I couldn’t help myself, I simply had to share this picture with you. I found it on the news page of the biggest German tv channel ARD (their news program is called Tagesschau). The picture shows a German policeman being transported by boat on canal, probably a branch of the river Spree which runs through Brandenburg and Berlin.
What struck me about this picture is the juxtaposition of the policeman in his very modern uniform (you see I grew up with German policemen dressed in green) and the barge(wo)man dressed in traditional attire. Boats are the standard form of transportation in the Spreewald region, even the post is delivered by boat here. The policeman checks out the routes for a planned visit of the new Federal President Frank Walter Steinmeier to the region.
A lot of people don’t know that we have, amongst other minorities, a Slavic minority in Germany called Sorbs or Wends. This Slavic minority has nothing to do with other Slavic people living in Germany like Polish, Russian people or people from other former USSR states. The Sorbs or Wends (I always thought they were different -for lack of a better word- tribes but Wikipedia tells me otherwise) have been living in eastern parts of Germany since the 6th century, so basically before Germany even existed. The majority of the ca. 70.000 Sorbs are German citizens and in addition to speaking German they speak Sorbian which is why you will find town signs like this (see below) in Sorbian areas (mostly in Brandenburg and Saxony):
The “Picture of the Week” was taken in the Spreewald region which is one of the areas highly populated by Sorbs. This region is also famous for pickles. The Spreewald Gurke (Spreewald gherkin) is rightly protected by the EU as a Protected Geographical Indication. If you never had one of these famous gherkins – your loss! They are so famous that a high quantity of the gherkins produced each year is exported to places as far away as Australia. So, if you are into pickles and gherkins, make sure to get your hands on some Spreewald Gurken (they actually exist as mustard gherkins, pickles, dill pickles or pickled cucumber – so from salty to almost sweet, you can get them in which ever form you like). You can also visit the area and try them where they’ve been produced. You can hire houseboats and sail down the Spree and some of her branches – the landscape is apparently to die for. It has been on my bucket list for quite a while!
BTW Fischbrötchen (which means fish roll) is the name of my turtle! In case you’re interested 😉
Header picture from here Source dpa
Town sign pic from Wikipedia
Spreewald pictures from here