It’s not the carefree city we are accustomed to, but as more restrictions are lifted the happy, unmasked faces of my fellow campers seem as relieved as I am
As I’m swimming lazily out to a small island in the middle of a lake fringed with pine trees, the words “pandemic”, “Covid-19” and “virus” seem to be from a different world. They are not of course; we are still a long way from being coronavirus-free, but here at Naturcampingplatz Am Grubensee, 50 miles south-east of Berlin in the lake-strewn surrounding region of Brandenburg, my family and I are enjoying the peaceful escape we’ve been dreaming of since lockdown began 11 weeks ago – messing about in boats, cooking outside and regaining some sense of normality.
Campsites officially opened in Germany on 25 May, complete with all the necessary sanitary facilities. Petra, the owner here, says the government has given guidelines rather than strict rules, and campsites are interpreting them as they see fit. There are hand sanitiser posts all around the campsite, masks are required inside the shop/reception, and the usual 1.5-metre distance rule applies.
“We normally begin the season on 1 April, so I’ve been going grey worrying about the amount of money we’re losing,” says Petra. “Now I’m just happy to be open.”