Wannsee is a popular summer escape for Berliners, a lake to cool off in and relax beside, enjoying their long summer days in the sun. On a crisp late Autumn Sunday, we set off to explore this lake which people had raved about one too many times for me to miss out on seeing. And worth visiting it was indeed.
There were few Berliners to be seen now that the almost-winter chill had set in. They were most certainly not relaxing in the shade of the trees, where the leaves were covered in frost at midday, crunching as you stepped on them.
In fact, the only locals game enough to swim in the Wannsee were the resident swans and ducks.
Not all locals were put off by the cold weather through, a few of them even got close enough to the water to go fishing.
Wandering around the lake we stumbled upon the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz – famous as the location where the Nazis decided on the “final solution to the Jewish question”. An hour or so inside the well heated memorial and education centre later and we were ready for some Glühwein (mulled wine) for our walk back around the lake. Fortunately in Germany, Glühwein seems to pop up just when you need it at this time of year.
And as so often happens when you’re in or around Berlin, our day was finished with a little bit of unexpected awesomeness. Berlin’s awesomeness takes many forms including random art, wonderful cafés, crazy people or a mini-rock concert in a 10 meter tunnel. At Wannsee, we were surprised by a helicopter circling above the lake as the sun was setting. Within seconds, it was breaking the calm that had settled in around us, blowing the beautiful Autumn leaves high and low as it landed where we had been walking just moments earlier.