It’s the summer holidays, and we want to head to the lake for a swim. Well, actually we wanted to go to Croatia and not to a lake for a swim. We wanted to swim in the warm Mediterranean and eat watermelon. But now we’re here because somehow everyone is still here. Apparently, this year everyone is holidaying in Germany. It’s nice here too. That’s what they say. Stay here, they say.
Outside it is 20 degrees Celsius, and there is a thick blanket of grey cloud above. That’s also the forecast for the next two weeks. So what are we going to do?
There’s a place called Philadelphia in Brandenburg. That’s where we want to go. But not today. Next week.
Today we’re heading to Potsdam to pick cherries. Our daughter is excited. I’m excited because picking cherries reminds me of my own childhood. I call Neumann’s harvest orchard in Potsdam and am told that there are too many cherries and too few visitors. Everyone is on holiday, and the branches are bowing under the weight, says Mr. Neumann personally on the phone. Oh great, I think to myself. So everyone did make it to Croatia, Greece or wherever. Meanwhile, we’re heading to Brandenburg in suboptimal weather conditions.
“We also have gooseberries, strawberries, and red and black currants, all really delicious,” adds Mr. Neumann. “Well, that’s great, we’ll hit the road then!” I reply.
Neumann’s harvest orchard is only 6.1 kilometers from Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam. Culture! My culturally-starved brain screams. Cherries! Screams my stomach and the rest of the family. I am not allowed to follow my spontaneous impulses and have to bow to the dictatorship of the family will. Instead of culture, cherries, and Sanssouci must wait.
How beautiful Brandenburg is – I always forget. Fields and woodland. Sweeping views. A stork leisurely wanders over a freshly mowed meadow. The air is fresh and smells of hay. What an idyll. Even our child is thrilled.
It’s midday, and the blanket of clouds is pretty thick, and we are the only visitors at the cherry orchard. Before I can turn around, my daughter has already scaled the ladder and is shoving a big juicy cherry into her mouth.
Two hours later, we are all lying on a blanket full of cherries and can hardly move. My husband googles how to get cherry juice out of clothing. Apparently, you just have to pour boiling water over the offending areas, and the stains disappear as if by magic. I look skeptical, and so we make a bet.
It’s early afternoon, and more and more families arrive. Now it’s loud and busy under the trees. So we decide to take a look around the area. We don’t have the energy for Sanssouci. But we discover a path that leads past the cherry orchard into the fields.
It’s nothing spectacular, but exactly what we needed as a family. Nature never disappoints. It calms and softens you. I regret not having planned an overnight stay. There is so much to discover in the area. There’s Cecillienhof Palace with all its parks and the Dutch Quarter, where the merchants lived, Sanssouci Palace, the Russian village of Alexandrowka with its pretty carved wooden houses.
We also wanted to give Philadelphia in the Oder Spree region a chance to charm us. It’s an area that’s perfect for canoeing trips or relaxing. But for that, you need more than just a day out.
When we get home, we do the test and pour boiling water on our cherry-smeared clothing. In no time, the stains are gone. I lose the bet and will have to bake a cherry cake tomorrow. Things could be worse.