Germany is my home country and my wanderlust tends to take me far and wide, while the area where I grew up stays unexplored. I came back to Germany last week not only to visit friends and family, but to use the opportunity to explore and re-discover my home country.
I grew up in a county in the Eastern part of Germany, called Brandenburg. My home town is Frankfurt. No, not the big Frankfurt you are thinking of, which is the financial center of Germany and is located much further West. No, the little Frankfurt that boarders on to Poland, a small town in the middle of nowhere that rarely gets the attention of travel guides or tourists for that matter. That’s where I am from. Brandenburg and the neighbouring counties are exactly what I have come to explore.
The Heathland Village Erlichthof
I was on my way to Görlitz, a beautifully historical town in Saxony, earlier this week when I came across a traditional heathland village in a place called Rietschen. The village (Erlichthof), which is now a tourist attraction, has been recreated to look like a traditional 19th century heathland village of the area. The complex consists of a number of large, dark wooden huts; an architectural style that is typical for this particular region and time.
Each of the huts exhibits a different trade or craft that would have been typical in a 19th century heathland village. You can watch the delicate and fascinating process of weaving, witness how a lump of clay is turned into a stunning piece of pottery or get lost in the flavours of hand-crafted chocolates. There is no entry fee for the village itself, only the museum and wolf exhibition charge a small fee.
The landscape surrounding the complex is ideal for hiking or cycling tours (the tourist info in the village offers bike rental). Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to explore the surroundings properly, but I’ve been told the picturesque ponds are well worth visiting.
The Wolf Exhibition
I have recently developed a fascination with wolfs and although I knew that they have started settling again in the Eastern part of Germany, I didn’t quite realise how many different packs there are in Saxony alone. You can imagine how excited I was about the wolf exhibition at the Erlichthof village! The exhibition helps visitors understand the behaviour of the wolf and how they interact with their surroundings. If you want to find out a little more about the animal, you can take a seat in the film room and watch videos about wolfs in several languages. The entry fee for the wolf exhibition is 1€ for adults and kids.
The Lusatian Cuisine
I love trying local cuisine where ever I go, but I was particularly excited to try some regional dishes at the “Forsthaus”, the restaurant located at the edge of the village. The restaurant offers a variety of hot dishes, snacks and cake.
Although this was only about two hours South from where I grew up, the menu featured a few local dishes that I wasn’t yet familiar with. One thing that really caught my attention was the cold cucumber soup, which can be served on its own or with a side of fish. I was tempted to try it, but eventually convinced by my belly to pick something a little more substantial. The menu offers plenty of meat and fish dishes, as well as vegetarian options. I particularly liked that most mains could be ordered as big or small portions (comes in handy when you want to try a few dishes). I love the variety of meats in German restaurants and since I like to order something that I don’t cook at home, I choose the wild boar steak with potato dumpling and red cabbage, accompanied by a juicy pear and berries. Boy was it delicious, the perfect symphony of flavours. At this point I’d like to share a picture with you, to show you just how good it looked, but unfortunately my belly got its way and I had finished the meal by the time I remembered to take a snap!