A Ride Through the Spreewald Canals: The Real Storybook Land of Germany

Have you ever taken a ride on the “Storybook Land Canal Boats” in Disneyland? Well this was that but in real life. A glimpse into a magical wonderland.

The Spreewald is located an hour and a half south-east of Berlin and makes for the perfect day trip out of the city. Between the peaceful water way and picturesque cottages, I was sure some talking animal would appear.

This green area is filled with channels, rivers, and streams, not to mention over 6,000 species of animals and plants.

There are a variety of extracurricular activities to engage in. Everything from biking, running, walking, and rowing. We decided to rent a kayak from Bootsverleih Petrick. We paid a total of 14 euros for 5 hours. Surprisingly the day we went many of the nearby rental shops were booked, so we spoke to a local who guided us to this shop.

The Spreewald is well known for it’s irrigation system, traditional practices, and has over 200 canals to paddle through. We decided to stay in the Lübbenau area, which is the main tourist hub and main source of income for locals.

Once we hopped in our blue kayak, we were given a map of the waterways. We turned to it a few times but really just got lost in the foliage, sound of the water, and cute cottages.

I would imagine that the owners have grown quite irritated with the amount of tourist riding by and taking photos of their homes. We did see a few rental signs, and assumed that many of these owners on the main passage rent them out for money.

One of our goals that day was to eat traditional German food of the region. We came across a restaurant on google called, Haupen 6, which can only be accessed by foot or boat. In typical German style, the wooden restaurant was located right by the water passage. We pulled up to the ledge, parked our kayak, and made our way to an empty table.

It was quite busy, patrons were enjoying their beer and meat, and smiling at each person that paddled by.

We kicked off our meal with some refreshing apfel radler (apple citrus beer), then ordered some beef gulasch (goulash- hearty stew) and kasseler (smoked cut of pork). It was simple but made extremely well, very savory and tasty. We ended our meal by sharing a plinse, a pancake like dessert topped with sprinkles of sugar.

We made sure before we indulged that we’d make a small breakfast and work for our meal by paddling for a couple of hours. It made everything taste twice as good.

After our hour break we hopped back in our blue kayak and paddled away.

One thing you’ll come across if you find yourself paddling in this area are the gates. These gates regulate water levels on the channels. In order to pass through them you have to enter the space between both gates, wait until the water level rises, climb up to the top of the gate , pull the latch, and paddle out once it opens.

We spent five hours on the water, caught the sun slowly lowering between the trees, and made our way back to the shop. We wanted to walk around the town before it got dark.

In one of the squares, located by some restaurants, ice cream shops, and plinse walk ups, was a gurken market.

The Spreewäldergurken (pickled cucumbers) is perhaps the most well known food in this region. Since the land is rich and moist, it’s home to tons of cucumber fields, which are harvested during the summer. They range in taste from savory to sweet, and include ingredients like honey, sugar, and other spices.

If you really want to get the low down on the gurken, you can join a tour dedicated to pickles and their history.

The gurkens were my favorite treat, and we couldn’t go before tasting some creamy ice cream. We left just as the sun was setting. Caught the sky as it was turning pink over the fields.

Next time I visit, I would like to row during late spring or peak autumn foliage. Please set a day trip aside to visit if you’re in Berlin, perfect way to get transported into a fairy tale land.

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