AUSTRIAN ALPS & BERLIN
Berlin - Schlachtensee
Aug 16 Tuesday - sunny: It was a very smooth and quiet ride; and I slept like a log from Augsburg to Brandenburg.
Berlin - Wansee. Berlin's "motorail" station in the far southwest of the city. Our train seemed to wait in the station for quite a while after the automobiles had been disconnected from its rear.
We arrived at the Zoological Garten station 15 min late and sat at bus stop out front waiting for Stadt und Rad, a bike rental shop next door, to open.
Our B&B for the night.
At Stadt und Rad you had two choices: 1 speed cruisers or 3 speed internal hub city bikes. We chose the latter. They were a bit heavy; but they would be perfect for the typical tourist because the center of Berlin is perfectly flat. Of course, we are never the typical anything; and we did experience some hills where light weight would have been advantageous. But all in all, the fat tires worked well on the variety of surfaces we experienced. Once you got underway on flat ground, they almost pedaled themselves.
Our destination was a home near Schlactensee in the far southwest of Berlin. To make a long story short, 4 years ago when we were wondering around at the Wansee station, lost without our bikes, a lady invited us to her house for coffee and cake and then took us back to the station. Before leaving home this time, I wrote to her to invite her out to dinner while we were in Berlin. She in turn invited us to stay at her house. We compromised at 2 nights at her house and 3 nights at a hotel near the Tiergarten. The Berlin - Wansee station is about a mile from her house; but the bike rental store was just outside the Zoological Garten station. The most direct route between the Zoo Station and her house along main boulevards is about 8 miles; but I had decided to take a longer 12 mile route through the huge Grunewald forest, guided by directions from BBB ike
So we headed west for about 4 miles on a boulevard (Bismarkstrasse, which morphed into Kaiserdamm, and finally Heerstrasse). We then turned south onto Teufelsseestraße and continued on Teufelsseechaussee, a "Bike Street" through the forest. When the road came to an end, we were unsure which forest path to take because someone had defaced the map board (everything but trees was plastered with graffiti). We got lucky and found the right path which, after a few easy hills, eventually took us out of the woods to Kronprinzenweg. Passing by the Schlactensee, we easily found Gesche's house.
We arrived about 1:00PM and were offered lunch. Since we had had a picnic lunch on the way, we settled for coffee and dessert.
Our first rest stop along Kaiserdamm. This was typical of Bike path along main streets, especially in the west. Here you are separated from traffic by parked cars and from pedestrians by trees and lamp posts. It was election time locally; and the signs on every lamp post soon drove me crazy, partly because they had non-standard German slogans that made it hard to read. The one seen here was simpler than most: only the candidate's name and picture and an abbreviation of the party name.
On other streets the position of the trees and bike lane might be reversed. But the bike lane would be a different color than the sidewalk and raised up a few inches. There was always a path on both sides of the street; and I presume you are supposed to right on the right side. If you did meet bicyclists coming the opposite way, they always gave you the right of way.
Cresting a hill in the Grunewald.
Our accommodations at "Hotel Lobo
When I went out to explore the neighborhood by bike, I found that one of the locks did not match the key given us. We called Stadt und Rad; and after some stalling, they suggested we cut it since it would take them over an hour to get there with the right key. Fortunately, our host had a "flex" (moto tool in English) with a grinder on it that made quick work of the heavy cable.
It was worth the struggle.
Aug 17 Wednesday - sunny: Jeanine decided to rest up; so I took advantage of the opportunity to bike to Potsdam. We had gone there last time before catching an overnight train to Austria. But ATM problems, not to mention no bicycles, prevented us from seeing very much. The most direct way to the Glienicker Bridge which forms the boundary between Berlin and Potsdam, is 6.0 miles straight out Potsdamerchaussee which becomes Königstraße. However, near the Wansee station about where Potsdamerchaussee morphs into Königstraße, I turned left into the woods and then along Griebnitzersee past old palaces.
I was cruising the bike path along side of Potdamerchaussee when it came to an autobahn interchange. I couldn't resist a picture of the sign pointing to two cities in the former East Germany: Magdeburg and Leipzig. Just beyond this the bike path tunneled under the autobahn.
One of the few bits of "civilization" between Potsdamerchaussee and the Glienicker Bridge.
Schloss Glienicke just before the Glienicker bridge - the first of many palaces
They who gave it the name of "Bridge of Unity" also built the wall, covered with barbed wire, creating a no man's land and thus preventing the unity. A sign on the Glienicker Bridge connecting the former West Berlin with East Germany. It is apparently meant as a dig at the East Germans.
Looking out over the Havel River from the Glienicker Bridge. The building in the back ground is a water pumping station dating from the 19th century that is decked out like a palace from the same period.
The so-called New Garden. In the background is a palace build for Princess Sofie between 1914 and 1917. Whatever were they thinking?
At least it was used for something. The famous Potsdam Conference at the end of World War II was held here.
The Potsdam "Alt Stadt" (old city)
The main attraction of Potsdam is Sanssouci Park, a large green area surrounding several palaces of Prussian kings.
Sanssouci Palace - the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia built between 1745 and 1747
The front of Sanssouci palace
The front up close.
The wine terrace leading up to the palace
The rear of the palace. About this time my camera's AA batteries died; and I was able to purchase replacements at the gift shop here. 1.50E per battery wasn't exactly a bargain; but I didn't complain.
Bicycling was not permitted in the park. So I continue on a road around its edge. I soon came the Chinese Tea house.
A closer view of the Chinese Tea House.
The opposite side of the tea house.
Continuing around the edge of the park, I came to the "New" palace, built only 20 years after Sanssouci. Some pundits say it was built to commemorate the end of the Seven Years' War. Other claim it was intended to demonstrate that Prussia's capabilities were undiminished despite its near defeat in said war.
Side view of the New Palace.
Everywhere you go in Europe, they are preparing for some festival or event. Here the tents don't obstruct the view very much. But often large temporary seating completely destroys a picture.
Of course reconstruction often blocks the view of historic buildings. This is the left wing of a huge 2-winged building across from the new palace.
The right wing
Continuing around to the park perriphery, we come to the Orangery created by Frederick William IV between 1851 and 64.
Continuing until we are almost directly behind Sanssouci Palace, we come to a large windmill, the last attraction in the park (at as far as this palace tour is concerned).
After riding half way around the New Garden, I took the short way back to Berlin on the bike path along Königstraße. This involved a gradual, 2 mile long hill; and a steady stream of roadies, not to mention others on all type of bikes, passed me up on my heavy weight.
A view of Großer Wansee from Königstraße.
Part of the bargain when we agreed to stay at Gesche's was that we take her out to dinner. The neighborhood Italian restaurant with outdoor seating was a very good choice. It turns out that she loves to eat out, but doesn't get the opportunity very often. So we were pleased.
At the Italian restaurant. Jeanine asked me to have the waiter take our picture; and a man in the next table said in English that he would. Turns out he was an American who had just moved to Berlin and the neighborhood with his family. I wasn't at all surprised that Gesche invited the family to visit and to help acclimate them to Berlin.
Another view of the outdoor seating at the restaurant.
Farewell breakfast. The specialty of the house was a variety of homemade fruit preserves.First Previous Next Last