This idea sounded exciting: In Berlin-Gatow, in the southwest of the city, there was recently the 1st singles’ walk in the forest (“for singles, single people, widowers, divorced, separated…”). Behind the project is the Berlin author Gabriele Bärtels, who immediately presented the idea in the Spandau newsletter from the Tagesspiegel. Here she tells who came for a walk, what drives her, which novels she writes, what the Berlin-Spandau town hall absolutely has to do – and who should have crows, pardon me!, but really poop on the head.
Ms. Bärtels, you recently organized a walk in the woods for singles. So how many people came? “It was a surprisingly successful walk! About 35 neighbors between the ages of 30 and over 70 turned up. I put a name tag on everyone’s chest and off we went. A long procession meandered leisurely along the forest paths, chattering flourished everywhere, and the groups in the conversation kept changing. After about an hour we were back. Then 20 neighbors sat down together in the garden of the steak restaurant and stayed there for a long time.”
Do you repeat that? “Many participants expressed their wish for a repetition, but it is difficult to organize for a single person in the long term. In addition, I am convinced that there is not only a great need in Spandau to get to know singles from the neighborhood in an analogue and uncomplicated way. Couldn’t the Tagesspiegel newsletter organize that for every district?”
[Kiez news, dates, many tips – bundled and once a week for each Berlin district: The Tagesspiegel district newsletter is available free of charge at leute.tagesspiegel.de]
How did you come up with the idea in the first place? “I’ve been thinking about the idea for a long time because I’m fed up with personal ads: too high expectations, too much pressure and often too far away. I would like to go back to getting to know each other analogously: in the vicinity, without an appointment, without pretzels, without entry and exit hurdles. Anyone can go for a walk. The thought has solidified because in the beginning of the Ukrainian refugee wave I got to know many neighbors in a short time and heard a lot about loneliness. I promised one person in particular that I would organize something. After that, it took weeks before I dared to come out with the suggestion, because I came out with it myself.”
And why in the forest of Hohengatow? “I know my way around there, it is conveniently located, there is a garden restaurant and a forest playground. None of the participants actually needed more sights. Not even the lilies of the valley that I pointed out got any special attention. Everyone was deep in chatter. But the shady green nature still has an effect.”
[Now read the big interview with Gatow’s new forester Christian Eckert about broken guys, broken forests, the wolf, garbage and the secrets of the Spandau Forest: here in the Tagesspiegel]
Are you from Spandau? “I came here ten years ago, when I built a house on the Havel with my ex and knew immediately that I never wanted to leave this area again. I’ve been living in Gatow for four months. I love the combination of village, country, water and city and am very happy to be part of the village neighborhood. Compared to what I know from other neighborhoods, pure idyll prevails here.”
You are an author. What are you writing? “As a journalist, reports, essays, portraits, reports, for example this one about my time as a hostess for a Ukrainian family: chrismon.evangelisch.de. As a writer, novels and stories, preferably slightly twisted from reality. An overview can be found here: gabriele-baertels.de/literatur. One of my most beautiful stories – if I may say so myself – is the modern fairy tale “In the Depths of the Pond”. The garden pond story goes well with summer.
Politicians read along: Your 3 neighborhood annoyances that are welcome to change? Firstly… “Roaring motor boats and disco boats on the Havel must be resolutely pursued.”
Secondly? “What annoys all dog owners: on the one hand they are supposed to collect their dog waste, but then they march for kilometers through the park with the warm, fragrant sh… like on the Dr.-Kleusberg-Promenade. A trash can is nowhere to be seen.”
Third? “I haven’t lived here long enough for a third nuisance.”
And if you’re allowed to fool around: your 4th wish? “Drones that fly patrols at night and photograph everyone who throws their rubble, refrigerators and furniture in the forest and in the sewage fields. It would also be nice if the crows pooped on the heads of these nature abusers.”
Your favorite spot in Spandau? “It’s more of a time: Five o’clock in the morning on the sewage fields, just before the sun rises, with ground fog if possible. Then there is magic over everything.”
And here I will name the other topics that you will find in the current Tagesspiegel newsletter for Berlin-Spandau.
– “The houseboats are not getting any fewer”: In the newsletter, the city councilor speaks about the start of the boating season, party ships, police jet skis and the junk ship “Yellow Submarine” in Kladow
– Hallelujah at the Haveldüne! Spandau’s gospel choir gives a benefit concert for the Ahr Valley and talks about the best places in the district in the newsletter
– “We grow birch trees on the roof”: Pastor of the mighty Lutheran Church talks about the construction site and benefit evenings in the newsletter
– Construction start: Update on Johnny-K-Park in Staaken in the newsletter
– “We have a property in mind”: Youth councilor speaks in the newsletter about the new youth club on Blasewitzer Ring in the Kiez Heerstraße Nord
– Corona, dentists and school check: City Councilor for Health speaks in the newsletter about the situation in early summer
– New stadium for Spandau? The city councilor for sports brings up the new location in the newsletter
– News about the citizen registration offices in Kladow, Falkenhagener Feld and Staaken
– “One of the last contemporary witnesses is dead”: mourning in Spandau
– Long day of urban nature in Spandau – with 3 tips from a particularly great place
– The music school invites you – three times!
– 190 times applause: Spandau’s sports honors in the citadel
– 24 hour benefit paddling on the Havel
– BVG headquarters on the newsletter: “Sylt or Spandau – honestly, what’s the point?”
– Newsletter reports on the doctors’ concert from the citadel
By the way, in our newsletters from Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Spandau, Tempelhof-Schoeneberg and of course in all other district people newsletters from the Tagesspiegel, you can find out about the birthdays of friends, life partners, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, business partners etc. or congratulate yourself with a few nice words. Write to our authors, whose e-mail addresses you will find in the newsletters.