Monday, April 13, 2009
Der Spreewald: Mehr als Gurken
We didn't get around to canoeing in the Spreewald last year, but Spring has overtaken Berlin in full force and we couldn't waste any time. As noted in the link above, the Spreewald is a forest-wetland preserve about an hour south of Berlin. Some of the current residents are descendants of the Sorbs/Wends, the Slavic tribes that originally settled the area and all the signs are in Deutsch and Wendish, houses are built in the traditional style, etc. I had heard that the Spreewald made for a nice day trip, but I had no idea how charming it was. The Spreewald is sort of Germany's take on Venice in that much of the area is made up of small channels, which are lined with adorable houses and hay stacks (I have a weak spot for nice haystacks) and the occasional restaurant. The Spreewald is also known for its pickles (which you can buy at most any grocery store in Germany) and let me just say that being able to canoe along on a perfect spring day and buy pickles right from our boat pretty much made the trip for me. The Spreewald is one of those places that has a lot of tourists, but is still quite charming. Most people tour the wetlands on a Kahn (punt) -- the cute boats pictured here -- which is powered by a sort-of Spreewaldish gondolero. One does feel somewhat virtuous paddling by them (and more entitled to the double-picnic day (breakfast and lunch), which we concluded with a typical Spreewald dinner of boiled potatoes, quark and linseed oil (better than it sounds) and some sort of local take on blood sausage with sauerkraut.
ps. Seven weeks to go and I've finally had a wedding nightmare. What does it say about me if I dreamed not that I lost my dress or that it rained or some other Perfect Day-ruining catastrophe, but that I forgot to make the chili for the rehearsal dinner. I realized the oversight the morning of so there was still plenty of time, but I was distressed that the flavors wouldn't have time to meld properly.