A Christmas Eve walk in Frohnau

Tuesday 24 December 2019. During the Berlin leg of our winter 2019–20 holiday we stayed in Frohnau, a lovely suburb on the city’s northern fringe, full of large houses and tree-lined streets. There are large areas of forest to the south-west – and to the north-east, through which formerly ran the Berlin Wall. Now, in place of that hated symbol of division, runs a trail, the Berliner Mauerweg, which traces the wall’s 160-kilometre route around the former West Berlin. On Christmas Eve we decided to venture into the forest to walk a section of the Berliner Mauerweg and learn something of its history. We set out along Zeltinger Strasse heading north-east, turned left onto Oranienburger Chaussee, then immediately right onto Rauentaler Strasse, which became a lovely forest track. Before long we turned right onto Jägerstieg, which meets the Berliner Mauerweg after a further 300 metres or so. We then followed the Mauerweg towards a small forest lake, Hubertussee, where we came across a large family party enjoying their own Christmas Eve walk. The Mauerweg describes an arc around the lake and heads north to join with Waldjugendweg, a former border patrol road. Here we headed west until we came to a former watchtower, where we spent some time reading information panels. There are also poignant memorials to those people who lost their lives trying to escape to the west. In the gathering dusk we continued to the end of Waldjugendweg and turned south onto another forest trail. We followed this trail towards Oranienburger Chaussee, leaving the Mauerweg behind. We crossed Oranienburger Chaussee, turned left, then right onto Staehleweg, following it as far as the railway underpass. Here we turned left, thus regaining the Mauerweg. Finally, after continuing along this path for five minutes or so, we turned left onto Gollanczstrasse and left the Mauerweg behind us. It was now quite dark. We left the forest behind too, as we returned to the lovely suburban streets of Frohnau. As we walked along we recalled that it was Christmas Eve. The coloured lights of Christmas trees winked and twinkled through front windows and even in gardens. People arrived at relatives’ houses and were greeted cordially. We walked on; we were nearly home now. From Gollanczstrasse we turned left onto Markgrafenstrasse, then left onto Zeltingerstrasse. The night was beautiful, and tomorrow would be Christmas Day.

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