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SITA World Tours: Germany's Wood Wide Web

When you ask folks about Germany, they often still mention the Berlin Wall, and reference 20th century calamities. Folks in the here and now quote her major cities, rich architecture mix, industrial capability, hip museums, cars and the Autobahn. And there are castles, orderliness, punctuality, beer. But did you know that one third of Germany is covered by forest?

Germans have long had a mythological identification with their forest. In German literature, the forest has often been portrayed as a place of happiness and contentment where people feel protected from social pressures and the chaos of everyday life. Hermann Hesse comments: "A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home." Prussian poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff expressed how the forest embodied freedom and the idea of home: "Gentle rustling in the treetops - Little birds flying afar - Springs bursting from silent peaks - Tell me where my homeland lies."

Towards the end of the 18th century, Romanticism became a dominant theme in poetry, painting and music including in the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. The forest is the stage: Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolf, Hansel and Gretel are abandoned, four mistreated animals become the Town Musicians of Bremen. German Romanticism also stylized the forest as a symbol of unity. The forest is more than the sum of its trees. It is a central part of German identity and culture that today is becoming a defining symbol of a sustainable future.

So here is your question: how can I incorporate a forest experience into my Germany visit. And where would one find such experiences for my itinerary? The short answer is contact your travel agent. Forest excursions exist in many locations, too many to list here. However, allow us to introduce you to two such experiences.

Sixty miles south east of Berlin is the Spree Forest, a water meadow setting that has managed to stay largely natural in spite of centuries of human activity. The UNESCO World Heritage listed Spree Forest Biosphere Reserve mixes a mosaic of meadows, fields and forests with waterways. Ideal for a variety of plant and wildlife, a visit also highlights the customs and traditional costumes of the Slavic Sorbs minority living here. One-day or multiple-day visits can be included in any itinerary. The area and waterways allow for bikes, canoe or very enjoyable, traditional Spree Forest barge travel.

About 60 miles south west of Cologne (35 miles from Bonn) we will find the Waldakademie (forest academy) Wohlleben in the small town of Wershofen. Think of Peter Wohlleben as Germany's tree whisperer. Wohlleben is operating at the forefront of modern forest research. The academy provides guided tours and overnight adventures in the protected, adjacent forest reserve familiarizing the visitor with the emerging understanding of how trees communicate with each other through their root- network, warn and protect each other from danger, and look after their off-spring. Germany is open again and her people will welcome you. Contact your travel agent for your special Germany itinerary.

Our passion at SITA World Tours is travel. We have successfully serviced our clientele for 88 years. Our focus includes sustainable travel experiences and the building of cultural connections.

Contact your Travel Advisor today to plan your future forest foray with SITA World Tours