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Eastern Germany

Berlin and Usedom by bike
29 May to 8 June 2019

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Wednesday, May 29: drive to Wegeleben
Weather: partly cloudy, 17 °C

After a 5 hours' drive we arrived in Wegeleben. We had to take a detour which took us an extra 30 minutes as the motorway was closed due to an accident near Rinteln/Bückeburg. It was 12 p.m. when we reached our destination. In the late afternoon we went for a walk.

Thursday, May 30: Visit of Beelitz-Heilstätten and cycling tour around Schwielow Lake and Templin Lake, arrival in Berlin
Weather: sunny until late afternoon, 22 °C

By 9 a.m. we were on the road again. After 1.5 hours we arrived at Beelitz-Heilstätten, the remains of a large hospital complex erected in 1898 as a sanatorium. The area is now featuring a tree top walk and guided tours through the buildings. The entrance fee of 11 euros grants you access to the outside area of the buildings, the guided tours cost extra. As it was a public holiday and beautiful weather there was a long queue to get in and when we left at 12:30 p.m. the parking area was full.
We drove a few kilometres to Ferch and cycled around Schwielow Lake and took a ferry (1.50 euros each including bikes) across Templin Lake in Potsdam. In total we covered 31 kilometres which took us 2 hours.
After another 50 minutes' drive we arrived at our rented flat at EigenArt-Appartements in Berlin-Wedding. We moved into a 32 m² room which included a kitchenette for 75 euros per night. We locked the bikes in the courtyard entrance and parked the car in the public spaces in the street. For dinner we walked 500 metres to a vegetarian Italian place - "Sotto".

Friday, May 31: Cycling tour through Berlin West to Spandau
Weather: sunny with clouds and a rain shower at midday, up to 25 °C

In the morning we went to buy some food at the nearby supermarket for breakfast. At 9:20 a.m. we were on our way with our bikes. We followed a path where the Berlin Wall was and then along the Spree near the Reichstag and were soon standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Last time I was there back in 1989, the Brandenburg Gate was still behind the Berlin Wall! Now we were able to pass through it. Then we cycled through the Tiergarten park to the Siegessäule column which we climbed for 3 euros per person.
We passed by Schloss Charlottenburg and cycled along a broad street until we reached Spandau at 11:30 a.m. Here we had an ice-cream and took a look at the Havelfest along the Hafel river before we visited the Spandau Citadel. We got a reduction on the entrance fee of 4.50 euros as they were preparing for a music festival in the evening.
By 2:15 p.m. we were on our way back into the city. Along the Spree river we passed by the Bundeskanzleramt and Spreebogenpark.
At 4:20 p.m. after a total of 38 kms we were back in our flat in Wedding. It turned out not to be easy to find an open restaurant near our flat. Some closed as early as 6 p.m. and some were completely closed for whatever reason. We decided on the Italian DaGiorgio's 2 km from our flat. When we arrived around 7 p.m., there was another rain shower and inside everything was booked. But we were able to sit outside under an awning.

Saturday, June 1: Cycling tour through Berlin city centre
Weather: mostly sunny, up to 27 °C

We left shortly after 9 a.m. It was just 15 minutes by bike to the Reichstag building where we had made advance reservations for a visit to the roof terrace and dome. We passed through the security controls and took a lift to the top. Volker took an audio-guide. Everything is free of charge, you just have to register. An hour later we continued our cycling tour along the Spree river to Alexanderplatz. The television tower at Alexanderplatz is Germany's highest building at 368 metres and it's number 4 of all television towers in Europe. We didn't go up but continued on to the East Side Gallery. At 1316 metres in length this is the longest open air gallery in the world featuring about 100 large paintings on a remaining section of the old Berlin Wall, Honecker and Brezhnev's fraternal socialist kiss being one of them. The Western side of the wall still features the old graffitis.
We followed the Spree to beautiful Gendarmenmarkt with its monumental buildings, the Berlin Concert Hall and the French and German Catherals. We decided to have lunch at Erdinger's right on the square. Next we visited the former border crossing Checkpoint Charlie (which I still saw in existence back in 1989) and the outside area of the permanent exhibition “Topography of Terror” which serves as a place of remembrance and a warning from Nazi history.
We passed by Potsdamer Platz and the Sony Center with some remains of the historic Grand Hotel Esplanade built into the facade. Then we cycled through the Tiergarten to the ruin of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church which didn't get rebuilt as a reminder of World War II. We visited its interior and also had a look into the new church built next to it with its blue glass windows.
We passed by the zoo and then again through the Tiergarten park to the Siegessäule and through the English Garden. We had an ice cream at Eisteufelchen. Finally we cylced along the Spree to Schloss Bellevue and passed by the Reichstag again on our way back to Wedding. After 30 kms we arrived back at our holiday flat. It was 4 p.m. We had a pasta dinner at our flat.

Sunday, June 2: Cycling tour around Lake Tegel
Weather: sunny, up to 32 °C

We left shortly before 9 a.m. and it was already warm enough to go just with a t-shirt and shorts.
We cycled along the Berlin-Spandau Canal on the cycle path between the canal and hobby farms/small gardens. After 12 kilometres we reached Tegeler Lake. We cycled once around the lake with a short detour to the centre of Tegel. At 11:15 a.m. we took the Spandau-Reinickendorf ferry across the Havel (1 euro per person and bike). On the other side we followed a sign to a refreshment bar and we stopped there for a quick lunch.
Finally we end up in Spandau again but following the canal with a detour to Tegel airport for some plane spotting and an ice-cream in Reinickendorf we returned on the same way we came. By now many people were flocking to the beaches and public swimming areas, no surprise on a sunny, warm Sunday.
At 2:20 p.m. we were back in our accommodation. We covered 47 kilometres.


Monday, June 3: drive to Usedom island, cycling tour around Grimnitz Lake and visit to Angermünde
Weather: sunny, up to 32 °C, with a thunderstorm in the evening

At 8:50 a.m. we left our rental flat in Berlin, and we already had 27 °C!
It took us an hour to drive to Joachimsthal. From there we cycled 14 kilometres around Grimnitz Lake. Then we drove to Angermünde where we had lunch. At 1 p.m. we had 32 °C! We continued on our way to the island of Usedom and we saw some cranes and storks along the road!
At 3:30 p.m. we checked into our rental flat at Villa Maxim in Heringsdorf. It was a very nice, modern flat with full kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a small balcony. We parked the car and bikes in front of the house. They charged 85 euros per night including cleaning fee and local taxes. After a visit to the supermarket we had coffee and cake on our balcony. In the late afternoon we went for a walk on the beach. We had potatoes with ham and asparagus for dinner in our flat.


Tuesday, June 4: Cycling tour to Zinnowitz
Weather: sunny at 20 °C

After the thunderstorm last night, it was much cooler that morning. We left at 8:40 a.m. We cycled along the seaside promenade to Basin and through the forest via Ückeritz, Koserow and Zempin to Zinnowitz. For lunch we had fresh fish rolls at Fischerstrand (Fisherman's Beach).
On the way back we visited the harbour in Zempin, then we took the cycle path from Koserow along the main road. We made a detour to Pudalga and Benz to see the windmills, then we cycled up the hill to a lookout tower. After a total of 57 kilometres we were back in Heringsdorf. It was 4:20 p.m. In the evening we walked along the seaside promenade to Domkes Fischpavillon for a fish dinner and back along the beach.


Wednesday, June 5: Cycling tour to Swinoujscie in Poland
Weather: sunny, up to 29 °C

At 9:30 a.m. we started our cycling tour on the seaside promenade to Ahlbeck. At 10 a.m. we already had 24 °C. We visited the sand sculptures exhibition just before we cossed the Polish border. It cost 9.50 euros each and we were done after 15 minutes. It was interesting but a bit expensive, and for taking pictures it wasn't great to be indoors in a huge tent. We passed through Swinoujscie and its harbour before we crossed the border back into Germany. For lunch we had fish rolls in Kamminke. Then we followed a hilly path to Korswandt. At Wolgast Lake we had an ice-cream at Café Helene. In Ahlbeck we stopped for a stroll on the pier. By then we had 29 °C. At 3 p.m. after 38 kilometres were were back at our accommodation. We went to the supermarket by bike, and in the late afternoon we went for a stroll on the beach and we had two aperol spritz at the pier in Heringsdorf. Back in our holiday flat we had potatoes with ham and asparagus for dinner.

Thursday, June 6: Cycling tour from Zinnowitz to Peenemünde and Wolgast
Weather: sunny, up to 31 °C with a thunderstorm in the late afternoon

In 25 minutes we drove to the station car park in Zinnowitz, and at 9:40 a.m. we started our cycling tour on a forest track to Peenemünde. We visited the Peenemünde Historical Technical Museum
where the world’s first cruise missiles and the first ever functioning large-scale rockets were built. We paid 9 euros each plus 1 euro extra for the glass lift to the roof. We spent 75 minutes to see the exhibits but you could easily spend at least twice the time. But we wanted to profit from the good weather, had a quick lunch on the premises and continued on our way to Wolgast. We got there at 1 p.m. but before we could enter the town we had to wait for the drawbridge to let some boats pass. It was interesting to see the bridge in action. Our next stop was at Café Naschkatze in Krummin with its beautiful garden setting for coffee and cake. At 3:15 p.m., after 45 kilometres, we were back at the car park in Zinnowitz. On the way back to Heringsdorf we stopped at the supermarket in Basin. We got back just before the thunderstorm. For dinner we had salmon pasta.


Friday, June 7: Cycling tour to Mellenthin and Stolpe
Weather: cloudy at first, then sunny, up to 18 °C

After the thunderstorms it had cooled down again and it was still gray in the morning. We waited until 10 a.m. before we left the house. We cycled through Basin and then on still wet forest paths to Sellin and Benz with its windmill. We carried on to the moated castle of Mellenthin, and then to Schloss Stolpe. At noon we had cake for lunch at a bakery. Next we cycled to Korswandt and Wolgast Lake. We had a currywurst and "frikadelle" (meatball) at the lakefront. The last part was the same way to Ahlbeck again as two days before. Here we had an ice-cream. Shortly after 3 p.m. we were back in Heringsdorf after 45 kilometres with 220 metres elevation on the last stretch to Ahlbeck.
In the evening we walked to the centre of Heringsdorf and had dinner at Domkes Fischpavillon. We stopped for a little while at the street festival on the way back.


Saturday, June 8: Return to Wegeleben
Weather: partly cloudy at 18 °C

We had to return the keys for our flat by 10 a.m. We left Heringsdorf at 9:30 and stopped for another night in Wegeleben. On the way we bought some fresh asparagus at Beelitz and went for coffee and cake at Lehnin. We got back to Düsseldorf on Whitsunday.


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