Camping and canoeing on the River Havel: Fürstenberg to Burgwall

It’s been a rainy, relatively cool summer in Berlin, but luckily last weekend some sunny weather arrived, so we headed off to Brandenburg for some canoeing and camping adventures involving goats, swing dancing and raclette. For those who may not know, Brandenburg is the large state surrounding Berlin (Berlin is a separate state, or Bundesland in German), and it’s full of beautiful countryside, forests, lakes, rivers and waterways. North of Brandenburg is the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which is also a boat-lovers paradise, has beautiful nature, and borders the Baltic sea (Ostsee). We decided to start our trip in Fürstenberg, located at the southern edge of the Mecklenburg Lake District, about 75km from Berlin. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #34 – Work hard, play hard

So summer never arrived this year, but luckily we got at least a little taste of warm weather on our weekend trip to Belgium (stay tuned for that blog post) and our road trip down to Italy and France (also coming soon!). Now it’s back to rainy Berlin, and last week was extremely busy at work, but as always there were some good moments, and in Mani’s weekly blog event “Weekly Small Pleasures“, we try to remember those!

Here are this week’s small pleasures: Continue reading

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European roadtrip 2

Two years ago we did a late summer road trip through Slovenia and Croatia, starting in the Czech Republic. We enjoyed it so much that this summer we are taking another road trip, this time south to Cinque Terre and Cote d’Azur in France. We’re keen to see some of the famously beautiful towns of Germany that we haven’t visited yet, such as Freiburg and Heidelburg. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #33 – Monsoon summer

So far, this is the rainiest summer I’ve spent in Berlin. My first few summers here were good, so last year I was already surprised when June was cold and rainy. This year the cool and rainy weather continued into July, with quite a few days where it bucketed down. Sometimes it was cool and rainy, sometimes warm and rainy with thunderstorms. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #32 – Roses and burrs

If I haven’t been posting lately, it’s because not much has been happening. That said, nothing happening is probably a good thing, taking into account all the bad news lately worldwide.

I still want to write a post about our hiking trip to the Alps in May, but I have to sort out all of my photos first. Anyway, for now, I thought I’d have a quick catch up over a Weekly small pleasures post. Weekly small pleasures as you probably know by now, is Mani’s blog event where you try to remember the good things that happened during the week. This is an easy way to be grateful for what you have and to focus on the good. Continue reading

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Mud-walking in the Wadden Sea

 

The Wadden Sea stretches across parts of the northern coastline of the Netherlands and Germany, and even to part of Denmark. In Dutch it is called Waddenzee and in German, Wattenmeer. The curious thing about the Wadden Sea is that it is so shallow that at low tide you can walk across it! This involves walking through a lot of mud, and a guide is essential as they can judge the depth of the water and how soon it will become too deep. Luckily for the Dutch, they are tall!

Some years ago I visited friends in the Netherlands, and they booked a guided tour in Friesland (a province in the north) to do some mud-walking (Wadlopen). I think they might have booked the guide through this organization. The whole sea does not have mud underneath, of course, and some point you get to more sandy ground, but the initial section is indeed very muddy. Before the tour we went to town to buy some cheap shoes, as my friends said the shoes might get so dirty that you would never be able to wear them again. In the end the mud did come off though, and I kept the shoes in case I ever go Wadlopen again! Continue reading

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Notes from the Czech countryside – June, the red month

In Czech, June is called červen, which might be related to the word červený, meaning red. Another theory is that červen could come from červ (worm), because the cochineal larvae used for making red dye were around in early summer. Apparently they are now almost all extinct. Either way, June is a red month. The red poppies are out in all the fields and some of the red fruits (cherries, strawberries) are ripe too.

Continue reading

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Roadtripping from Namibia to Cape Town: our 1-week itinerary

In December we flew to Windhoek, Namibia, on KLM’s new flight route which stops over in Luanda, Angola. The idea was to do a week-long roadtrip down to Cape Town, where we would spend Christmas. To get around Namibia it’s definitely best to have a car, as it’s a big country and the distances between sights are vast. Renting a car gives you the freedom to plan your route as you like, and if you want to drive south, it’s possible to return the car at Cape Town international airport with some companies. Continue reading

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Crunchies (a South African biscuit)

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of many German foods and drinks: Lebkuchen (and all the other Christmas cookies), Stollen, marzipan, anything with Holunder (elderflower), Knödel (dumplings), rye bread, quark, Mohnkuchen (poppyseed cake), Bergkäse (a smokey cheese), Mandelhörnchen (an almond confectionary), and so on. But as an expat, sometimes you just feel like eating something from home. As a result, every now and then my mother gets emails asking for recipes for things we used to make, and my latest craving is for Crunchies, an oaty baked square that is great for a quick breakfast or in-between snack. I honestly didn’t realize it was a South African thing until I noticed you can’t find them anything else. The closest thing we ate to them outside of SA was in the UK, and it was also good, but not as crunchy and a bit sweeter.

Here is the recipe she sent: (complete with her notes) Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #31 – Spring things

It’s the little things that keep you going. Weekly small pleasures is Mani’s blog event where you share the things that made you happy during the week and I have to say that the last few weeks it has been very simple things which have made me happy:  the birds starting to sing again, the wind rustling the newly formed leaves on trees that were bare for months, the smell of rain, the spring flowers, the increased light hours. Continue reading

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