Returning to Berlin was wonderful. Just like coming home should be like, with good friends it feels as if you have never been away. After two weeks of meeting friends and family, enjoying a clean place to stay, eating loads of food I missed while travelling, going running, hanging out on a barbecue boat, I had to go back into the nature and some physical activity. So it was time to tick off another item from my bucket list, biking the Berlin Wall Trail. The trail follows the course of the former GDR border fortifications encircling West Berlin along a total of around 160 kilometers. It was the perfect opportunity to reconnect with Berlin, today’s Berlin and the Berlin of my childhood, spending time in nature, rediscovering history, spending time with a good friend while not having to travel again as we start and end right in the middle of Berlin.
After a night of heavy thunderstorms, Peggy and I meet nevertheless at the Brandenburg Gate. Built in the 18th century by Prussian King Frederick William II, it’s today the symbol for Germany’s reunification.
Then we are off for our 80km today, to start with right in the middle of the city, turning over and over again as the border was of course not following straight lines. Pavements show again and again where the border was until 1989. When I was a child, Germany was still separated and it’s hard to believe how much happened since and how much Germany changed in the last 25 years!
The East Side Gallery features for more than 1km the original pieces of the wall – repainted by artists from 21 different countries. Even though this part in the city is interesting, I am very happy once we arrive at the outskirts of Berlin and into the nature. A big portion of the Berlin Wall Trail is now in the middle of forests, nature reserves and about 80% of the trail is well paved and easy to bike. Not much elevation, Berlin is so flat, our highest hills aren’t higher than some 120m 😉 [What can I say – that’s why I think about moving to the Alps, but Berlin is where my friends and family are – what to do?].
Peggy and I still have so much to chat about that time flies by. We take a few shorts rests, some sandwiches for lunch and a well deserved ice-cream. The weather is much better than expected and the sun comes out every now and then, making us sweat and become sun tanned.
Quite early we arrive in Potsdam and so we decide that instead of taking the ferry to the other side of the lake, we take the longer tour around, biking. In the small town of Alt-Glienicke we booked a room in a hotel and so we enjoy a shower, a wonderful dinner at a greek restaurant and sleep very early.
The next morning we start at 9am, the weather is not ideal again but luckily there will only a few short showers today. My butt is not that happy to be sitting again on a bike but after the first few kilometers it’s getting better. It’s Saturday and so we meet a lot more people than yesterday, other bikers, runners,…
At one of the few remaining watch towers we are lucky, it’s open for a visit and 2 volonteers provide us with a lot of information. The tower is well preserved as it was only built 2 years before the wall came finally down.
We continue and in general, today is a bit more challenging, maybe because I am tired after yesterday’s effort (and not having been on a bike much the last 12 months) but also the trail is not as well paved and not as straightforward. It has still many beautiful forest section and our lunch stop feels almost like a beach stop with the sand all around us.
Suddenly we are already back in town, now in Peggy’s “hood” and so we take a final stop for a coffee and cake before braving the last 10km to the Brandenburg Gate. We are kissed and congratulated by a funny green guy and take some finisher pictures before saying goodbye to each other. It’s another 14km back home today, to a well needed shower and relaxation.
Now I have to admit that again I have shamelessly stolen some of the pictures from Peggy. Still no camera. Visit her blog at https://auszeitaufreisen.wordpress.com/author/auszeitaufreisen/