Hamburg and Berlin are two big cities we want to explore by bicycle. So we are making a big tour in Germany. Like all countries, we are welcome to stay for the night at many German families. Just by knocking on their doors. Besides the hospitality, we enjoy historical monuments and beautiful woods.
As we leave Denmark and enter Germany in Sleeswijk-Holstein we are crossing many cattle grids. Soon we are cycling entire days through sheep meadows. At the seaside in Dagebüll-koog there is a lot of sand during the tide. You can even walk to the island Föhr if you are quick enough. Many more sheep, a lot of fences to go through and even more sheepshit to avoid as we are going South.
Salutation to the storage city of Hamburg
We are heading to Hamburg along the Elbe. In Wedel ships are getting saluted while entering and leaving Hamburg. The flag is taken down and up again and their national anthem is playing. “Hamburg salutes you, have a safe journey." A nice ceremony to look at.
In Hamburg we are having a city tour by bicycle. There is a mix of many old and new buildings: the storage city at its best.
A love story
We are cycling along the Elbe again, crossing check point Harry and some former East German watch towers. In Cumlosen, a sweet woman named Petra offers us a homestay. She tells us all about the BRD and DDR. Her late husband was born in the BRD. He fell in love with her, a girl from the DDR. A love story with The Elbe between them. He moved to the DDR to be with her. He was near the one he loved, but getting used to living in the DDR wasn’t easy.
The route towards and out of Berlin is very pretty. We go through forests with large trees. In this autumn season, we’re surrounded by yellow, red and orange colors all day long.
Rainer saves the day
Just before Berlin Linda loses her collection of all the 23 flags. They were attached to a wooden stick which broke down in 2. The flags are a memory of our accomplishment so far. We carried them all the way. We could ask Vlaggenclub to get new ones, but that would not be the same. Rainer, our host of the day before, offers to take his bicycle and check the route we cycled. After half an hour we are thrilled to hear he found the flags. We are thrilled. So sweet of Rainer to be our savior of the day!
Wise lesson for the future: everything must be tied or fixed carefully to our bicycles. Stronger sticks to carry the flags are needed.
We get an invitation to stay for 2 nights at B!rgit Hotel. It’s an eco-hotel in the city center. We need to stay a bit longer in Berlin to get some things done. This leads to being an entire week in Berlin at 3 different places. Visiting the Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Holocaust Monument, remains of the Berlin Wall, Check Point Charlie, Potsdamer Platz, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche and Siegessäule.
While our bicycles are getting a check at Velophil we are having an interview with Zibb (RBB). Dagmar Kluge informed RBB about us. We met her during our stay at Hohes Elbufer in Schnakenbek. If Johan, the owner of Wildglück, didn’t get back to us on his bicycle to offer us a place to stay at his holiday homes we would not have met this nice lady. Second thoughts are great. Thank you Johann and Dagmar.
Tip: Never leave Berlin without buying the most tasty German bread Beutebrot at the best bakery in the city named: Domberger Brot-Werk.
After Berlin it is getting harder and harder to find a place for the night. Everyone seems to be renovating or caring for someone at home. In Wittenberg we start to use Warmshowers. Maybe this is best since it is getting colder and due to the winter time we don’t have a lot of time in the afternoon to knock on people’s doors.
We are heading to Harz National Park. A couple of days cycling in and along this beautiful nature reserve. The route is known as Internationaler Fernradweg R1 from London to Berlin and then to Moscow. The paths are thickly covered with leaves. A pretty face!
Along the way we meet the fire salamander's brother we saw in Greece around this time last year. This one crawls on Ben's carbon rim when we take a picture. He also wants to take a ride on these indestructible rims. Hop on and join us around the world.
In Bad Gandersheim we cycled 20,000 km so far. There's not a lot going on in this town, but that doesn't stop us from celebrating. Wernigerode, Goslar and Einbeck on the other hand, are picturesque towns nearby with beautiful half-timbered houses and facade decorations.
Jan Cleijne made this drawing for us. Thank you for this beautiful memory! Ready to hit those 100,000 km.
Long distance cyclists
In Cologne we stay at Pascal and Julia. They saw our postcard in a hostel in Croatia. We've been in touch several times while they were cycling roughly the same route last year as we did (just a little bit later). In Greece, our paths almost crossed. Very special to share our experiences back and forth with these two fellow long distance cyclists.
In Wachtberg we are visiting Idworx, the manufacturer of our bicycles. We catch up with Jana and Gerrit and have a look at the new features in the showroom. Jo is running a thorough inspection on our bicycles in the workshop. That’s really nice. We ask him some questions and he gives us several good tips on maintenance. We really appreciate the time he is taking for us. It was a nice, educational and fun visit.
One last homestay in Kreuzau before we will reach the Netherlands. In Maastricht we are having a short winter break. Family time, some rest days, finetuning our bicycles and gear and so on. On March 1 we will continue our journey.