Berlin is infamous for its weather and not without a reason. If a weather channel on your phone shows sun, warmth and absence of rain in summer  – either it is wrong, or you are not in Berlin. If it still appears to be true, don’t expect this miracle to last for more than a day, or two.

That is why when I look out of my window and see sun and people in shorts, I run. Together with other 3.5 million Berliners, I run outside. I lie down on the grass in parks, sip a Radler on the Admiralbrücke and extend my outdoor brunches for hours, trying to fit on a tiny spot on a bench on a restaurant terrace, as competition for the sun in this city is tough.

This summer was an obvious exception (for Berlin standards) and as more sun meant more people outside, it seemed like the right time to explore alternative places for the weekend hangouts. Since proximity to Berlin was the only criteria, Brandenburg became an inevitable choice.

When you stay in a city like Berlin, it feels like there is little life outside. I’d heard about beauties of Brandenburg, numerous lakes and large forests, and I went on a guided hike in a Brandenburg forest once, but my experience was rather disappointing. I come from a land of deep forests with charmed paths with animal prints, and even though I do not expect to bump into a bear every two hundred meters, couple of wilder and less-populated tracks would still make a hike more exciting. However, now I tend to believe that I went to a wrong place, because our 2-day paddling trip proved that Brandenburg can be stunning.

The trip

All excited about the best paddling route in Brandenburg, we caught an early Saturday train, then a bus to Lychen, then a boat taxi with a rented boat to Feldberg. We had 2 days ahead to paddle 30 km and come back to Lychen:

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We were prepared for a trip well: tents and sleeping bags, food for 2 days with a portable grill (felt like we packed for a week), mosquito repellant, warm things … it was hard to believe that all this could fit into one narrow boat, but surprisingly, it did!

The trip was wonderful and the views were indeed breathtaking. But as it always happens during adventures, not everything went as we expected it to be … if you are brave enough for the same adventure, make sure that you avoid some of the challenges we had, unless you always prefer to pick a harder way:

#1 We were three people instead of five.

Even though less people doesn’t mean less fun, it meant a long and heavy boat for three in our case. Meet our boat:

The Boat

#2 We lost a seat from the boat on the way to the lake (don’t ask how)

So a steersman had to sit on a throne made out of food bags. However, it appeared to be  a much more comfortable spot than the rest and I enjoyed steering.

Paddling in Brandenburg

#3 8 (!) times we actually had to get out of water and carry the boat.

Normally, there are attachable wheels for that occasion, but we had the only boat on a way without them. Luckily, there were enough kind people around us to help and even to treat us with a cup of a herbal tee.

#4 One of those times we had to carry the boat for 3 km,

or to be more precise, to pull it. And here is how it looked:

Pulling the boat

Pulling the boat

#5 We slept in the forest.

It was our choice to avoid crowded camping sites and it was a real “nature” experience.

#6 In order to find a place to sleep in the forest, we had to paddle through two lakes in the dark.

Yes, finding an “entrance” to the forest from the lake was not that easy and we had to climb a tree to finally make it. But we made it and, moreover, watched a gorgeous sunset without a single human being nearby.

Gorgeous sunset

#7 The weather was not all that exciting in the end.

Still, we managed to swim in one of the lakes the first day and the water was so clear that we could see fish several meters below us.

Swimming in the lake

#8 Paddling for 2 days straight can appear to be not that easy!

But the views, emerald water, silence when there is no one else in the whole lake, wet forest with mushrooms smell, breathtaking sunsets and fishes jumping around will pay off for the physical effort made.

PS. Most of the pictures used in this post are made by talented Laura Rost