Easter came fairly late this year, and was warmer than usual, with sunshine and temperatures of about 20 degrees Celsius in our region of Germany. Over the 4-day Easter weekend, we spent two days doing a section of the Elbe Cycle path from Magdeburg to Havelberg, before aiming to join the Elbe-Müritz Cycle path (Elbe-Müritz Radweg) for the final two days. Where I last finished off, we’d just headed to bed in our tents at the campsite on the island in the Havel river at Havelberg, having enjoyed sitting around an Easter fire, a German Easter tradition.Continue reading
There are some really long cycle paths in Germany, and some of them even cross borders. The Elbe Cycle path (Elbradweg) is a cycle route of about 1270km that follows the course of the river Elbe. It starts at the source of the Elbe in the Czech Krkonoše Mountains (the Giant Mountains/ Riesengebirge), and ends where the Elbe flows into the North sea.
Over the 4-day Easter weekend, we spent two days doing the section of the Elbe Cycle path from Magdeburg to Havelberg, before aiming to join the Elbe-Müritz Cycle path (Elbe-Müritz Radweg) for the final two days (instead we ended up doing our own route from Havelberg to Waren, but that’s another story).Continue reading
When hot summer days arrive, one of the popular weekend day trips for Berliners is to Liepnitzsee, a beautiful lake with aquamarine waters in the middle of beech and pine woods. People go by train, car or bike and as the last option is perhaps the most fun, over the years we’ve explored many different routes to the lake. In the beginning we tried cycling from Berlin or Bernau, and now we’ve started exploring other bike paths as there are so many scenic ones in the area. Both last weekend and the weekend before, friends invited us to cycle there, and we tried two different routes:
- From Oranienburg to Bernau via Liepnitzsee
- From Buch to Liepnitzsee, then past Wandlitzsee and Krumme Lanke to Bernau
The Spree is the gently flowing river upon which Berlin was founded, and it runs through the city from the east before meeting the Havel river in the west. There is a bike trail that runs from the three sources of the Spree (three springs) in Ebersbach-Neugersdorf and Kottmar, in a hilly area near the Czech border, all the way back to Berlin. We decided to ride part of the trail over a 4-day long weekend. Continue reading
I still can’t get used to calling Czech Republic “Czechia”, but I thought I’d try, at least for this post! Even my Czech husband still calls it Czech Republic (or normally Czech for short). Anyway, for years he has been telling me that we should visit the Moravian winelands, in the east of Czechia, more specifically in new wine season (more on new wine later). This year we finally did it, as a group of friends with whom we did Wine-and-Cycling Trip 1.0 with last year in the Alsace wanted to go on Wine-and-Cycling Trip 2.0. In fact for us it was actually the third wine and cycling trip, since we also rode along the Saale river valley. We planned our trip to Moravia in September, which is new wine season.
The state of Brandenburg around Berlin is a paradise for biking, and we’ve spent many a happy day riding through forests and countrysides, past lakes, villages and orchards. From Berlin you can catch a train to any of numerous towns that can act as a starting point and then with the help of google maps and signposts, find your way to another town from where you can take the train back to Berlin. This weekend we headed off to Fürstenberg with a friend who felt like going for a bike ride on her birthday. Continue reading
Now and then we go on walks or bike trips and I always said I’d add some photos so that you can see what everyday life looks like here, but it’s been a while since I did that! Continue reading
Unlike many Europeans who have been riding their bicycles around cities since they were yea high, those of us from other continents often have to learn about city biking the hard way. I wobbled off on my first bicycle in Berlin not having ridden a bicycle since childhood, and never in a city. Not that cycling isn’t big in South Africa – sports cycling and mountain biking are common, and there are two big international races held there, the Cape epic (a mountain bike race) and the Argus cycle tour (a road race). But until recently there were not many cycling lanes in the city and cycling as a means of public transportation was not that common.
Here are some basic things I’ve learned about cycling in the city after living in Berlin: Continue reading
1) Rain! My least favourite weather is hanging grey skies without rain, especially in summer. And apparently the crops of Brandenburg were not enjoying the dry spell. Luckily it finally rained, and of course, after the clouds had rained themselves out, we finally had some blue skies again.
2) We’ve run out of Dr Who episodes on Netflix for the moment and have now started watching Heroes. I’ve seen it before, but J hasn’t, and I’m enjoying watching it again.
3) Our first tayberry (growing on the balcony) was ready to eat! (apparently it’s a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry).
4) “Sein oder nicht sein, das ist hier die Frage…” We went to see Hamlet in German at Monbijou park theatre. I really liked the theatre, which is wooden and built in the traditional style of Shakespeare’s era. Sometime the German was too fast to follow (for a non-native speaker), but you could get the general story and it followed the original quite well – amazing, considering there were only 3 actors playing all of the roles! Watching them juggle between roles was also entertaining. The mysterious Ophelia was always talked about but never seen…
5) Cheese fondue at Ars Vini! Followed by chocolate fondue at Ars Vini! Do I need to say more?
6) A friend of ours told us that Tommi’s burgers (in Berlin) has great sweet potato fries, which we didn’t notice before (usually we arrive so hungry that we just automatically order cheese burger and fries without even reading the menu). This time we went for lunch with aforementioned friend on a rainy Saturday and I noticed they also have a “Burger of the month” (I didn’t order this month’s one as I’m not a huge fan of sauerkraut on burgers, but our friend enjoyed it). The sweet potato fries were amazing. I would go there just for that. I also had a thick, coffee milkshake – delicious.
7) Pizza on Sunday night at Il Giradischi in Prenzlauerberg, Berlin. Everyone prefers a different style of pizza – this place and Pomodorino in Friedrichschain are my two favourite pizza places in Berlin. Normally I can never finish a whole pizza and take leftovers for breakfast, but in Il Giradischi I always finish it (so unfortunately…no leftovers!). At Pomodorino they serve it sold in squares, so you can mix and match or take away.
8) Biking on a Sunday. We did a 60km bike ride from Oranienburg to Eberswalder, through forests, past rivers and canals, lovely villages, farms and fields, and old stone roads. The scenery was amazing. I’ll write a separate blog post about that with some photos.
9) Our bike path led us through a small village where they were selling fish brötchen and renting canoes. The Backfisch (fish in batter) option I tried was absolutely delicious – crispy batter and good fish. Of course, food always tastes good after exercise, but so far it’s the best fish I’ve eaten in Germany and I’d happily cycle 60km to get there again!
PS – In case it seems as if I live on pizza and burgers, I should add for the record that I also had lots of huge salads in the cafeteria this week (but they were not included in my weekly pleasures 😉 )