I was told on several occasions about the beautiful landscape of Spreewald, but till I arrived at Lübbenau, one hour away by train from Berlin, I did not fully believe it. Call it the good habit of the journalist. That we should have congratulate ourselves for a perfect choice for a summer day away from the city, we had realize as sooner aswe spotted out of the window the Spree shining in the sun.
But there is a somehow unfair natural law according to which good things happen to those who wait. None of the beautiful nature was around the streets near the train station when we arrived, but we were optimistic enough that we will really be in the middle of that nature soon. Till then, we first encountered a kind of ranch with a big yard where were gathered different domesticated animals.
Respecting the traditions and language of the local Sorb minority, the names of the streets and other important information are bilingual. Despite the too much tourist information, we were able to continue our way easily though. The big monument of the Soviet soldier reminded us that the area used to be during the Cold War part of the DDR.
Our meditations about recent history, if any, were cut shortly by the view of the alley leading to a thick forest. The quietness and simple beauty left us in silence for a good amount of time. We slowly walked the alleys, breathing deep the fresh air. Except the fast forward moving bikes, many of them belonging to visitors like us, nothing troubled the majestic ambiance.
For less than one hour, we made a short tour of the town, with red bricked houses stuck between white modern buildings where one can enter following cobblestoned streets. People are living simply, many probably using the products of their gardens. The consumption area was reduced to the bare minimum: pharmacy, bakery, bookstore, food, some clothing shops.
We can’t wait to be back in the nature. Spreewald is not only part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve, but also one of Germany’s major gardens. The famous pickles made in the region are one of the most sought and famous products in the North of the country. The area has no less than 18,000 species of flora and fauna most of them in full blown during the spring and summer.
Visitors are coming in the ‘Woodland’ – the raw translation of ‘Spreewald’ – to relax. For us, it was enough just to stay on one of the bridges and look. The rest of the people would most likely enjoy an hours long tour by canoe, an usual transportation for the locals – that can be rented from one of the localities part of the small delta. Especially during the summer, the river is getting busy as the commotion from the streets of Berlin in a working afternoon is moving to Spree. Except that the risk of an accident or of getting angry on your traffic partner is almost impossible. With so much beauty around, you calm down immediately.
Besides the famous big jars of pickles, an iconic product for the former East Germans, the traditional arts of the Sorbs are another trademark of the area. Coloured glass globes with motives inspired by nature are a special souvenir that you can take back home from the trip.
As for us, the best souvenir was the good mood and refreshed energies that lasted at least for a very busy week ahead. In less than two weeks, we were back exploring another corner of Spreewald. Why not taking the chance of living in a big capital city surrounded by so much beautiful nature?
More pictures from our trip to Lübbenau can be found here: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/spreewald/