Hidden Treasures of Berlin: Großer Spektesee

My day began in the waiting room of another orthopaedic clinic. I sought the second opinion of another doctor, got a far better response and treatment plan, and hobbled out in pain but significantly pacified. My daughter and I were headed back home and while waiting for our bus, I commented that I had never ridden the 131 Bus until the end of the route, so I had no idea what the area called Im Spektefeld actually looked like. We consulted good old Google Maps and decided we would go on a spontaneous adventure. No plan, no idea what we would find, but the attraction of a lake and a lot of greenery around it was sufficient to throw our cares to the wind.

The bus ride itself is actually interesting, moving from Spandau towards Staaken and Falkensee, both areas that I would never venture into on my own. But hey, the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was a gorgeous 24C, it would have been criminal to spend the time indoors. So off we went, marvelling at the changing scenery and fascinated by the shift in demographics as well. This is a far cry from the more sophisticated Tiergarten and Mitte areas of Berlin that are known internationally, with Staaken and Falkensee being zones that only the locals venture out to, and that only under duress or because you live there. There is absolutely nothing touristy about this area, and I loved it!

Due to the lack of camera equipment (who goes to the orthopedist with camera equipment?) and the throbbing pain in my knee, we decided to play it safe and only explored the smaller lake, which ironically is called Großer Spektesee (Big Spekt Lake), not to be confused with the physically larger Spektesee (Spekt Lake). We had no idea what to expect or what we were actually getting into, but from the moment we set foot in the area we were immediately won over by the clean paths that meandered around the lake and took you well away from the main roads. It was difficult to believe that we were still in Berlin, very much an urban area, but yet so isolated, peaceful and not overrun at all.

As you see from the photographs, there were hardly any people around too, the odd cyclist and jogger, until we came to the beach area. There is one little corner of the lake that has been carved out for sunbathers and those who care to take a dip in the water. There is even a small snack shop where you can purchase the ubiquitous greasy fries, ice cream, or the classic Curry Wurst – the essentials every true Berliner needs to survive. Toilets are acceptably clean, but what you are really after is the peace and quiet that the area has to offer. It might be different during the weekend, but this was such a blessing and a welcome change that I vowed to return with the camera in a few weeks to capture the autumn drama with the changing colours.

We stumbled on a beach volleyball area and peculiar structure which we saw from afar and I hoped had some obscure historical significance. Alas, it is a relatively new tower for the wall-climbing aficionados. As far as I’m concerned, I stumbled on a wonderful new location for outdoor portraiture as well! So I will be studying the light in the various corners over time. Watch this space for more!

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