Early Boating Adventures
Papa Panknin and his wife, Elisabeth (1900 -1974), have been outdoor enthusiasts for as long as I can trace back their vacation activities. Bodies of water, be it the Baltic Sea, lakes, or the mighty rivers of Germany, had always exerted a magical attraction. So it is unsurprising to learn that their love of the great outdoors led them to camping trips, which often included boating adventures in their folding kayaks. Three events, spread over three decades, stand out as highlights for the Panknin family.
Established in 1907, the German boat manufacturing company Klepper is still building folding kayaks. Papa owned one of these floating marvels and took his wife and stepdaughter Elsbeth on an adventurous journey on the Danube from Passau to Vienna in 1939. Then the horrible World War II broke out and ended their idyllic lifestyle.
When content with the most primitive and essential camping gear, you can still enjoy nature at a very low cost. While living in the former German Democratic Republic under the control of the Soviet Union, my father-in-law and his family pulled a tent, camping utensils, and folding boat out of storage. They set up camp at the lovely meadows at the Saaldorf campground in Thuringia, near Gotha, Biene’s birthplace.