Buckow, the little German Switzerland

DSC01320

It is amazing the fascination of Switzerland. There are so many places and corners compared to the country of cantons that it is very hard sometimes to make the difference between the copy and the original. As someone that spent some impressive amount of time in the real Switzerland, I am very cautious with the comparisons. A bit of curiosity, a bit of boredom and my limited options of travel this summer brought me to Buckow, just another destination less than 2 hours away from Berlin, situated in the so-called Märkische Schweiz. From Müncheberg train station, we embarked on a vintage train from the 1980s ride that for 3 Euro ticket (one way, two-way costs 5 Euro) will bring us to Buckow. The train is working only from May to October.DSC01321

The ride lasts for around 10 minutes, and I can even go on the top cockpit to follow the railway road through green forest and camping places or houses with tiled rooftops. In the forest might be many protected birds, as the entire area is considered a natural park, covering around 205 sqkm.

DSC01327

Those curious to discover more about the train history can visit the small museum situated in the station. DSC01328

From the one and only train station in town, we just followed the Berliner street, following only our travel intuition – as there were no arrows to direct the travelers through various destinations in the city.

DSC01331

The streets are empty, but I already got used with this first impression after visiting many other places around Berlin. It seems that during the summer either everyone is hiding  behind the stone houses or they just left the area during this unusually hot season.DSC01334From the concrete of the town we are heading smoothly through the forest. The air is much fresh and the temperature get balanced so I wish I can spend here the rest of my trip this time.DSC01336Some people not only wished they spend more time here, but are just having a great time for more than a couple of hours. Some early morning campers – some of them accompanied by their small children – are just getting out of their tents and having a breakfast with a view over the lake and the historical city. DSC01338And it seems that people are doing more than camping. Some may come here to study and meditate in the middle of a collection of stones from all over the North of Europe.DSC01344The famous literary couple Bertold Brecht-Helene Weigel chose this quiet place to spend some creative summer time. Their house is open now as a memorial museum.DSC01350

But you do not have to be excessively creative to decide living or spending a lot of time in Buckow. Many of the big houses have a view and even special access to the lake. Such a lake made me feel for a while to the many enjoyable boat rides around the lakes of Zurich or Geneve. Some of the big houses do have wooden decorations and paintings in the upper part, another reminder of the picturesque Switzerland.DSC01353Our efforts to get into a boat that is supposed to start a tour around the lake in less than 40 minutes failed. Especially after the captain of one of the boats kept making very uninspired jokes in presence of ladies. The time spent waiting for the boat to leave was enough to give us a view over the Schermützelsee. Wish we are one of those lucky owners of a personal boat to just go in the middle of the lake without depending on other doubtful options…DSC01360A good food can lift the spirits and from the balcony of the restaurant of Strand Hotel we keep observing the movement from the lake while tasting some seasonal local mushrooms – Pfefferlinge – meal accompanied by boiled potatoes adorned with fresh parsley and cooked with onions. A very simple meal without excessive oil.DSC01361The soup made from the same Pfefferlinge is creamy and salty.The brown bread with various seeds is a good taste companion. DSC01362When the weather is so hot, except the boat trip in the middle of the lake, sunbathing and swimming is an option not only for the locals but also from groups of youngsters arriving by car from Berlin. DSC01369

I may be tempted to hurry up to go back to Berlin, but I feel there is something else that can be seen here. For instance, the big castle park Bukow, with its special rehabilitation clinic park. Besides Nordic walking and simple hiking – on the Kaloerienpromenade – , it is also possible to try walking bare feet through the water. I take the last challenge, but my swollen feet were not exactly ready to cope with the many little stones.

DSC01386

A walk through the streets of the historical center was a more enjoyable experience. Many of the houses are available for summer renting which might be a good idea, as the area looks quiet, without too many temptations. There are some small exhibition spaces such as Közwolf bei Brecht presenting local German works, and even a Korean restaurant and a movie theater, enough things to do for offering a right balance between the secluded time for rest and a minimal social face.DSC01396

Not an artist and not on vacation, I prefer to take my regular test around the lake, looking envious from my wooden bench at the kids jumping bravely in the warm water.

DSC01399

Before taking the bus till the train station, a short visit at the colourful pottery shop bring more impressions about this visit. Maybe the comparison with Switzerland does not make too much sense, but at least it makes me feel I am very very far away of the busy city life. For now, I feel less guilty for my limited travel agenda and it is enough.

For more insights from Buckow, check  the dedicated Pinterest board: https://de.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/buckow-germany/

Advertisements

Hey sista…

With a full time non-blogging job and so many things to do, taste, read and learn, my blogging life had -publicly at least, but my readers do not believe in appearances – more downs than ups. I keep travelling though in an interesting place – in Berlin or outside the city – at least once the week. Most of my focus now is how to improve the audience, play with the SEO tricks and get the technical knowledge for upgrading the blog to a better, higher, inter-stellar level. Soon, will launch my Instagram account and everything is ready to go up and up to the travel sky. Stay around for some great updates soon.

Meanwhile, Doro who is sharing her travel lessons learned and stories as The Touristin, nominatede me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers, together with other nice folks, some of them I had the chance to meet in Berlin. Many thanks for thinking about me, Doro! And thank you too for the great questions I will answer right now, one by one:

What is your favourite vegetarian dish?

I am not a fully committed vegetarian, but I don’t eat too much meat either. A couple of years ago I got to know the Vietnamese cuisine and definitely fell in love with. Till I will make my dream of learning to cook some of the dishes in Vietnam, I never say ‘no’ to the temptation to have just another spring roll in one of the many good restaurants serving authentic Vietnamese food in Berlin.

What type of museum do you like to visit?

I go to any kind of museums. I started this sport as a kid, when my mother used to take me with her anywhere and kept doing it right now. I appreciate the classical art museums, but I have a hidden fascination for science and technical museums too. I even went to a very specialized electricity museum in Berlin so expect the unexpected from me!

We hear all the time that we have to live our dreams. Are you doing it?

I am a realistic person, so I prefer to enjoy every single moment of the life I am doing for me.

What is the funniest thing you ever experienced?

It happens very often. One of them: forgetting my winter coat on the bus from Haifa to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel and arriving in Berlin at – many degrees. To be continud…

What is your most treasured travel souvenir?

I do not gather objects or any kind of souvenirs. I treasured the time spent on the road, the pictures I take and the lessons I learn that I can later share with others on the blog and usually by writing.

Mountains or ocean?

What about looking at the ocean from the top of the mountain?

Who should play you in the film of your life?

Me, of course 🙂

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

Isn’t the title of my blog good enough?

Did you ever dance under a stary night sky?

Very often. It makes sense for someone that sleeps just a meagre amount of hours, isn’t it?

Your perfect vacation involves…

A place I never been before, preferably with some mountains, a lot of sun and a tasty cocktail waiting for me in the middle of nowhere. Suggestions, anyone?

Keep in touch with more stories soon…

Good blogging news: I’m nominated for Liebster Award!

Good news! Good news!

Andrew Boland, from World Journeys, was so kind to nominate me for this year edition of Liebster Award! Liebster – the name is of German origin and means ‘sweetest’, ‘beloved’ – Award is aimed to outline blogging work that deserves more visibility. It goes into the blogging community, as the nominations are made by the bloggers themselves. Once you are nominated, you should answer the questions (10) you were addressed, nominate another 10 bloggers, ask them 10 smart questions and let them know the good news. 

It’s a wonderful way to encourage the blogging identity, communication and dialogue! And thank you very much, Andrew, for the nomination!

Image

Now, let’s answer the questions!

1. What’s the country you most wanted to visit that you haven’t visited yet?

Anyone who knows me well will answer that it’s hardly any country in the world that I’m not curious to visit at least once. But I will add that from time to time, there is one and only country that I seriously dream about it. Right now, it’s Ethiopia.

2. Why (do you want to visit it)?

I’ve heard, read and have been told wonderful things about the culture, the nature, the food and especially the people of this country. The perfect combo incentive to make me plan seriously a trip there!

3. What is the most awkward situation you’ve found yourself in when travelling?

Falling so asleep at my gate at Stansted airport that I couldn’t hear the call(s) for my plane. Let’s hope this is the most awkward situation in my whole travel life!

4. What’s the one thing in your pack you never go travelling without, and why?

Except my passport, isn’t it? That permanent presence is my camera: even though I forgot my notebook, the pictures will remind me everything I’ve seen during my trip. As I am exclusively using my pictures to illustrate my blog posts, without my camera it will be a little blogging drama going on!

5. How has your blog changed since you began it?

I seriously started blogging for Ilana on the road one year and a half ago, and since then, I tried to diversify the content and the projects featured. I am always trying to do new things and introduce new topics and improve my writing from a post to another, so expect always good changes going on there.

6. What’s the most satisfying things about blogging?

Writing! You know that moment when you are a teenager and think seriously what you want to do when you grow up? I knew since 17 or so that all I want to do in my life is writing and tried various variants and possibilities, but blogging seems to be tailored to my way of being, as it’s not only writing and it’s not only research. And it’s always a lot of action going on!

7. What camera do you use and why would/why wouldn’t you recommend it?

I’m a clumsy person when it comes to technical items, and I prefer a brand that is professional, easy to use and answering my blogging needs. For almost 5 years, I am permanently using Nikon, various types, with more complicated or easier configurations and I am more than happy with it.

8. What’s the most relaxing place you’ve visited?

When I’m tired and in need of a nice place I am always thinking about Israel and some special quiet corner on the beaches in Tel Aviv or Haifa. 

9. What’s the most dangerous situation you’ve been in whilst travelling?

I love to travel a lot, but my life is a precious gift so trying as much as possible to avoid dangerous situations. I’m grateful that I never went through such encounters, except some innocent allergies!

10. What’s your biggest travelling regret?

Wish I can travel more! 

While thinking about who shall I nominate for the Liebster Award, I prepared some – I hope – challenging questions:

1. What’s your earliest travel memory ?

2. What’s your top 3 list of travel recommendations?

3. What would you say to a person who never travelled?

4. What are your travel plans for the next 6 months?

5. What’s your favourite winter destination?

6. What’s the most important advice you ever received?

7. How would your life be without travel?

8. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to travel?

9. What are the 6 countries one should not miss in a round the world trip?

10. Let the readers know your 2 recommendations for becoming a better blog writer!

And…my winners are:

Kasha from Lines of Escape @KashaCapeTown

Dorothée from The Touristin @DoroLef

Vlad from Eff it, I’m on Holiday @efitimonholiday 

Colleen from Ad-lib Traveller @AdlibTraveller 

Alyssa from Alyssa Writes @aaljames 

Nicole from Vegan Nom Noms @VeganNomNoms

Jens from Vagabond’s Log @vagabondslog

Ankita from Living and Escaping @Living_Escaping

Michelle from Confessed Travelholic @thetravelholic 

Mel from Mel Loves Travel @Mellovestravels

Can’t wait to read their answers!

A day in the life of the travel writer

When I try to introduce my latest business as a travel blogger, I am received with envy and enthusiasm: oh, you are one of those people who are always on the road and even sometimes get paid (not the case here) for discovering fancy places, tasting exceptional meals and sleeping in gorgeous hotels? And what are you doing the whole day? Taking pictures that you post on Pinterest or on Twitter? What a cool life do you have?

I recognize that I love a lot my life, especially after I decided that the only person that it is worth to work for it’s only me. As I am a special case of multi-tasking: sometimes I pin, tweet, or write 2 words while listening to some podcast, simply because I can, the life in the social media realm suits me very well. Writing and taking pictures are also part of my old passions that fuelled my early dreams of a career, in my early teenage years. Plus, sometimes I can do good PR tricks as I did some constant work in this domain for a couple of years. I have a lot of interests that I am sharing between my different blogs and social media profile and I am more than happy with this. Thanks to my academic background I am able to access a lot of historical and sociological information that, I hope, gives a different spin to my posts. 

But the only thing I am not allowed to say about this life is that it is easy and the rewards are instant. Behind every trip it is a lot of work and documentation, photo editing and selection. As I do not have the whole time in the world to do it, I need to set up the right schedule in order to get the best of my travel experience. Plus, don’t forget that I am trying to be as informative as possible and thus, my posts are not exercises of self-admiration but are aimed to offer information for anyone interested to see a new place, not necessarily one featured in the big travel magazines. I am permanently hunting new topics, sending mails in order to get the access to new locations and trying to get in touch with the right people for advice, inspiration and guidance. I need to introduce each month new products and new features on the blogs, to improve the quality and the technical appearance of all my social media products. From time to time, I also need a new camera and a better computer meaning that I should be able to get new reliable sources of income. 

I spend at least 40 hours the week with writing, reading, reviewing, updating and editing, as well as preparing and planning new posts. There it is a lot to learn, mainly in terms of social media and proper SEO and every single steps ahead is the result of intensive work, work and work. 

Life is not easy, but at least I try to make it pleasant. Since I am back in the writing business I am happier than ever and will never regret the decision to get out of the corporate life. There are many travel bloggers and freelance writers saying almost the same so it must be a certain true in this determination.