflet with a tour. I also downloaded the app that was a bit underwhelming.

The plan was to follow the brothers Humboldt – Alexander the natural scientist and Wilhelm the linguist. They apparently lived only about 500 m from where we live now. Starting out at a high school named after them, telling us a bot about how schools have been handled at the turn of the century and how they tried to keep ideology out of teaching as long as possible during the Nazi regime.

After that we headed to the next stops which was a a sculpture in front of the library. Both where stops at the tour. The sculpture the only one world wide that features both brothers. The library an architectural landmark that was built as part of the International Bauausstellung Berlin (IBA) build in the mid 80s. Fun Fact: I visited this library a few times as a high school student because my home library didn’t have anything exciting anymore. But looking at it now through the scope of architectural glasses was fun.

We continued our way to “Schloss Tegel” the home of the brothers. Located within a rural park. Of course a 100 years ago it was looking a bit different. There was actually a public tour on Mondays but we were too late and the website was not very clear if it would take place so I never bothered to plan it in. I think it was alright to just look from the outside. The castle is still owned by the members of the family and is an actual residence so they allow you to walk their backyard. It was a fun little walk through the park that is so much different from what you think of when hearing “castle gardens”. It was actually a very wild piece of forest with a few dirt trails and a huge meadow in the middle in the middle of the area you had the family grave yard were they all lay buried. Unfortunately parts of the forest were closed off due to storm damage and we had to take the long way to the next stop.

Stop six was actually one I looked forward to most. It is one of the oldest trees in Germany and the oldest of Berlin with an estimated age of 900 years. One document states that it has stood in this place since 1192. Arborists estimate about 550 years It is even written that the tree germinated in 1107. Then he would be even older than the city of Berlin, which was first mentioned in a document in 1237. It was named by brothers Humboldt as “Dicke Marie” – Fat Mary in reference to their kitchen chef. It is said that Goethe sat there writing, that many others have visited. There are songs and poems and art surrounding this old oak tree. Now it is fenced off in oder to die peacefully and the roots are not trampled on. I had hoped a little to try to hug it. But I totally understand the precautions.

exploring the neighborhood us with Dicke Marie

The last two stops where nothing new to us so we more or less just walked by and I read the information. One is the iconic “Sechserbrücke” that glows wonderfully in the evening sun and is a hot spot under teenage love for declarations of the heart. However before there was this bridge there was a ferry man shuttling people back and forth and he took a “sechser” some old coin. When there were too many people to shuttle he build the first bridge but still asking for the coin. And so it has gotten its name.

The last stop was the church that is located the middle of the old village Tegel and that is now my home church.

Day 4 – Tuesday – Bike trip Golfing

By now you know how my days start. Coffee, book and a lot of time. The plan was to go on a bike ride today. But before we needed to dust them off. Tighten the screws and fix everything. Unfortunately I had to realize that I was not able to unlock my bike. Something in the locking mechanism was broken and the keys could not be turned. After about an hour of trying we had to give it up. Since the husband was missing a nut we decided to head to the bike shop hoping for some solutions. We got a nut and a bolt clipper (for free) with the promise to bring it back the next day. But we were not going to spend more time on this task.

We had already decided we would go to the golf club and play a bit. We only got there by 5.30 pm. After hitting a ton of balls at the driving rage we practiced a bit more on the trainings course. And we started playing another 6 holes but only gotten until hole 3. It was so dark we started loosing the balls. We left as the last ones at around 9 pm. Today it was much more fun as I was getting a hang of it. I wasn’t as much in my head and just wanted to improve my game and not compete with anyone.

When we got home it. was close to 10 pm and with showers and all dinner was late and just a quick salad. I fell to bed immediately. But that is something a vacation is for too – lots of sleep.

Day 5 – Wednesday – Boating

As always I started the day by reading, drinking coffee and just relaxing. I picked a few chive blossoms to make a scented vinegar. I also harvested some mint for my teas. When Mr. ♡ woke up I went downstairs to see if I can get my bike unhinged with the bolt clipper. Well I didn’t. Good thing we had already planned a boat tour today.

On our way to the pier we stopped at the bike shop and dropped off the tool. The boat tour was scheduled for 2 hours. It was a great tour to experience the neighborhood from the water. The Tegeler See (the lake) is Berlins second largest lake and has seven islands – one housing a boarding school. As we learnt on the tour it goes as deep as 16 meters. We spotted a number of beaches along the shore, lots of swans and boats.

It was hot but we enjoyed it immensely. But then we always love a good boat ride and I can’t think of a place where we haven’t had a boat trip. So I guess we are boat people. Anyhow, when we came back we strolled around the neighborhood a bit and then went to dinner in Berlins oldest restaurant. Even Goethe and Fontane have dined there. And as we learnt in the introduction of the menu Goethe even mentioned “Tegel” in the Faustus. Who would have known we lived in such historical place. We had Schnitzel. Unfortunately the wasp where cutting dinner a bit short and we skipped the dessert even though it sounded delicious. Definitely not the last time we’ve been there.

exploring the neighborhood Alter Fritz oldest restaurant Berlin

Back home I read a bit more while Mr. ♡ watched some Lakers news. And this was another fun day at our vacation at home.

Day 6 – Thursday – Bike Tour

Late last night I had a revelation on how I could break my lock on the bike. Finally putting a tool to use I have not paid enough love to. Within 15 minutes the chain was broken and our biking adventure was back on the radar. After having breakfast gathered our things – some drinks and snacks, sunscreen and repair tools and started on our way.

I picked a route around the lake which was 15 kilometers and was marked as difficult. But it really wasn’t. It started out during the Tegeler Forst a deciduous forest along a game reserve and a fenced of part of the lake for outdoor pool fun with slides and a bistro. We came lots of small little beaches within the trees many we had seen yesterday from the boat. I would have loved to jump in but since it was only the start of the tour I didn’t take my swim suit.

At some point we had to take the ferry to get to the other side. The lake has a river flowing through and that we. had to cross. You just hoop on and then someone. comes around taking your. coins. Unfortunelty I was too slow to photograph the sign stating the prices as the very last one was a horse for 1,70€ and I found that so funny.

After the ferry there was a stretch along some bigger roads and it stressed me a bit because of heat and noise but later we came back to forest areas and smaller garden allotment settlements. We stopped at some place to sit on a log and drink and have some snacks but more because we had taken it all and where almost home.

exploring the neighborhood Konditorei Röttgen

Over all it was a fun afternoon, not at all hard and I enjoyed it a lot. On our way home ice picked up some cake in a local bakery. When we gotten home though we realized its been almost 6pm so it wasn’t the smartest move to buy on that particular day since I had planned to make “TikTok Potatoes”. We saved it for the next day. The rest of the day was relaxing on the balcony and reading such things.

Day 7 – Friday – Relaxing & Neighborhood Party

Lots of time for relaxing for today as we had the neighborhood Wine festival in our calendar for the afternoon and evening. So a slow morning again. I was planning to make herb rolls for the gathers and so early in the morning I started to gather herbs from my balcony and made a herb butter to be spread on the dough later on. I started the dough and then we just had breakfast.

Outside it was stormy and and rainy and soon a thunderstorm rolled in. So about 2 hours prior the whole affair was being canceled or better postponed to Sunday. We had figured by now that this would happen. Nevertheless I had to bake a gazillion rolls and somehow store them in the freezer.

The entire day was spend on the couch and I did a lot of blogging and reading and scrolling and it was a bliss. Also lots of rain and storm watching.

Day 8 – Saturday – Tour at TXL airport

Today we had a day scheduled we both looked forward to since the beginning of the vacation. It was all about airport and flight today.

We somewhat skipped breakfast today since we had a guided tour scheduled at 2 pm to tour the TXL airport that discontinued operations end of 2019. This airports iconic in Berlin and every Berliner is somewhat sad it had closed. What they have planned with it is however very exciting. Fun Fact: Many. years ago I applied for a marketing role to promote this project but since the airport was scheduled to close later they had to postpone recruiting.

As we learned the airport was one of a kind. It was quickly build during the Berlin Airlift as an airport was much needed. When the Berlin Wall was build it became even more relevant to have a city airport. Its a so called drive-in airport. A term I never knew existed and catered to the 1950’s way of live. The entire ensemble was put under monument protection in 2019. So everything that is planned will incorporate existing buildings and also the runway with all its signs will remain.

The architecture is one of a kind – unfortunately we were not able to see much of it as we only were allowed to tour. the outsides – the terminal buildings are currently being used as station for Ukrainian refugees. But the architectural tender was won by two college graduates with no experience. After the build the first hanger they were allowed to continue. The bright orange and blue colors and the space like cubicles are iconic.

exploring the neighborhood buldings of TXL

After we finished the tour the plan was to get some take out and sit by the highway overlooking the airport. It used to be the sunset spot and plane spotters. It still is a hang-out to enjoy a beer. We had driven by multiple times and always wanted to it. Unfortunately it started to rain as soon as we pulled up at the restaurant… after discussing and waiting for 30 minutes what to do we decided to have a car dinner by another little church. It was fun but I would have preferred the other spot.

We took a little stroll around the church after we had eaten. It had stopped raining. And so we were able to go to the near by lake “Flughafensee” – airport lake that is hidden within a forest and apparently really pretty. Why have I never been there?

The rest of the evening was spend chilling at home. Loved today.

Day 9 – Sunday – Relaxing & Neighborhood Party

Our last day. originally we had planned to do absolutely nothing and enjoy the bliss of just having out and doing whatever we felt like. But since our wine festival had to be postponed we had plans for the afternoon and evening. We just gotten done with breakfast when our neighbors started setting up tables and equipment for the party at 3pm. So we joined in to help. More and more people showed up and we got to meet the neighborhood, toured another apartment, spend lots of time talking, chatting laughing. It was late close to midnight when we finally went upstairs and hit the bed. Another office day already on the horizon…

This has been our vacation at home. I find it really amazing how many great things you can actually do just minutes from your doorstep. However. it seems like – at least we need to – put some effort into discovering it all.

Now, have you ever done a vacation in your neighborhood?


2 thoughts on “Vacation at Home – Exploring the Neighborhood Part II

  1. This is so great how you really made plans to see things around your neighborhood. I have not done a staycation like that but I am definitely intrigued to give this a go sometime…. we often forget how much there is to see and discover so close to home!

    1. I can only agree. Lots of things are around us that we either take for granted thinking “I can go there anytime so not today” or are just oblivious since we don’t search for touristy and vacation things to do. Looking forward to follow along if you choose a Sacramento staycation

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