Up in the Woods – Time Traveling in Mecklenburg-West

“I’m up in the woods, I’m down on my mind, I’m building a still, to slow down the time”. I guess everyone could use a place like this, to escape real life, our ever so hectic and appointment-packed calendars, just the way Bon Iver describes it in his song ‘Woods’. Certainly, the creation of such a place is very individual and might mean different things for different people – but let me tell you about my very own special place, where you can just get influenced by a feeling of slowed-down time, to enjoy some moments away from reality.

For me, trying to slow down time and calming down, can best happen at places, where, seemingly, the time has already stopped, reminding us of our individual unimportance in a collective world, as those places already seem forgotten by most people. In fact, this ‘special place’ can hardly be defined as one actual place at all, but more as an area. Not far away from Neukloster, a small town with an adjoining lake, a really popular spot for campers and sportive people alike (I hear jogging around the lake is rather trendy, I’m more of a going-for-a-walk-type of person), is Nakenstorf, a small, and long-stretched village where we will start our journey. The closer you get to Nakenstorf, apart from the more obvious fact that you are getting closer to nature, as road conditions become increasingly worse, your car or bike more rattly, and, in the summer months, the chirping of the birds more intense, you will notice some relicts from the past, for which time has indeed slowed down. Those relicts I’m speaking of are train tracks from the old Wismar-Karow line. Of course, train tracks themselves are neither particularly interesting nor relaxing (at least for most people), but as you follow the path along Neukloster lake, you will still find some of the old concrete sleepers, just as they have been left in the late 1990s – to get to them, you will have to climb up a small slope – but then: breathe, enjoy those tiny, breezy and occasional gusts of wind coming from the lakeside and experience nature reclaiming its territory – most of the former tracks are now already blocked by snapped trees, branches and covered in leaves and moss. It is a challenge to manoeuvre around all of the obstacles, but it’s fun any time of the year (just to prove that it is stunning all-year-long, here are some pictures I’ve taken in February) and absolutely worth it.

This abandoned and now nature-reclaimed area really makes you think that nothing seemingly lasts forever, but still, at least in the case of nature, especially nowadays with the ever-so pressing issue of climate change, something good might finally come out in the end and is waiting there eagerly to be enjoyed. Extra tip for when you’re there: for the full relaxation experience, put on some headphones, and listen to Bon Iver – you won’t regret it, I promise.

Some additional info:

Here is a Google Maps marker to better find the former tracks.

On this website are some more pictures of what you can discover on your journey.

The red line indicates the path of the old line. It can still be perfectly seen from satellite imagery, as the treeline has not fully recovered in the last 23 years. You can follow the line all the way to the next town Warin, and just imagine how amazing this ride must have been.

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