The Spreewald

Travel time: September 2001  |  by Anne Pofcher

I Get My Kahn Ride

The next day I decided to take a walk to Wodshofska. If I haven't spelled it correctly, I'm close. It was a wet walk, which I guess by now is no surprise. I haven't mentioned that the waterways are shallow and dark and act like perfect mirrors reflecting the trees and greenery. It was a sunless day, but the sight was still beautiful. It must look really extraordinary on a brighter day. I walked under the leafy trees and was partially shielded from the torrent. Even so, by the time I reached Wodshofska I felt soggy, cold and weary.

Usually the Kahn boats make a stop here and let the people out at the restaurant. The hundreds of outdoor chairs were empty, and the restaurant was closed but they let me in anyway. I ordered a hot drink, and while I didn't necessarily enjoy the solitude of being the sole guest in the large inn I accepted the way it was as a part of the larger travel adventure. The days don't have to be perfect, but uniquely mine, I reminded myself.

The decor was old fashioned and rustic. I could have done without the mounted stag heads that stared with their glass eyes from different corners of the room.

From the weather reports the entire country was being drenched. Sadly I put aside my original plans to visit the Harz Mountains. I thought it just wouldn't be worth it.

At least the rain let up as I walked back to L├╝bbenau. When I reached the harbor I saw a Kahn Captain selling tickets for a two hour ride. I was so excited. After all how could I leave without a ride on the you know what?

It was cold and the boats had blankets to make us more comfortable. On the tables were little bottles of Spreewald liquors. The flavors were blackberry, St. Johannisbeer (who knows what it means but it tasted good) and herbs (my least favorite but not at all bad). The driver stood at the back of the boat and pushed a pole into the water to move us along. He told jokes that I didn't understand but everyone else laughed and I felt jovial along with them. We sailed past homes with their mailboxes perched by the water. One of the main crops of the Spreewald is cucumbers, and you could see them for sale in baskets, or bottled in jars as jam.

I regret my decision not to buy a tacky cucumber key chain from the souvenier shop. At the time I couldn't imagine even owning one, but actually where would I find one of these collectors items outside of the Spreewald?

Our one stop was Lehde, with it's authentic Sorbian house that served as a museum. If you pay to go inside you can observe a prototype of the traditional Sorbian home. The Spreewald is populated with many of its original inhabitants, the Sorbs, a native Slavic population. For the sake of the tourists, or maybe it's for real, there are women who wear traditional Sorbian dresses. They are a curious sight as they punt their Kahns down the waterways.

Besides a couple of cafes and the Sorbian house I couldn't find anything else to do. I didn't want to go in but walked around the grounds, enjoying the few pricks of sun that we got in Lehde.

The Spreewald is a protected biosphere of rare plants and animals. We saw a lot of ducks but I would have liked to see some of the rare birds and mammals that supposedly make the forest their home. I imagine that the longer rides of seven or eight hours go deeper into the forest and show more of the unexpected.

There are some places that I've seen and don't care if I return. This is one place I hope to visit again.

As a postscript: The morning that I had to catch my flight back to the U.S. was a glorious sunny day.

© Anne Pofcher, 2003
You are here : Overview Europe Germany I Get My Kahn Ride
The trip
My 2001 trip to Germany, in particular the protected biosphere called the Spreewald. This trip also included Naumberg an der Saale and Eisleben, particularly my overnight at the newly rebuilt Kloster Helfta.
Start of journey: Sep 05, 2001
Duration: 15 days
End of journey: Sep 19, 2001
Travelled countries: Germany
The Author
Anne Pofcher is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 21 years.