Spandau and the Olympiastadion – cycling in Berlin

Plan for this afternoon was to visit Spandau. The main reason was to go to the Deutsche Bank there (where I have an account) to pay in some money and to try to get them to stop posting me statements (and charging me for them!), but I also fancied a visit out to the west of Berlin which I haven’t visited much before. I have been to Spandau several times but that was starting at Falkensee (further west) where I stayed for five weeks in 2007. The bit between Spandau and central Berlin, known as Westend, was pretty much a mystery.

So I located the Spandau Deutsche Bank on my Garmin and asked it to plot me a route there.

Early on I went past Schloss Charlottenburg (at least I think that’s what this posh building is, the photo was taken whilst I was cycling along the road):


I crossed a river just before Spandau (Havel?) and then arrived in the market square which was heaving with stalls selling crepes, beer, Bratwurst, that kind of thing. It was very crowded so I didn’t stop to take any photos.

I went into the bank and there was an enormous queue so just paid in my money at the automatic machine and left – couldn’t face the queue, plus I wasn’t sure quite how I was going to explain what I wanted them to do. Banking in German has an awful lot of long words….

So having ridden through the centre of Spandau (it was as I remembered) I headed home on a slightly different road, again crossing the river.


I’d only done six miles by this point and it was only 5pm so I thought I could do a bit more exploring. When I saw a sign for Olympiastadion I thought that would be a fun visit!

I have in fact been to the Olympiastadion once before, on my first ever visit to Berlin about 11 years ago, when I went with a friend who is very much into sport. It was fascinating to look round this relic of the 1930s and although my German at that point was pretty much monosyllabic, and my companion’s was worse, we managed to chat a bit to a caretaker about it. It was weird to see the buildings made by Hitler for his Nazi Olympics, knowing this was where Jesse Owens won all his medals.

Anyway, back to September 2011. Clearly they’ve made a bit more of the stadium now as there wwere signs for a cycle route to it (last time I went by U-Bahn but it was a bit hit and miss finding the place). The route went through some woodland which was nice, but there were a few cobbled sections of road which are pretty uncomfortable on a trike.

Anyway, the first thing I got to was the Glockenturm (belltower).


This didn’t appear to be open to the public so I carried on a bit further and after nearly a mile found myself in front of the main stadium with its olympic rings.



Unfortunately commercialism has come to the Olympiastadion and it cost 7 Euro to get in, so I decided to give it a miss this time.

I heard a weird noise behind me and turned to see loads of police on motorcycles going past.


In fact they kept going round and round (the road was a long oval) so I wonder if this is where they practise formation motorcycling.

I decided to head off back home and set off down the road, being overtaken by the motorcyling police of course (they were much faster than me).


About half a mile from the stadium I crossed a bridge and a star of David on it caught my eye. Eventually I realised that the bridge was lots of metalwork flags. No Union Jack on my side of the road, and there were lots of cars parked the other side so I couldn’t see many of the flags there.



I pootled back towards Charlottenburg and then, as I got reasonably near, I saw a sign to the Funkturm. Why not go and have a look at that too? It was, I believe, the home of MI6 during the cold war.


On the other side of the road is one of the huge Messe buildings – there’s an electronic gadgets show on at the moment so I’m keeping my credit card safely away from that.


More Funkturm – it’s not as pretty as the Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz (which was East Berlin).


Traffic was getting a bit heavier now as it was rush hour so I headed back, finding my entire route was on pretty decent roadside cycle paths. They often have their own bike traffic lights too.

I stopped off to buy something for dinner tonight at Kaiser’s (a supermarket) and the lady on the cake counter persuaded me to buy a “Kalter Hund” (cold dog) which appeared to be some kind of loaf cake. It has to be kept refrigerated, she said, and it has chocolate and biscuits in. Sounded good, so I bought it – it should last me a few days.

This is what it looked like in its packaging.


And this is what it looks like about to be eaten by me.


It’s layers of biscuit alternating with chocolate moussy stuff, with more chocolate on the top. It’s very rich and very crumbly. Oh, and it’s best not to eat it beside the computer as when I pushed a fork into it a whole chunk flew across my iPad keyboard. Fortunately it’s a silicone keyboard so I just brushed the chocolate off, but I’ll know for next time. It was very nice, anyway!

This afternoon’s excursion was about 16 miles, again at a fairly slow average speed due to all the traffic lights, cycle lanes and cakes.


Statistics for this ride:

Distance – 16.34 miles

Time – 1 hour 52 minutes

Moving average – 8.7 mph

Average heart rate – 118

Max heart rate – 171

Maximum speed – 35.55

Calories burned – 669

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