North of Berlin, spanning the federal states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, is a watery land, with many lakes, waterways, canals and swamps, all surrounded by forests that are alive with the sound of birds and insects. Here you can find the Müritz National Park and the Rheinsberg Lake Region.
Last weekend and last year we visited this lovely place for canoeing. It’s possible to rent canoes and kayaks in and around Priepert, which only about an hour and a half from Berlin. You can canoe along peaceful canals, surrounded by forests and filled with lily pads, ducks and swans, or across larger lakes and waterways, which you share with larger boats of all kinds.
To cross between some areas you must go through locks, which is quite an experience when you’re in a small canoe or kayak and are sitting next to larger boats. We spotted boats from as far away as the Netherlands and Czech republic. Someone told us it’s possible to get all the way to the Baltic sea using the waterways. If it is possible, it looks like it would be quite a maze!
For those who are new to locks, as I was, it’s basically a way of solving the problem of going “uphill” in a boat. You sail your boat into a lock, which has gates on each side, and while you wait inside they either pump water in, so that you rise up and are at the level of the higher water on the one side, or pump water out so that you end up at the level of the lower water on the other side.
it’s quite a funny feeling to rise up while sitting in the boat. Normally there is a queue for the locks, so you sit and wait for a while for the ships from the other direction to pass through, and then are instructed when to enter the lock (big boats normally go first and little canoes or kayaks squeeze in afterwards).
When you’re boating along you will come across a number of places selling food and drinks, there are even some vendors in boats. One of the specialties in the area is smoked fish, and you can stop at a Raucherei (smokery) and buy a fishbrötchen (fish on a roll) containing smoked fish such as trout or salmon.
There’s no better way to experience a watery land than by being on the water. Here are a few more photos of this beautiful area.