Exploring Germany: A bike ride in Bad Saarow

Travelling around Germany, you'll probably get a chuckle out of the amount of towns that have “Bad” in their names - at least I always do. But trust me, there's nothing bad about these places; “Bad” is simply used to denote that the town in question is a spa town.

Recently, I had the pleasure of discovering Bad Saarow in the state of Brandenburg. Although it's located just an hour's drive from the sprawling metropolis that is Berlin, Bad Saarow might just as well be on another planet.

Bad train station view

The train station looks like something that's been lifted directly from the pages of a fairy tale, and the rest of the town adds to the feeling that you're not quite in the real world any more.

Bahnhofhotel view in Bad

Ever since the 19th century, people have been coming to Bad Saarow to enjoy the excellent air quality and thermal salt waters. Famous visitors include Russian poet, Maxim Gorki, and Winston Churchill.

Today, visitors can enjoy a host of physiotherapy and wellness treatments, as well as one of the most idyllic golf courses in Germany. However, always wanting to be different, I decided to rent a bicycle and explore Scharmützelsee, the picturesque lake that the town is built by.

Lake view

One of the first “people” you will meet on your travels is the Moor Witch (Moorhexe) and, while the sculpture is lovely to look at, the story behind it is even more interesting.

Sculpture near lake

Catharine Kohlhoff, an artist from Berlin, got married and built a house in Bad Saarow with her husband, Wilhelm, in 1919. They had two sons but it seems that Catharine was never destined to have much luck. She divorced in 1928 and both sons died young. She was living with her parents when the Soviet Army arrived and that didn't go so well for her either...

Penniless and alone, Catharine eked out a living as a herbalist and fortune teller, surrounded by her many cats and dogs. Because of the hope she gave people, this “magical” resident of Bad Saarow is still remembered today. Recent visitors claim to have seen her riding a white horse, naked, with her hair blowing in the wind...

Keeping an eye out, I got back on my bike (fully clothed with my hair blowing in the wind) and carried on. Scharmützelsee is a great spot for a bike ride - it's mostly flat, not too crowded and the views are simply stunning.

Bad Saarow lake

Along the way, reeds sway gently in the breeze, the sun twinkles on the water, trees provide shade when you need it and, every now and then, you might even have some company.

Couple of swans

Although it's hard to believe that people actually live in a place this pretty, of course they do. The houses that dot the side of the lake are absolutely charming. However, for me, there was one clear winner.

House on the water

As the sun starts to set, make your way slowly back to town, enjoying the peace and tranquility of your surroundings.

Beautiful view from the lake side

Settle in at one of the many bars or restaurants along the waterfront, order a chilled glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy the friendly conversations that float around you. Watching the sun set over the lake will be the perfect end to the perfect day.

Sunset view

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I fell in love with traveling much earlier than I fell in love with my first man. And I'm still faithful to that love (But I have exchanged some men since my first one). I have never had a reason to regret my passion. I constantly dream of going further, it gives me indescribable emotions and meaning to my life.

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