Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bindow and Berlin with Stefan

Thomas and Amy with the Berlin Wall 
We were so happy to be able to have a good few days chilling in Bindow and Berlin with Stefan. The place was everything I had remembered, even better being there with Amy. We were hosted amazingly by Stefan, with our own private quarters with river views and all. Sigrid, my 'German Mother' outdid herself with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of good beer, great food and even better company.

Our memories might have faded a bit, as it is now December, but my taste-buds remember well. It was a few days of all types of German sensations. The traditional welcome breakfast platter of meats, cheeses, breads and spreads blew Amy away, as it does with anyone on their first visit. What it also does, is set you up with the perfect base to lay out the rest of your German indulgences for the day. For us, a casual Sunday trip into Berlin it was. Alexanderplatz, with a Beatles cover band, our first Doner Kepab and a beer, which we carried around the streets with us, to wash it down. We cruised around and took in the sights on a absolutely splendid day.

Gabby, Stefan and Amy in Berlin
Later in the week, Amy and I returned for another look around Berlin. We were very chuffed with ourselves that we had successfully navigated the public transportation system right from Bindow all the way to the Hauptbahnhof in Berlin, where my limited German came in quite handy. We did a free walking tour of the city, enjoying the usual tales and tribulations of a city rich in history, although dark at times. I was particularly impressed with a small brew pub we happened upon at the end of our tour. One thing we noticed at this point with German brewery's was a lack of choice. No problems though, we are in Germany after all! A Pilsner, Helles, Kolsh or Weiss will do, whichever one they have. Whatever one they did have, it was good! After all, they have been making it that way for hundreds of years, and I'm cool with that!

Our beloved curry-wurst and 'pommes'
What better way to top off a day in the city, than to enjoy some more of that great 'Körber Hospitality'. On request, we had schnitzel- a lot of schnitzel! We were welcomed back to Sigrid's house with a full basket of beers and of course we were provided with the matching glassware for whichever particular beer we chose. Call it being German, call it perfection, whatever, we love it. Amy also loved that Sigrid compared her to looking like Kate Middleton, probably the highest compliment a girl can receive. Now this was the longest dinner we have ever been involved in and despite the usual communication limitations, we ate, talked, drank, talked some more and ate some more, with a couple more drinks. Sitting on the back veranda on a long summer's evening, watching the sun set through the forest with friends and family, tasty food & beverage and conversations involving elaborate hand gestures. This was seven hours of social perfection!

Keeping it local and casual we really were able to enjoy the fruits of the beautiful little village of Bindow. We took the pedal paddle boat right from our back doorstep up the river on a beaming day. We were lucky to meet Gabby, Stefan's girlfriend who had come in from the Czech Republic, and spent the weekend with us. Man, did she know how to throw together a mojito! Good way to start the boat ride. We paddled a kilometer or so upriver to the lake, where we anchored a safe distance from the aging nudists and swam and had a beer. Stopping for riverside ice cream on the return. As Gabby would say, as is a saying in Czech Republic, ah Americaaaaa! Once back on land, we each took a bike and rode down the unpaved streets to the local beach on the lake. We had another nice chilled day enjoying a little community festival that was going on.  We got sausages and beer, played beach volleyball, met some nice locals and enjoyed some techno music in the sun. 

Thomas with the impressive gateway to one of the schlosses
Our last day before heading south for the wedding, we picked up our rental car and took a little day trip to Potsdam to check out all the old royal-ness and gardens. I had been many years ago with a big Devo/Körber posse, but it was great to discover some more. Exploring the extensive grounds and stumbling upon the most glorious castles and palaces. Very, very cool indeed. A country and people that never disappoint, we had the most amazing time in Brandenburg and we had only just started in Germany. Thanks to my German family for having us!!!

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