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Germany - Brandenburg


A Karen Brown Recommendation
follow signs to Lübbenau , which offers the largest selection of departures for the boat excursions that explore the water alleys of the *Spreewald. Follow the road into town (signposted Häfen with a little boat and waves) and continue to the boat landing (you cannot miss it—there is a small plaza where many boats are tied up along docks lining the River Spree). As you walk along the docks you see a large selection of boats, each with a sign posted with the price and the length of the trip offered. Tours last from two to six hours and boats leave when they are full of passengers. The Spreewald is an enormous maze where the Spree divides into tiny fingers, creating a lacy pattern of canal-like waterways, which wind lazily in every direction under a canopy of trees. For many centuries the Spreewald has been home to the Sorbs who have their own language and folk customs. Along the banks of the river the Sorbs have built small houses which vary in style but which are all simple wooden structures with high-pitched roofs crowned on each corner with a carved snake wearing a crown. You can experience the magic of this area only by taking one of the boat excursions. First choose your boat: the two-hour tour is excellent, giving you a good sample of the area and also time to stop at Lehde, a Sorb village where you can have a cup of tea and visit the museum made up of a cluster of typical wooden homes furnished with old, country-style furniture. Each canoe is almost identical: a blackened wooden shell—sort of a cross between an Indian dugout canoe and a Venetian gondola. Benches are set in rows down the length of the canoe and your “gondolier” stands at the back and poles you through the shallow waters. As the boat left the dock, I was reminded of the jungle cruise at Disneyland. The boats pass under many humped bridges from which paths disappear mysteriously into the forest. Your gondolier makes a “pickle stop,” for the Spreewald is famous for its pickles and merchants sell these spicy wares along the riverbanks. As the canoe glides through the water you are surrounded by constant activity: boats pass piled high with hay or carrying laughing children on their way to school or the postman delivering his mail—all attesting to the fact that there are few roads into this world of yesteryear.
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