Spreewald Boating & Camping Experience

Spreewald meaning the “Woods of Spree” is located near Lubbenau town around 100 Km southeast of Berlin. Located in the German state of Brandenburg, Spreewald is famous for the labyrinth of the water channels which represent the traditional irrigation system consisting of more than 200 small and narrow canals which cover a length of over 1300 Km.

These canals cover an irrigational area of around 500 Sq. Km in total in the Spreewald region. According to geologists, the low-lying irrigational area of Spreewald was formed during the ice-age. Because of the labyrinth of the canals, Spreewald has grown into a major tourist attraction being famous for cycling, canoeing, kayaking, and taking boat rides.

Spreewald is mainly characterized by the ancient forest in the marshlands and low-lying areas whereas the dry land will mostly have the pine trees and meadows can also be found very well. Just like Sundarbans in India, people in Spreewald heavily depend on the tourism. Besides tourism, they also depend mostly on the agriculture, forestry, and fishery.

How to reach Spreewald from Berlin?

Since most of the people in the European countries would have their own cars, they mostly drive from Berlin to Spreewald. However, if you are a tourist, you might not be able to afford a car to the Spreewald from Berlin. The main railway station in that area is Lübbenau(Spreewald) and you can get a direct regional train from Berlin to Lübbenau(Spreewald). This train takes around an hour from Berlin to Lübbenau(Spreewald).

If you have booked a hotel in advance, some of the hotels also offer free pick up and drop service from Lübbenau(Spreewald) railway station. However, most of the hotels are situated closer to the railway station.

Boating & Camping in the Spreewald:

Boating & camping are one of the two mostly done recreational activities in the Spreewald. There would be an area dedicated for the boating and the camping. For camping, you will have to pay some amount to pitch your own tent. There would usually be a common restroom area where you can go to the toilet, brushing, and the morning business.

People on camping usually like to do barbecue and make their own food. For the same purpose, people bring all the stuff in the car including beer, bread, water, sausage etc. While on camping, they prepare their own food and enjoy. There would also be a dedicated campfire area as well.

The boating is mostly done in a form of canoeing or kayaking. If you want you can also take the big boat which gives you a tour of the Spreewald area but along the main canal. Since the big boat is bigger, it cannot fit into the smaller canals.

Since we were in a group of 5 people, we went off two kayaks with a capacity of two and three persons respectively. Since kayaks are smaller in size, you can even further explore the narrower canals. People camping in the Spreewald would usually rent kayaks or cycles and explore the area during the day. In the night, they party.

Spreewald is also famous for pickles and it’s traditional cultures. If you want to explore more and get a feel of the tradition keep an eye on the German festivals and Spreewald area news.

Bastei Bridge Hiking, Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany

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The best way to get closer to Nature is to walk through it, live it, and spend some time in it. I don’t know why this place has got “Switzerland” in its name but I must say that hiking in the Saxon Switzerland National Park is not lesser than seeing Switzerland itself.

Saxon Switzerland National Park is situated at the border of Germany and Czech Republic. You can say that Saxon Switzerland National Park is adjacent to its extension in the Czech Republic known by the name Bohemian Switzerland National Park.

I am not much of a history expert but if I guess the term Saxon and Bohemian are there because this part of the national park is in Saxony region of Germany. And, Bohemian is there because of Bohemian rulers in Czech republic if I am not wrong.

How to reach Bastei Bridge from Berlin?

If you want to reach the Saxon Switzerland National Park from Berlin, you can take a regional express train also known as EC (the trains red in color) to Kurort Rathen railway station. These trains are available from Berlin main railway station also known as Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

It takes around three hours to reach Kurort Rathen railway station. Alternatively, you can also come to Dresden, the capital city of the free state of Saxony and take a local train from there. Once you reach the Kurort Rathen railway station, get down there and catch a ferry across the river Elbe and get down on the other side of the river and start hiking towards the Bastei Bridge peak. It is a very small hike. The total distance that you walk is around 1.5 Km which takes around one hour to reach the peak or the Bastei Bridge view point.

More about Bastei Bridge and Saxon Switzerland National Park:

Saxon Switzerland National Park has a rocky terrain and canyon landscape. This area is famous for the sandstone. Though not much above the sea level but still it offers a very beautiful view of the area around like the river Elbe (especially the curve of the river Elbe), rocky terrain and fissures, a remote hamlet, large farms, chains of hills, very dense and green forest on the hiking way.

The hiking starts after you cross the river Elbe. If you happen to travel from Berlin to Prague by train, it is river Elbe along which the train runs most of the times. The view is really spectacular most of the times. There are some small shops where we bought French fries before starting our hike. Once you leave the village, the hike goes along a small canal and after some time once you step into the forest, you can see fern groves all around and even the old lying logs.

trying to go for a hike on a clear day so that you can see distance. If possible, stay there until the sunset. Though the timing is set for the hiking so make sure if you can stay there until the sunset. During the sunset, the setting sun rays reflect the Bastei bridge sandstone and they also flash over the top of the trees which make it even more beautiful.

Moreover, the oak and maple trees make it overall very much more beautiful. Bastei Bridge is famous because of it is a bridge constructed over two cliffs and it used to be a part of the castle at the top. This bridge is still intact and forms a nice viewpoint because both sides of the valley can be seen from the bridge.

Viewpoints around Bastei Bridge:

There are a lot of viewpoints set up at the different peaks. you can hike to 2-3 viewpoints easily in a day if you love hiking. Here are a list of the viewpoint and peak in the Saxon Switzerland National Park around Bastei Bridge.

  • Bastei Bridge
  • Castle Ruins, Neurathen
  • Ferdinandstein and,
  • Felsenbühne Rathen

Vatican City: Strange Facts & Visiting Tips

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Vatican City seemed as cryptic as walking into a mysterious zone where every inch of the foothold holds some stories. When I was a child I came to knew that Vatican city was the world’s smallest country. Just imagine how had that be like to imagine visiting the smallest country in the world?

Enter into Rome and the most of the tourists just want to go to the Vatican city. I was a no exception. Also, I had no expectation of seeing some barrier or kind of wired fencing around the Vatican city. As I grew up, I had already come to that Vatican city is a kind of place where the Pope lives and it is more like a sacred country.

When you reach nearer to the Vatican City, you see a large fort wall. And that’s the wall which separates a country from a city. Astonishing, is not it? Do not undermine the strength of the Vatican city in terms of the administration and facilities. It has every basic entity which a country needs to be run properly.

Also read: St. Thomas basilica church, Santhome

On another note, if I had to compare Vatican City, I would compare it with the Gosaba island in the Sundarbans but that would be far-related and weird. Moreover, Gosaba island is secluded even though it has a whole municipality of its own.

Some strange facts about Vatican City:

  • Vatican city has its own barracks but that’s for the Swiss Guards which were hired by Pope Julius-three as the mercenary force.
  • Vatican City has a Television Center. Wonder, from where the live telecast and the message of the Pope come from.
  • Vatican city also has other facilities like a super store, Drug store, post office, railway station, Greenhouses, English Gardens, Library, Colleges, Radio station, Italian Garden, Guest house, Audience hall etc.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peters Square occupy more than one-tenth of the total area of the Vatican City Alone.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is believed to be sitting atop a city of the dead. The story goes like this: There was a great fire in Rome in A.D. 64. During that time, the emperor of the Rome was Emperor Nero. Trying not to take the blame on himself, instead, he blamed Christians of the fire. So, to take the revenge, he also burnt them alive in the same fire. St. Peter, after whom the basilica and the square have been named was also one among the victims. St. Peter was one of the most profound disciples of Jesus Christ. Later, when the Christianity was declared as the official religion of Rome, a basilica was made atop the same blaze.
  • Vatican City even before being declared as a sacred area was already being treated as a sacred area.
  • During the second world war, even though the Italy was an integral member of the war, Vatican City expressed a neutrality in the war. The neutrality was waged to such an extent that even if Rome be bombarded, Vatican City, lying almost in the center of the Rome, should not be touched.
  • Unlike citizenship of other states, which is based mostly on the place of birth, citizenship of Vatican City is granted on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See. It usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment. Citizenship is extended also to the spouse, parents, and descendants of a citizen provided they are living with the person who is a citizen.

Other tips to visiting the Vatican City:

  • Vatican City will mostly be crowded on a clear day. So, I am not extrapolating when I say, beware of the pick- pockets.
  • As I mentioned in the beginning that every inch of the sacred land holds some mystery, plus, as a tourist, you would also be allowed not to visit some of the secluded and parked areas, so it is always better to hire a guide.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is a must. Do not forget to go inside the church as well as on the dome top of the church.
    From the top, you get to see the most of the remaining part of the Vatican city. The view of the St. Peter’s square will just be mesmerizing
  • Also, visit inside the church. It is decorated with a lot of paintings including some of the most famous paintings.

Some of the pictures from the Vatican City:

Traveling Experience in Italy: Mystery And History

When I began planning my trip around Europe, Italy was the first country where I flew to. Somewhere in my mind, Italy wore one of those iconic beauties seeing which I have grown up. Italy reminds me of certain peculiar things which are deeply associated with me:

Ancient Architecture in Italy:

If Egypt & Jordan come first into my mind about the Pale ancient architecture like Pyramid, Petra and Roman Theatre then surely, Rome (and maybe Greece) comes into my mind with those magnificent white ancient & medieval buildings of Pisa, Churches in Europe (Also called by as Basilicas) and ancient architecture from the roman times. If you are really interested in knowing about these things, visit Palatine hill and Roman Forum in Rome.

Roman Forum in Noon

Roman Forum in Noon

Mystical Hollywood Movies Related to Myths and the medieval time war movies:

Be it Angels & Demons, Inferno, Lawrence of Arabia, 300 or Gladiator all the movies reminds me of the Romans. There was a church near the Palatine hill. I never expected that there would be a really beautiful church inside it. I have even visited the churches in the Europe.

I remember when I was inside the Berlin Cathedral Church in Germany and I had visited the Hohenzollern Crypt. They really look mysterious. Another time, I had visited a catholic church in Bamberg and the music being played was really mystical. If you really want to feel your connection with the mystery then go and visit the Vatican city. It’s a totally different experience.

Crypt Berlin cathederal church (3)

Crypt Berlin cathederal church (3)

A similar feeling goes for the Colosseum. It reminded me of the Gladiator movie. I almost imagined what would that had been like to fight like a Gladiator in that arena.

Mafia and GodFather:

I remember when I first landed in Rome, everywhere I saw, I was trying to decode a mafia in everyone who had a suspectical face with a mustache. The suspicion almost doubles up when they arrive in an old car or you are walking through a lonely street.

We were looking for a cheap hotel in Rome and we booked it little off from the main town beside a metro station. When we arrived the hotel, just outside the hotel, I enjoyed looking at the people and trying to pin a guess at them.

The land of romance:

Paris is not overrated but Italy, as a country, is surely underrated in terms of Romance. Try a Gondola ride in Venice or go for cycling on the romantic route in Italy. Or spend some time in Tuscany.

Italy has a little Indian in it or Vice Versa:

I can even prove that. So after a quite some time in Germany when I landed in Italy, I found that Italians did not follow the rules as much as the Germans. So, I was on my way to the Vatican City I guess. There was a red signal across the road but even there a little movement of the vehicle on the road but I found Italians were just like us. Look on the both sides of the road and just cross it if you feel you would be safe for next five seconds.

Based on my Stay in Italy and seeing different places, here a few things that I would suggest you do in Italy:

  • Visit Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine hill in Rome
  • Spend some time in Venice. If possible take an island tour and watch the sunset
  • Take a train from Venice to Vienna. This journey offers a lot of scenic beauty to relish.
  • Eat Italian dishes. Try Pizza with wine. You would love that.

Roman Forum Photo Blog

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