You know about the myriads of lakes surrounding Berlin, hidden in wondrous forests, they invite you to extended walks and sooner than later (this year) to take a refreshing dive. Past Easter weekend, we drove out of the city and headed North towards Ruppiner Schweiz (you know, the habit of Germans calling hilly forest regions “something something Switzerland”, there’s also Märkische Schweiz, Sächsische Schweiz and who knows what other Schweizes…). And we found a beautiful lake, Tornowsee, which was already praised by Theodor Fontane in his Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg and a pretty restaurant called Boltenmühle.
We parked our car just next to the restaurant and headed for a walk – we didn’t finish the whole tour surrounding the lake (appr. 8km ), since the dog was just too excited to go swimming and we stopped multiple times to enjoy the view on the lake. But nevertheless the forests were very enjoyable, offering innumerous detours and idyllic clearings to take a break. (And soon, go swimming ourselves!)
Besides swimming, we saw many people using the lake, which is connected to other lakes by smaller canals, for canoeing and other paddling – an activity that seems very recommendable for hot summer days. The water was surprisingly clear, despite it being used by ferries and the canal waters passing through.
After you’ve done your share of outdoor exercise, head to the restaurant at the Northern shore of the lake, to reward yourself with some ice cream.
The Boltenmühle was built in 1718 as a watermill and used as a tourist location since the 1930s, it was an Ausflug favorite in the GDR, managed by the Konsum cooperative. Out of unknown reasons, the building burned down in 1992 and was re-build in 1994 and has been used as restaurant ever since. Of course it features the obnoxious tourist-decors like bright-yellow cloth napkins neatly arranged in circles and dusty artificial flowers made from polyester, still the terrace is furnished with bulky wooden tables and benches (instead of the annoying plastic versions) and is decorated with fresh flowers. The food is surprisingly good and overall reasonably priced. Surprisingly I say, because oftentimes restaurants benefiting from a secluded location with a nice view don’t bother serving tasty and fresh food.
These days, their focus is, of course, white asparagus, served plain with potatoes and sauce hollandaise, or topped with Schnitzel, ham or salmon. But they adapted to the needs of their urban guests and feature a small selection of organic dishes like baked potatoes or even organic veal liver. Even vegans are addressed with a vegetable rice dish.
However, we went for the classic, asparagus, as this is what you do when the asparagus-season is on. It was better than at many Ausflugslokale you find up and down the Havel (although not as delicious as the one I had at 3 Minutes sur Mer a day later…)
A perfect summer’s day would certainly be a canoeing tour on Tornowsee, some leisurely swimming, all finished with an chocolate ice cream bowl at the Mühle before heading back to the city.
If you don’t have a car, you can get there by train to Neuruppin (1,5hrs) and then take a boat heading directly towards Boltenmühle (additional 2hrs). Or take your bike and head to the lake, the restaurant is about 18km from Neuruppin.