Cycle Tour Bike holiday to Berlin
Dag/day 5: Lindow-Berlin Spandau
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Added on 11 Jul 2019
on 25 Sep 2019
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by Ottocolor on 11 Jul 2019
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Lindow (Mark), Brandenburg, DE (72 m NHN)
, Berlin, DE (65 m NHN)
05 Jul 2019
Still chilly and windy with very little sun, especially in the morning. But the wind was northwesterly, so today we primarilly had a tailwind.
Hotel und City Camping Nord
Gartenfelder Straße 1
This accomodation place was needed, as we had only booked our hostel from the following night. We tried another campsite in Heiligensee, but were rejected.
The wind shook the tent, and it's never the nicest way to wake up in a tent. Actually, it was too early to get up, because I, and my sons even more, are followers of the German doctrine (translated) "he who sleeps longer in the morning lasts longer in the evening". But as the wind demolished the morning cozyness and the tent stood on the very shores of Lake Gudelack, my morning bath was quite an attraction. There was even a small beach with white sand (the name of the campsite was "Weißer Sand" (White Sand). Then weather was overcast and with a stiff breeze from the west and northwest. After the bath I cycled up to the supermarket, where we had shopped in the evening to buy bread and milk. Of course this poor campsite did not sell as much as a bread crumb itself. On my way I passed a railway track and wondered if the train was still running, and certainly, on my way back a modern train set went through. I bet my ass that this train stretch into the loneliness to the north in Denmark way back, read in the 1960s, had been disused. Lindow is only a tiny little town, 85 km northwest of Berlin and around it are also no other substantial towns, so the population base cannot be the argument for maintaining the line. I guess, the argument is that they want a functioning and modern public transport system, because the roads are heavily loaded, not to say totally congested. But there is more behind it as I see it. In Germany, many structures abolished in Denmark have been preserved, both in the public and private sectors. Here, centralization is not (yet) the celebrated solution as at home. Germany is a federal country after all, and maybe it comes from that. An example is the sugar industry, which is well developed in both Southern Denmark and Northern Germany. In good old Denmark we now have only one sugar factory left (in Nykoebing F), which all sugar beet must be transported to and the ready sugar away from again. Is that really the solution? They do not see it this way down here, where sugar factories are still scattered across the countryside. Competition against monopoly is also an aspect here. Well, Germany is simply a far more conservative society. This is definitely also a reason for this. The changes are coming at a slower pace. For better or worse. For cyclists, it is good when the villages still have a shop and an inn. And likewise for the people of Rheinsberg and Lindow who can commute to Berlin easily and quickly with this train. Period. Now it was time for breakfast on the terrace with my clad-eyed sons. Afterwards, it was more than difficult to pack the tent in the windy weather. It had its own will and was consequently just squeezed into the holster at my best. Now it was about getting out of this awkward and expensive place and head towards Berlin. Fortunately, the stiff breeze was mostly in our tails, that strong that after an hour Simon thought he could see the TV tower of Berlin ahead. I suppose he was joking.
By minor and good roads we were quickly blown to Loewenberg. Here, the route swung southwards along the busy B96. In Germany, the primary roads are marked with a B for Bundesstrasse (federal road), and you should definitely avoid them if they do not have a cycle path. This one had, but still it takes some of the bike pleasure with all the heavy traffic. After a few kilometers, in Teschendorf, we had enough already and held a short rest at a bakery. The queue was long, but we managed to grab a couple of rolls for a "Zweites Frühstück" (the second breakfast) with plenty of butter on. The boys bought their beloved vanilla milk. They can really nerd around this drink and can taste the difference between the individual brands. After Teschendorf, I knew that the bike path along the B96 would vanish, which is why I had planned the route through nature, but that meant dismounting our iron horses again and pushing them through the sand. Ugh! Simon and I agreed that it was better than strugglin with the trucks off the federal road, while Alexander was not so sure. A fortifying lunch consisting of rye bread sandwiches, munched in the idyll of a rotten tree trunk among standing trees and foals gave us the strength to do four kilometers of alternating pushing and slow slalom cycling to Blumenhof, where I knew the tarmac was back. In Nassenheide we were back along the B96, but here there was a nice bike path where we sometimes even progressed faster towards Berlin than the cars when they queued. Soon we turned to Sachsenhausen, and here we would dive into the blackest part of German history in the former concentration camp of the same name. Before, however, it was coffee time in a park. All three of us are more or less addicted to this brown beverage in the afternoon, and before a museum visit it is almost indispensable, although time was running out. It was four o'clock, the museum required at least two hours, and we had 40 km left to the campsite in Berlin. But we did not think of that in the KZ Museum, where we were guided through the vast area by audio guides. Only a minor part of the colossal oppression apparatus, established by the Nazis here was laid out as a museum. We were given a long introduction by a large model of the prison camp itself, after which we slogged into it through the gate that the prisoners also had to pass every day. Horrible things they were exposed to both outside the camp during their penal labour and inside under the harassment of the SS. The Nazi's evil seemed to add to German thoroughness in a socalled shoe testing site. It was a lane in the semicircular camp where selected prisoners had to try different kinds of experimental footwear on different kinds of surfaces. Whether the shoes fit them or not, they would have to go back and forth on the stretch for hours or even the whole day. If they didn't do it, it was their sure death. The crowded sleeping barracks were a chapter for themselves. The audio guide made the horror very vivid, and I tried to imagine such an ordinary morning in the camp in Sachsenhausen.
Via the execution site, where prisoners were executed for terror and warning of everyone else and its complete contrast, the theater where the prisoners tried to make life a little more bearable, we reached the East German memorial in the Sachsenhausen camp from 1967. Here the political prisoners, of course, only the socialist ones, but weren't they all for the Nazis?, honored. But the GDR regime then forgot to tell their citizens that the Soviet Union had used the camp as a camp for political prisoners following their conquest of the eastern German territories. It even existed after the founding of the GDR in 1949, and was also a scary place to be imrisoned, according to the Museum Audio Guide. Therefore, it sounds somewhat hollow when the East German state self-righteously commemorated the remembrance of the victims of Nazism, or the victims of fascism, as they called it, because the Russians, the true Lords of the GDR-leaders, used that word. I have always believed that in East Germany, one dictatorship replaced the other. Nazism and communism are related ideologies, the latter especially in the dress of Stalinism, which it retained until its end in 1989. Stalin and Hitler were, of course, deadly enemies during the war, but just before, in August 1939 they had concluded a devilish pact that paved the way for war and sealed the fate of many countries. Only the Finns avoided it through a heroic battle. On the way back to the exit, I passed the hospital barracks. Here, the Nazis had also conducted painful medical experiments to unspeakable suffering for the patients. But now I wanted to get past of all this malice, and by six o'clock the museum was closing. But I saw no guards asking people to go towards the exit. Worse, I didn't see Alexander and Simon either. But eventually we met at the exit, and a friendly museum officer made sure I could lock my bag out of a closet. Now we had better find Berlin before it turned dark. We didn't quite succeed in that. When we reached the city border of Berlin, we agreed to find a more nearby campsite than the one in Spandau we were heading to. The plan had been to cycle on the so-called Wall path along the former wall between West and East Berlin and then turn west. But Simon, using Google maps, found a place in Heiligensee, somewhat closer. And, as it was Simon, he also found a restaurant serving late dinner right nearby. We had grown very hungry. Of course. Now we had a realistic goal, but the clock was also close to eight now. And then we cycled on the Wall trail anyway, as Heligensee was also close to the wall, but on the western side. In addition, Simon also led our way via his cellphone's GPS, which would soon go down due to power loss. Mind, I hadn't recorded this route on my GPS. However, our disappointment was great when we were rejected at that campsite in Heiligensee. It was only for caravans. But the restaurant gladly welcomed us, and we puffed pizzas into ourselves and emptied large beer glasses, knowing that now we would arrive in the dark. Not very clever. Even less clever was an incredible ride into a dense bush, Alexander's mobile led us into. Almost surreal, we pushed our heavy bikes around between the dense trees in the growing darkness. But soon we were on the right path to the campsite that had originally been our goal. And soon we were back on my GPS route too. The problem was that it was pitch dark. Especially a forest stretch with a bumpy, narrow and unlit bike path was no fun. To say the least. Afterwards, we cycled through Tegel, which is best known for its airport, but is also home to important old industries like Siemens and Borsig, which manufactured steam locomotives. And then we followed Lake Tegel for a couple of miles. It is really a bulge of the river Havel, which in its middle course forms many long lakes. It flows very slowly, and then the water stays in lakes instead of running on. That's obvious. All that, of course, we didn't give a shit about. Simon feared that the campsite would be closed when we arrived, but I reassured him that the world city of Berlin, like New York, never sleeps. And I was right, even though I was not 100% sure. The gate, made of heavy steel and with steel spikes at the top was open, and we were welcomed by the camping boss himself. Lovely! And a friendly lady showed us down to the tent pitches by the canal. We could also get a hot bath, and everything had turned out well. We had reached our goal - Berlin. Only the tent pitching was a problem, both because it was dark, but also because it had been so badly packed in the windy weather in Lindow this morning. But up it went, and down we slipped into the bags. Ah, it was great to stretch out on my back. It had been a long day.