We had been to Volkspark Schönholzer Heide in Pankow once before on a trip to Berlin last winter while exploring the neighborhood and looking for good places for Bailey to get out some of her anxiety at this new exposure to big city life. The entrance to the park is on a pretty major street, but so much of the massive, forested space is set back from any streets that it gives the impression of being a forest unto itself, rather than just another park in such a populated German city. Apprehensive about minding the 'dogs on leash' signs (ever the good, rule-following German am I), we quickly realized that once a safe distance from the street, all dog owners were unclipping the leads and letting their four-legged friends gallivant through the snow, as they were meant to do. And so Bailey, already acquainted with the snow this year - she's a little nervous every season, but once she realizes what snow is, again, she can't get enough - began her frenzied circles through the trees, chasing sticks we threw and thankfully behaving like a good Berlin dog by listening to us and being generally friendly with the other dogs.
The bitter cold that stung our cheeks and numbed my double-gloved fingers - not to mention my double-socked toes and triple-layered legs - was at least some fresh air in our lungs and a good reminder of how bright and rejuvenating life can be. So we let Bailey have her fun until the numbness turned into outright pain and we headed for home. Anxious for a little something ourselves, we dropped our exhausted pup at home to curl up in the warm apartment and headed to a warm spot in town for some coffee and a snack. After exploring some amazing, new-to-us shops in our Kiez, we went home warm, with bellies full, grateful for the day.