This is one of the older states, and tourist guides will always mention the founder Albrecht der Bär. I think it's the law, and you get thrown in jail if you don't bring it up. So we have, now you can file it under the who cares? department...The province itself surrounds Berlin on all sides, and soccerwise is pretty much subjugated by the past (and future) capital of Deutschland.

The town of BRANDENBURG is about 40km west of Berlin. Despite Albrecht der Bär founding the city, and building the cathedral some 850 years ago, things have been downhill since then. The Nazis switched the traditional industries over to military purposes, which assured that the city was flattened in WWII. And then the Commies continued the decline by filling it with polluting heavy industry. Potsdam has stolen it's spotlight since die Wende, but not in soccer. Two local clubs maintain a fierce rivalry, BSV Brandenburg and BSC Süd 05.

The small town of RATHENOW is about 50 miles west of Berlin. Nothing really to see here, although you could probably find a decent brewski somewhere before heading over to check out the local club, Optik Rathenow .

Head east from Berlin for some 70 miles on the E8, and you come to the city of FRANKFURT AN DER ODER. You'll probably wish you were on the Main river instead. There's basically nothing to see here, although I guess if you're a smoker, you can get cheap cigarettes by crossing the border into Poland. The local soccer club is FFC Viktoria Frankfurt. Some 20 miles south is the town of EISENHÜTTENSTADT. There is also nothing worth seeing,but the soccer is better, with Eisenhüttenstädtischer FC Stahl rivaling Mönchengladbach for the least liked team by non-German soccer reporters and folks trying to align the columns when typing the tables.

A good 100 miles southwest of Berlin, is one of the top attractions of Brandenburg, the Spreewald, which is full of rivers, streams, canals etc. Sort of like a mini-Venice without all the pollution. And since it covers some 1000 square kilometers, all paths leading to the Piazza San Marco aren't full of zillions of tourists. A nice place to relax and ride a gondola, and not have to listen to "O sole mio". Sooner or later you will be forced to try one of the famed Spreegurken, which is the local pickle. This is also the traditional home of Germany's own Slavic minority, the Sorbs. (ha! and you thought all Germany's minorities were recent Turkish imports!). The Sorbs have been living in this area for at least a thousand years, and have managed to maintain at least some of their language and culture. (The Sorbs, i.e. die Sorben are also known as Wendisch).

The only real city in this area (Niederlausitz) is COTTBUS, also known locally by it's Sorb name Chosebusz. There are the usual museums to be avoided, although some might be worth checking out. There is a 400 year old pharmacy called the Niederlausitzer Apotheke, which has a poison chamber. (aka as Löwenapotheke). The main reason to check out the city is of course it's soccer. The main club is Energie Cottbus, which is rapidly becoming one of the former GDR's strongest clubs. Strictly amateur, but highly enthusiastic, is SV Motor Saspow. If you're from Chicago, you should drive another 20km or so east to the Polish border and get your passport stamped, so that you can prove that you were in the old country...

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany :