I can’t help but feel sorry for places like Rathenow and Dessau. Rathenow had a major industry (optics) that made it a bombing target in WWII. The town and its industry were rebuilt after the war, but along came reunification and the dominant industry was once again shattered. Unlike Angermünde or the other historische Stadtkerne on this tour, Rathenow no longer has anything to polish up to make it a tourist destination.
Rathenow does have the Westhavelland nature reserve on its doorstep, however, which made for a pleasant departure. There were some undulations – gentle enough to enhance the journey rather than turn it into a trial. Further to the east is agricultural land and fens (Luch), which were alive with frog croaking and – when finally disturbed – the siren calls of cranes. This part of Germany is an important habitat for cranes. I finally checked how they nested, since the question was puzzling me. Obviously not Rapunzel-like at the top of factory chimneys as storks do: no, cranes build platform nests on water. There was plenty of the latter around – the Großer Havelländischer Hauptkanal was very high and parts of some fields were under water.
Despite retaining its historischer Stadtkern, Nauen is no more attractive than Rathenow. Fachwerkhäuser and Gründerzeit style. The town is apparently notable for pioneering radio transmission. At present the only highlights for me have been hearing chirpy piano music from a first-floor dance studio and staying next to a donkey sanctuary.