If you hear, that I went to the Valley of Love you may associate this with a lot of more or less romantic things. No bad thoughts, please. Yesterday I simply attended our traditional Easter hike with a bunch of friends to visit a certain Landmark of that name north-east of Berlin at the German-Polish border. The borderline is marked by the river Oder and on the other side there is the Valley of Love (Dolina Miłości). This is an impressive landscape park with hiking paths through the Lower Saathen Heights. This chain of hills, left over by the ice age is on the Polish side while the German territory seems to be completely flat and forms the gigantic floodlands of the river. By this time of the year the locks were open and the German area was flooded by melting water that run down the Oder from the high southern mountains of Poland and Chech.
We had walked all the way from the German city of Schwedt to the Polish side and followed the river upstream. After an hour we came to the somewhat unspectecular entrance of the valley. There we met an old lady who had just finished her walk and extaticly reported about fields of liverworts (in German: Leberblümchen). The female hikers of our group showed enormous interest in this. But first it was time to climb our first hill to get a great view over the river and the floodlands (despite the bad weather as it started to drizzle). After that we had an appointment at Beata’s place where she served traditional Polish rich food (potato soup and bigos) in her private garden restaurant. So it was not easy to start hiking through the hills with full bellies. At first sight the landscape park itself seems to be as unspectecualar as the entrance was. But after a while the intention behind this comes to mind: keep the nature as it is and add just a few human strikes to make it’s beauty more visible. Old trees, ponds, tiny bridges, 13 km of hiking paths – all looked somewhat natural and not touristicly straightened as you may find it in so many other hiking locations in Europe. After having seen the liverworts (Many single examples but definitely no fields – old lady!) too, we had another appointment at Ryszard’s which is a great small cafe-restaurant in the nearby village of Nieder Saathen (Zatoń Dolna). In his remodelled barn we had some excellent cake and coffee before we headed back to the city of Schwedt.
Finally this was a great day trip to be recommended to Berliners (90 mins by car). I will definitely come back another day when the weather will be a lot friendlier.
You may want to know why this spot is called the Valley of Love. In the early 1800s there was a wife of a land owner who felt very lonely because her husband was on a kind of business trip. She decided to shape the forrest, hills and valley into a nicer place that would give her and her husband the chance to spend romantic hours after his return. When he came back he was greeted by a banner that stated “Welcome to the Valley Created by Love”. From that time on it was the Valley of Love.