Kempen-Usedom-Berlin-Kempen Day 11: Berlin-Spandau to Brandenburg an der Havel

We were super-early out of the door this morning, checking out at 7am. This was to give us time to cycle to Alt-Moabit for breakfast. We had to pay 8€ per night for our Velomobile parking in the Tiefgarage. To leave the garage we had to pull on a rope thingy but it was a bit high up – Klaus managed it eventually!

We headed off to Konditorei Buchwald which had been recommended to us by fellow Velomobilist Josef and it turned out he would be able to join us there, which was a bonus.

We actually arrived 15 minutes early as the 10km cycle from Spandau was pretty fast, despite it being rush hour.

(Photo by Klaus)

Josef arrived on a red Brompton shortly after we got there and we settled down to a very tasty breakfast!

It was really great to chat to Josef again.

He rode with us to the Brandenburg Gate.

Josef posted some pictures to Facebook with an amusing commentary:

Drama at the Brandenburg Gate. Dark clouds gathering over Berlin as two velomobiles appear at the gate out of nowhere. What does it mean? Is the end near and who will come to the rescue?

All of the sudden, a blue and white striped knight enters the scene on a Bordeaux red Brompton war horse, taming the wild creatures in their strange contraptions. Berlin has survived, the city is safe, again.

We said goodbye to Josef who had to go to work and set off on our route to Brandenburg.

We followed the road to Potsdamer Platz, at which point I realised my battery had run out so I changed it.

We passed through the former American sector with the Kurfürstendamm shopping street with the bombed church the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche and a more recent memorial to the Christmas Market terror attack.

We were soon in leafy and upmarket Zehlendorf but had to deal with a cobbled street.

We rode through Wannsee and then had to climb the hill on the way to Potsdam, but as Josef had said the cycle path was fine.  I reached 62km/h on the way down and then we crossed the Glienicke Brücke, the Bridge of Spies.

We made our way into Potsdam centre and decided to stop for cake.

It was cooler today with some grey clouds but still very good cycling weather and after our leisurely stop we were happy to carry on. Our average speed was pretty low because of all the stopping and starting in Berlin and Garmin training partner Kevin was miles ahead but that didn’t matter, we were enjoying the day.

From Potsdam we cycled alongside the Templiner See until we reached Caputh, where we crossed on a ferry to the other side at Geltow.

From this point we were riding on the roads rather than the cycle paths (when available) as traffic was light and we wanted to speed up a bit.

We rode through Werder and Phöben, at which point the route turned more directly west and straight into a bit of a whopping headwind.

I had been riding behind Klaus most of today but with the strong headwind the form difference between Millie and Celeste came into play again and I overtook Klaus as Millie wanted to run with the wind. I ended up quite far ahead and Klaus was working hard with the blustery sidewinds and headwinds. I waited for him at the next river ferry at Ketzin, once again crossing the Havel.

Fortunately once we had crossed the river our direction changed enough that the wind wasn’t so energy-sapping.

However, with 80km covered I was feeling a bit peckish so told Klaus I would stop at the next food establishment. I spotted the restaurant in Brückenkopf too late and sailed past but couldn’t be bothered to turn around; we would stop at the next one.

The village of Roskow had two restaurants but they were both boarded up so we continued.

Klaus got very excited as he saw a crane (Kranich) in a field beside the road. I clearly didn’t look in the right direction as the bird I saw looked like a grouse or ptarmigan, although I doubt either of these are hanging around in the Havel region.

The next village, Weseram, also had no food places so we stopped beside the road in a quiet area and I ate some of the nuts I had with me. That was enough to keep me going for the final 12km to Brandenburg. We were happy to finally overtake Kevin, we had left it very late. He hadn’t done the detour to the nice breakfast cafe though.

The final kilometres through Klein Kreutz and then the outskirts of Brandenburg flew by and we were soon at our hotel. 

Here is Klaus’s Garmin update for the day:

And this is his summary:

Das erste mal mit dem Rad durch Berlin. Ehrlich gesagt, ein wenig Respekt hatte ich schon, aber im Endeffekt gab es keine Probleme. Angefangen haben wir mit einem leckeren Frühstück. Wir haben uns im Cafe Buchwald in Alt-Moabit mit Josef, einem begeisterten und erfahrenen Velomobilisten, getroffen. Er begleitete uns noch bis zum Brandenburger Tor. Da gab es natürlich ein großes Hallo und wir waren sofort von Touristen umzingelt. Schnell noch, das obligatorische Foto vorm Tor und dann haben wir Josef zu seiner Arbeit entlassen. Wir durften noch einige Hotspots abradeln. Den Potsdamer Platz haben wir links liegen lassen und sind gerade zu in Richtung Tauentzin/Kurfürsten Damm gefahren. Ein kurzer Halt an der Gedächtniskirche…und innehalten am Mahnmal des Terroranschlags vom vergangenen Dezember…. warum nur???

Auf der Busspur kann man entspannt den KuDamm entlangradeln. Irgendwann sind wir abgebogen und sind in Richtung Wannsee weitergerollt. Hier hatten wir die Bergprüfung eingestreut… 40Höhenmeter waren zu bewältigen. Runter ging es zur Glienicker Brücke…62 in einer 50er Zone. In Potsdam habe wir dann den regulären Kuchenstopp eingelegt. Die restlichen 54km gingen dann, vorbei ein malerischen Seen, immer in Schlafdistanz zur Havel. Zwischendurch waren immer wieder dunkle Wolken zu sehen, aber ein kräftiger Westwind blies diese von uns weg. Wäre nicht schlecht, wenn der Wind morgen etwas nachlassen würde… 150 Kilometer brauche ich das Gepfeife nicht in meinem Ohr.

The hotel was a lovely old building and there was a courtyard out the back with garage for the Velomobiles. Here is Millie on her way there.

And the garage filled up with other bikes after we had installed ours. 

And this is our room.

After showering and washing our clothes we were shown around by the landlady who introduced us to the drinks area – including a kettle, hurrah! She said that we are welcome to make some filled rolls at breakfast and take them with us for the journey, which is very kind of her! I said “we usually eat cake at lunchtime” and she said “I will have to get cake then.” That’s an excellent attitude!

Our hotel was right beside the main Street in Brandenburg which was fairly noisy with the car tyres on the cobbles outside. We like to sleep with the window open so it will be interesting to find out if the noise disturbs us tonight.

We needed to restock our food supplies (nuts and chocolate for me, Haribo Sauere Pommes and Gummibärchen and TUC biscuits for Klaus) so we decided to walk to a supermarket. 

We walked west, so the direction we will ride tomorrow, and saw some tram tracks. We will have to be super careful of those tomorrow.

Brandenburg an der Havel obviously has a lot of history. Not only old buildings, like this tower, but also memorials to the war and also a plaque about freedom as the Stasi had some offices here.

We walked to see the Havel river that we had crossed several times today.

After a good Greek meal we went for another walk and had a look at the Rathaus.

In front of it was this fountain with bronze pug with antlers.

In the background of the above photo you can also see two men on a bench. One is sitting on a wooden carved figure which seemed familiar to Klaus.

Here is a photo I found on the web of a similar bench figure but the one we saw wasn’t painted:

Then Klaus remembered – the figures are from Loriot. It turns out the creator of Loriot comes from Brandenburg. Here is a close up of the pug – yes it has bronze poops too!!

Brandenburg an der Havel seems like an interesting place!

Tomorrow we ride for 146km to Grafhorst which is just east of Wolfsburg. It should be a relatively flat day and the weather forecast is cloudy but dry, so fingers crossed!!

One comment

  1. Just stay permanently on tour as I love reading about it ! Josef is an amazing ambassador for the velomobile movement. Not only has he been the captain of great tours , he also offers good advice and wonderful videos. It was a pleasure to meet him at the 2015 oliebollentocht.

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