Easter weekend cycling from Havelberg to Waren (Müritz)

Easter came fairly late this year, and was warmer than usual, with sunshine and temperatures of about 20 degrees Celsius in our region of Germany. Over the 4-day Easter weekend, we spent two days doing a section of the Elbe Cycle path from Magdeburg to Havelberg, before aiming to join the Elbe-Müritz Cycle path (Elbe-Müritz Radweg) for the final two days. Where I last finished off, we’d just headed to bed in our tents at the campsite on the island in the Havel river at Havelberg, having enjoyed sitting around an Easter fire, a German Easter tradition.

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Two late-winter walks in Brandenburg

Temperatures shot up in Berlin and its surroundings in February, bringing a sudden end to winter. It’s possible that this is just a “Fool’s spring” as people call it, and the temperatures could drop again in March or April, but so far the warm weather is holding. Last weekend and this weekend we made use of the warmer weather to go for some day walks in Brandenburg. There are endless possibilities for nice walks in the countryside of Brandenburg, and you could do a different walk every weekend of the year without running out of options. Continue reading

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Canoeing on the Havel river: Pritzerbe to Hohennauener See via Rathenow

Good weather brings opportunities for weekend canoeing or biking trips. Somehow these trips are always the highlight of my year. Being constantly active during the day leaves no time for pondering over work stresses, and getting from one place to the next by your own horsepower is somehow very satisfying. Taking in the countryside and village scenery at a slow pace instead of racing from one destination to the next by car, train or plane like one usually does when travelling makes all the difference. Camping also brings you back to basics, and you realize that you actually don’t need many things to live quite happily. It also makes you appreciate luxuries like having your own bathroom and a soft bed when you get back home! There is also a thrilling sense of adventure when you set off for a trip with just a backpack and a tent, not knowing what the days ahead will hold. Continue reading

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All roads lead to Liepnitzsee

When hot summer days arrive, one of the popular weekend day trips for Berliners is to Liepnitzsee, a beautiful lake with aquamarine waters in the middle of beech and pine woods. People go by train, car or bike and as the last option is perhaps the most fun, over the years we’ve explored many different routes to the lake. In the beginning we tried cycling from Berlin or Bernau, and now we’ve started exploring other bike paths as there are so many scenic ones in the area. Both last weekend and the weekend before, friends invited us to cycle there, and we tried two different routes:

  1. From Oranienburg to Bernau via Liepnitzsee
  2. From Buch to Liepnitzsee, then past Wandlitzsee and Krumme Lanke to Bernau

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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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Brandenburg Bike rides: Fürstenberg/Havel to Templin

The state of Brandenburg around Berlin is a paradise for biking, and we’ve spent many a happy day riding through forests and countrysides, past lakes, villages and orchards. From Berlin you can catch a train to any of numerous towns that can act as a starting point and then with the help of google maps and signposts, find your way to another town from where you can take the train back to Berlin. This weekend we headed off to Fürstenberg with a friend who felt like going for a bike ride on her birthday. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #20 – Cambridge in spring

As Mani from A New Life Wandering says: Share your happiness! I find that the small things that make us happy every day are easily forgotten. This blog event is simply about remembering and sharing those small things that made you happy during the week.

Technically this is two week’s worth of small pleasures as the last two weeks have been quite busy and sort of rolled into one! We took a weekend trip to Cambridge, then I had to prepare a work presentation and poster, and we had our work retreat. Here were some of the highlights of the last two weeks. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #17 – Berlin and Brandenburg

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Small Pleasures, Mani’s blog event where you take note of the little things during the week that bring you happiness. After spending the whole week working inside a biosafety level 3 facility, the weekend was a good chance to get some sun and some time outdoors. We had great weather in Berlin this weekend, and spent Saturday walking around the city of Berlin and Sunday cycling in the surrounding countryside of Brandenburg.

Our first stop on Saturday morning was the Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg, an indoor market where you can enjoy different foods such as English pies, Italian cheeses, German cakes, Spanish tapas as well as craft beers, coffee and ice-cream. a good coffee is always a pleasure. After that we took a long walk around Berlin. My favourite part was the pretty and charming area around the Nikolaiviertel. After a brief stop at home we headed off again to check out the blossoms at Bornholmer Strasse and continued walking by the railway tracks right up until Pankow.

On Sunday we went for a bike ride on the Panoramaweg, as it is Baumblütenfest time. We enjoyed cycling in the countryside through villages, orchards and countryside and trying the fruit wines along the way.

Other pleasures of the week were the fact that it’s getting light later now, the temperatures shot up, ending the cold spell of the week before, and we are having blue skies more regularly.

Check out A new life wandering blog to see what other people enjoyed this week.

Wishing everyone a good week ahead!

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #13 – Christmas market season

Last Sunday was the first Advent, and so the Christmas season has started. So many Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkten) to visit, and not enough weekends! This time of year always flies by very quickly as there is always a lot to finish off at work before the holidays, including planning for the new year so that things run smoothly upon returning to work, as well as  presents to find, cookies to bake, Christmas decorations to put up and Christmas markets to visit. There are a large variety of Christmas markets in Berlin, ranging from traditional ones, touristy ones, design, modern or “hipster” ones, to the country specialty markets (Nordic Christmas market, Dutch Christmas market) and the unusual ones (Japanese Christmas market). Some of them are open the whole season, whereas others are only open for one weekend. Here is a map of the markets in Berlin for 2015, here is a description of a few of the traditional ones we visit every year (not all inclusive!),  and here is a list of more unusual ones to visit.

So here are some of the good moments from this Christmassy week. Continue reading

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