In those moments, it felt almost possible to reach back into centuries past and to touch some long-forgotten ancestors.
As delightful as it is to stay put on the property of Schlosshotel Burg Schlitz, the hotel also is a base for memorable excursions. One day during our visit, we followed winding country roads lined with lindens and flowering chestnut trees around the south shore of Malchiner Lake through the heart of the ironically named “Mecklenburg Switzerland” (its highest hill is about 400 feet).
Within 40 minutes, we reached the Ivenacker Oaks, giant trees ranging from 500 to 1,000 years old. They originally formed part of a grazing forest, where medieval herders would bring horses, pigs, cattle and other animals to forage. Part of the land has reverted to that purpose today — we encountered a herd of fallow deer grazing on the edge of a meadow punctuated by a red baroque pavilion, and a group of speckled piglets rooting around for acorns. But it was the oaks themselves that were truly unforgettable. We stood for a while in silence before these grizzled but majestic trees, some of the oldest living things in the world. In those moments, it felt almost possible to reach back into centuries past and to touch some long-forgotten ancestors.