Berlin - Neuruppin - To France the Long Way - CycleBlaze

June 27, 2009

Berlin - Neuruppin

After good-bye kisses and hugs for Sarah, Katharina and Andreas - we're going to miss them - we are on the road again.

We leave our comfortable apartment, conveniently located over an Indian restaurant
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Sarah, my son Andreas and Katharina inspect our set-up and give us a warm send off
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Our way out of the city is a small city tour in itself: We pass the Gedächtniskirche, Berlin Zoo, Charlottenburg. We follow our GPS track over canals, the Spree River, through suburbs, easy riding but not too interesting, until we reach Schönwalde. As the name translates, pretty woods, we now cycle through woods, not impressive enough to call them forests, until they get pretty boring.

We pass the ornate entrance to the Berlin Zoo
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We ride past the famous Gedächtniskirche or Memorial Church, an ensemble of church ruins and the modern buildings which surround it
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Yes, it's a grey morning
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A long and a bit monotonous stretch of pretty woods
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Eventually the woods are interrupted by fields and a few villages.

Low traffic and scenic: A sandy path we take to avoid a longish detour. The direct route was cut off when the new Autobahn was built.
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We catch a glimpse of stork fledglings
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In the north of Germany we frequently see gothic brick churches, here with stork nest
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The villages are built around a long central lawn about 100 meters long with the village church dominating at one end and rough cobblestone streets on either side. Quite often we find a playground and benches here, good places for our picnics. When we left Berlin in the morning it was chilly, but now it has warmed up enough for us to eat our picnic on the park bench in the deserted playground. Where are the children?

Picnic on the village green
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Observed while we picnic
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The next bit of our GPS track takes us on very small roads, not what I really would call roads. There are no signs telling where they lead but we do encounter a car once and a while and they are obviously used. For more kilometers than we'd like, the road consists of coarse slabs of concrete. For all the discomfort, we are here truly deep in the countryside, much more so than you ever feel on a more frequented asphalt surface. The surrounding fields are flat, laced with little canals, interspersed with rows of trees. The flat, wet countryside provides ample opportunity for insects to multiply and they buzz around irritatingly every time we slow down or stop to take pictures.

GDR roads, rough riding
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This tiny road gives us an experience of the countryside off the beaten path
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We are relieved when eventually the concrete-slab road ends and we are back on asphalt
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By the time we reach Neuruppin we are tired from our first day on the road and from the workout we got on the concrete-slab trail. In town we see signs pointing to a "Hotelroute" but inexplicably we don't see any hotels. It takes us a while and several inquiries to find a pension with a free room for the night.

After riding around town on very bumpy cobblestones, we find a nice room at Pension Klostereck
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Neuruppin isn't well equipped for the traveller. We also have a hard time finding a simple restaurant for our evening meal. We end up in a Greek restaurant and after a glass of retsina I have phantasies of dining on the beach of a Greek island with a warm, soft breeze playing through my hair.

Today's ride: 84 km (52 miles)
Total: 862 km (535 miles)

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