The Mecklenburg lake district is a 6.014,4 km² big upper moraine landscape with dozens of lakes in northeast Germany and the Müritz is, as the biggest lake around Germany, part of it. Waren is a spa town located right at the Müritz and with its approximately 22.000 inhabitants one of the biggest cities in that area. In a quite short-term decision, me, my pup Peanut, my best friend Jenn and her dog Sue decided to spent an extended and very relaxed weekend in Waren.
Since both of us had been to the island Ruegen quite a lot, we wanted to see something new but still close to the water and so the winner was a pretty extraordinary AirBnB accommodation on top of the so-called Nesselberg (hill) in Waren. Namely a rebuilt, historic water tower, which was an absolute jewel.
There are four apartments inside the water tower and ours was the one on the ground floor with a separate entrance.
The tower is located right in the middle of a small forest, which is great when you're traveling with dogs, on top the Nesselberg and has a nice lake view. Like a small witch's cottage, the steepletop outdoes the treetops, which provides a magical sight. The interior of the tower apartment is modern and tasteful with an open kitchen, a chimney, a double bed and a really spacious bathroom. Best thing is the underfloor heating, which continues in the wall of the walkable shower. You could definitely get to like this place but the >>water tower<< isn't really cheap either with 79€ (84$/£69) per night for two people, however it's absolutely worth it.
It was also an easy walk from our accommodation to the bordering Müritz National Park. It utterly was a paradise for our two dogs. They loved it. There was hardly anyone else inside the national park with us and it was great to explore the woods with indeed cold but dry weather while listening to the birds' twittering, announcing the upcoming spring. The national park's scenery is partially rather diverse. At first, you're hiking through a simple conifer forest and suddenly you're in the middle of a fairy-like clearing out of toppled trees, overgrown by moss. We also found the origin of the Havel, a 334km/208mi long river in northeast Germany. It is hard to believe that this marshy landscape turns into a vast river and who's able to claim that their dogs took a bath inside Havel?
But unfortunately, our weekend involved some bummers. Waren even to be exact. The city itself is nice to look at. Some half-timbered houses, a small harbor, narrow alleys around the historic city, the steeples of two churches enthroning above the roofs. It all looks great at first sight but well, only at first sight.
Lots of the small shops had been closed and as we entered one of the bakeries on Saturday afternoon, the display had been nearly completely emptied though the bakery was supposed to be open for another 1 ½ hours. I've gained different experiences on Ruegen – during low season as well. Besides, I'm quite spoiled by Goehren on Ruegen as well as by our >>New Year's Eve vacation in Austria<< as for kindness towards our dogs. They are very welcome on Ruegen as well as in Austria and everyone delights in their presence. In Waren it is the other way around. Dogs are hardly allowed anywhere and the first time we've experienced this was at the café “Dat Tortenhus”.
The Tortenhus had been warmly recommended to us since it's supposed to offer the best cake around the area and first things first: The pies are indeed delicious but that is all about the Tortenhus that is recommendable. One of the waitresses pointed out - quite rudely and without a single word - that dogs were unwanted inside the café. She literally just pointed with her finger at a hardly noticeable sign at one side of the doors. Since we wanted to give the Tortenhus a second chance, we took our dogs back to our accommodation and returned. After we finally got granted access, we enjoyed a banana-toffee-cake and an apple-vanilla-pie with thyme. The slices weren't too small and quite tasty but that was it. We were sharing our table with two ladies, which had to ask three times until the waitress finally returned with their bill and all they got was a very annoyed look on her face instead of an apology. She downright looked like the two of them had just made her day miserable.
As we decided to return for another piece of cake on the next day, said waitress took the bun.
It was Saturday and there was a sign in front of the entrance, telling us that we would get seated. I knew this procedure from the UK and United States, so it was nothing new to me but as soon as we entered the waitress stood right in front of me, asking us, accompanied with a very annoyed grin, “What is it?”. We asked very kindly for a table for two and suddenly I got pushed out of the Tortenhus backwards. Said waitress pointed at the sign in front of the café, telling us very rudely that we had to wait outside while treating us like two eight year old girls, which weren't fancy enough for the Tortenhus. Then she left us outside and disappeared while making a face. This was the point when even my broad-mindedness hit absolute limit and we left.
It is too bad since the café itself looks nice and the pies would be worth more than one visit but not with a disrespectful treatment like that.
After all, the U-Nautic, a fish restaurant with moderate prices, was a bit of an improvement. Best thing at the U-Nautic is the establishment. The whole restaurant is a recreated submarine with love for details. A neat and uncommon idea. We got served quickly and our lunch was absolutely alright. Nothing fancy, nothing too special but you can't expect that with lower prices.
Lake Müritz and its national park is definitely worth a visit. The water of the lake is crystal clear and there are dozens of opportunities to explore the woods. I can also thoroughly recommend the water tower but that's about it, especially when you're traveling with a dog. I felt very unwelcome quite often and apart from the historic city and the nature around the Nesselberg, Waren rather looks like Berlin-Marzahn with its industrialized buildings instead of a spa town.
Nevertheless, we were able to enjoy a few relaxed days. Next time, we're simply choosing another travel destination ;)
Until then, happy traveling.