Take Me to the Lakes, Berlin

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It should be of no surprise that the country that holds the founding chapters of movements such as naturopathy, hydrotherapy and Freikörperkultur also holds an innate love, if not obsession, with local lakes. With a limited coastline and impeccable public transportation, lakes in, and around, Berlin are sought for leisure - and for refuge. 

Long before the trains, trams and cars there were communities that developed within Germany that promoted an appreciation of nature, community, well-being and work/life balance. Yes - work/life balance and leisure-time were being heavily promoted in Germany before the dawn of industrialism - if this tells you anything about the German Volk.  If you look into the oldest and darkest times of Germanic history, the designation of one within a guild, club or organization was not only normal, but most of the time obligatory. 

Eventually, guilds would be deemed unnecessary and outdated as nation-states came to rise and those practicing crafts and trades could work freely, without restriction or worry. However, there was one concern. As the guilds and club memberships were thrown to the wayside, the workers united in factories, manufacturing warehouses and automated assembly lines. Mass-production was officially, underway.  Where was the appreciation of nature, community and well-being? Well, it was - and still is - very much alive. Especially in regards to the lebensreform movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

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Hilarious to the modern observer, this social movement promoted a back-to-nature lifestyle, healthy and organic food, sexual liberation and alternative medicine practices. Surely this sounds familiar? Whereas guilds, clubs and organizations might still have declining memberships - the lakes in Berlin certainly do not. Nor do the health-food stores.

It was only a matter of time before some brilliant person would decide to capture these Berlin lake moments that are truly historical, social and perhaps depending on your moment in time, even political. Take Me to the Lakes is a self-proclaimed “marriage between limnology, photography, design, recreation, relaxation and wanderlust.” Printed in both German and English editions, this publication not only proves, but encourages that Berliners expand beyond their grey skies and whistling U-Bahns. 

To see this publication as a simple “coffee table book,” or something to lay on your nightstand and never glance through unless in starry-eyed perilous moments, is to not do it justice. This is truly, in every way, a historical catalogue of life and leisure in Germany. By featuring 50 lakes in and around Berlin, more than 140 bathing spots, 9 lakeside getaways and a foldaway map this is an artifact - a cultural representation of a new generation of Berliners. These Berliners are reminding the world that leisure, community, self-expression, self-exploration and an inherent appreciation for nature still exists. 

 All Photos Courtesy,  The Gentle Temper

All Photos Courtesy, The Gentle Temper

The softcover second-printing provides a comprehensive guide and compact, convenient size seemingly made to easily pass around, to share at dinner parties or to pack away to enjoy on a bench by the canals. The pages lend both a sense of familiarity to those that frequent the lakes and unfamiliarity to tourists and newcomers as they can utilize the pages as a referential model. By catering to both parties - and everyone in between - Take Me to the Lakes is a contemporary limnological sampling of Berlin. Truly, a first of its kind. 

Exciting News: Take Me to the Lakes: Weekender Edition is currently available for preorder - and will be officially available on November 6, 2017. We suggest you purchase the first edition (German) to seek out 50 accommodations close to the water, from the Berlin area to the beaches of the baltic sea and more than 100 waters with more than 160 bathing spots!