This morning I decided to do something recommended to me on Facebook last night – to cycle round Tempelhof airport. I wasn’t actually aware this is something you could do, but it certainly sounded interesting. My father visited Tempelhof by light plane a couple of years ago and clearly found it fascinating. The planes are no more, but it looked as if they hadn’t yet built houses all over the site if Olaf thought I could cycle round it.
So I set off, having found Platz der Luftbrücke on my Garmin GPS and following its route there.
It started well – down a short stretch of Straße des 17 Juni before veering off through the Tiergarten on a reasonable track.
However, it soon involved a lot of faffy minor roads and I decided in future if I knew where I was going I’d take the main roads there, even if slightly further, as they probably have better cycle paths.
I arrived at the front of Flughafen Tempelhof – it all looks a bit sad and forlorn now that it’s closed.
The bit that you can cycle around is the area of the runways and taxiways which was a good kilometer away – the buildings around the front entrance are immense (I think the airport has the largest single building in Europe, or something) so I found myself cycling down Columbiastraße (I think that was its name) for a surprisingly long time before I found the entrance to the park.
What they have done is made Tempelhof Airport an open space for people to use – cyclists, skaters, kite flyers, dog walkers. Cyclists and skaters are meant to keep to the tarmac (sensible), dogs are on a lead apart from in two fenced-off exercise areas where they can run around off-lead, there is an area for barbecues, there are a couple of bird reserves and there was also some kind of veg growing area.
I made my way straight away to look at the back of the main buildings of the airport – a pilot’s eye view, I suppose.
EDIT: Dad sent me this photo of when he was there – it looked much less dilapidated then.
I then was rather startled to see what looked like a person hanging from a kite!
When the kite landed it was clearly just a person-shaped cloth, but it did give me surprise!
More views of Tempelhof buildings:
And then I found myself on the runway. So, of course, I had to try and whizz down there. There was no danger of me taking off, however, as I barely got the trike to 18mph. Clearly all that cake is slowing me down!
I cycled all the way down one runway and then back up the other, pretending to myself briefly that I was on Top Gear (they’re always messing around on an airfield, although at slightly faster speeds). There were quite a few skaters, walkers and cyclists around but there was plenty of room for everyone!
So then I found my way out of the park and headed back home, using the main road (Tempelhofer Ufer, I think it’s called) which unfortunately had a rather rutted cycle path. When I saw a sign directing me onto a different road which was going to Potsdamer Platz I thought I’d go that way, rather than all the way to Alexanderplatz, so found myself on a much better bit of road.
I stopped off at a pet shop to buy a present for Poppy. I was looking for some doggy goggles for when she’s in the bike basket (I’ve seen them previously in a German pet shop) but this one didn’t have any so instead I bought her a pack of her favourite chews, which are called Ochsenziemer (one to google, I think!) Much cheaper than in the UK. The horse version was available but seemed almost bigger than Poppy…
Anyway, I arrived at Potsdamer Platz which is an interesting place on foot but less handy by bike. There were lots of tourists walking all over the cycle paths who didn’t react to bells or shouts and it was all a bit confused.
Here is the Sony Center peeking out behind the DB building and another glass edifice:
I headed off along the main road (excellent quality cycle path) towards the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. I stopped to have another look at the Holocaust Memorial which I visited a few years ago. The trees that were planted in it have grown up rather well.
And then I arrived at the Brandenburg Gate with a good view of the Reichstag.
And this is the view down Straße des 17 Juni back towards my apartment – the Tiergarten with the Siegesäule in the middle.
And here’s an attempt at a classy photo whilst I was cycling along at 11mph. In my mirror one sees the Brandenburger Tor and also someone on a Segway!
The Russian memorial – this is flanked by two tanks (unfortunately out of shot – again I took this whilst cycling along).
On the way back to my apartment I stopped off at a bakery to get my lunchtime treat – a nice doughnut!
So another enjoyable trip, 15.5miles at an average of less than 9mph, but great fun!
Statistics for this ride:
Distance – 15.72 miles
Time – 1 hour 56 minutes
Moving average – 8.07 mph
Average heart rate – 96
Max heart rate – 135
Maximum speed – 18.75
Calories burned – 209