Berlin to Copenhagen – Stage 01 – Berlin to Oranienburg 55 Km (Sun 11-Jun-17)
Weather: 20⁰C min – 28⁰C max, fine and sunny
“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu
Feeling fit and fresh after my three day sojourn in Berlin, I set off enthusiastically this morning headed in a northerly direction on my 13 day ride to Copenhagen. Adding to my excitement was the sight of a clear blue sky and a forecast maximum temperature of 28 degrees, perfect for riding.
The Berlin-Kopenhagen cycle route that I am following is an official bike path built by Danish and German tourism agencies, as detailed in the website BIKEWAYBERLIN. The route comprises three main stages:
Being early Sunday morning there were few cars or people around as I wound around the quiet back streets and paths of Berlin until I came to a cafe at Potsdamer Platz, time to stop for my normal breakfast of baguette and cappuccino.
The cycle path that followed the river as I left Berlin was up to the normal German standard. How peaceful it was cruising along with the fast-flowing, clean river on one side and delightful backyard gardens on the other side. Some families were seated around outdoor tables enjoying Sunday morning breakfast together.
Just out of Berlin I came to a small town where my alertness went up a couple of notches when I saw several polizia on motor bikes with their blue lights flashing. What could have happened? Surely not another incident? Answers to these questions came shortly when a mass of cyclists came over the bridge, waving to the onlookers and dinging their bike bells. Last night while we were having our last cup of tea and chat Klaus had told me about the mass rally today, with many thousands of cyclists expected to gather in Berlin from all around the country.
Today’s route mostly followed a series of canals, rivers and lakes, but also took me through forests of tall pine trees. Nearly all the paths were sealed but there were a couple of short stretches of fine grey gravel. To my annoyance there were also some sections of cobblestones, which don’t make for good riding when you are on a touring bike carrying pannier bags.
The few towns I passed through were unremarkable and, being Sunday, nearly all the shops were closed. At Birkenwerder I stopped for lunch consisting of a hamburger (one of the best I have had) and another cappuccino (by far the worst I have ever had).
The town where I am staying tonight, Oranienburg, has an interesting history. After the Nazi takeover one of the first German concentration camps was established in the town centre on 31 March 1933, for political opponents of the Nazis and for the re-education of left-wing politicians and media representatives. Because it housed Nazi armament industries, Orienburg was one of the most bombed German towns in 1944-45. Nowadays, Oranienburg is an attractive town situated on the pretty Lehnitzsee Lake. By far the most impressive tourist attraction is Schloss Oranienburg, first built in 1655 as the country residence of Louise Henriette, the first wife of the Great Elector.
Now to get some rest for the 75 Km stage to Fürstenberg tomorrow.