Germany

Spreewald
I had first read about the Spreewald from one of my many German guidebooks. Looking for new places to visit this seemed like an interesting place. Not a lot is known about this area by most western tourists but it is a very popular place for Berliners to visit on the weekend. Coming from Durnstein along the Danube we would drive through the former East Germany along the  Czech Border. Having visited the Mosel, Rhine and Danube rivers we were now headed to another important river in Germany, the Spree.

SpreewaldSpreewaldWhat makes the Spree area so interesting is not the river itself but the Wald or forest that contains it. A United Nations protected area it contains many canals which have been inhabited by a Slavic people know as Sorbs. Rather than using automobiles these people resort to boats or punts as they are called to go about their daily lives. If you can imagine the canals of Venice but transported to a forest the Spreewald is a magical place. Locks are used to navigate the different elevations. Boat rides are the order of the day either in special punts similar to gondolas or in canoes and kayaks. Daytrips from Berlin as well as camping are very popular. 

SpreewaldWe were lucky enough to visit this beautiful area during their annual festival which brought people in from throughout the surrounding area. Besides the canals Spreewald is also famous for its gurke or pickles. My wife said that the pickles were very good. I'll have to take her word for it. At the festival which is somewhat similar to our Garlic Festival that we have in California but in a much prettier locale there was all manner of the green vegetable available including pickle soup, pickle ice cream in addition to the normal German fare of beer and sausage. There was a band, contests, people dressed in traditional costumes and a small parade of boats. In the evening we were treated to a fireworks display which brought a lovely ending to a wonderful weekend.

 

Germany