Every Monday morning I board the S-bahn in Steglitz and head south of Berlin into Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg, to teach business English at a scientific institute. If I were to head east, west, or north of Berlin, I would also arrive in Brandenburg, the German state which completely surrounds the city-state of Berlin. The geographical division of the former Kingdom of Prussia that left Berlin as an island in the middle of Brandenburg doesn’t make much sense. But Brandenburgers are somehow different from Berliners, which is probably why they rejected a merger between the two states in 1996.

wanderungThe Berlin-Brandenburg region has dozens of beautiful lakes, many of which are just the right size for a day hike. Yesterday’s Wanderung was around Liepnitzsee, more than 60 kilometers north of Steglitz. It took some time to get there, but we had all afternoon for the 9 km hike around the lake and a lunch of stuffed peppers and goulash at the Jägerheim Ützdorf Hotel.

Our group of nine included people from Germany, the U.S., Argentina, and Peru. The Berlin-Brandenburg region is quite flat so hiking and holding a conversation at the same time is a lot easier than it was back in Montana. We’ve traded the rugged Rockies for a less dramatic, but still beautiful environment, and one without snow in the Spring! We’re looking forward to discovering more of the region’s lakes, but not before we make our first trip to Israel next week.