In the broader scheme of European hydrology, the River Schlaube is no more than a diminutive dribble. This little tributary of the River Oder makes no great mark on the Brandenburg landscape. Its valley is no more than a gentle impression in the flatlands that lie between Berlin and the Polish border. Yet this subtle valley is a place of rare beauty, easily reached by taking the minor railway that links Berlin with the villages of Mixdorf and Müllrose. The two hour journey is slow travel at its best, with the train dawdling through forests, hugging lakeshores and from time to time pausing at little wayside halts that seemingly have no villages anywhere in their vicinity.