Birkensee, Germany to Berlin, Germany

Day 7 – Friday 03/10
Birkensee (South of Hanover) to Wolfsburg – 98kms Total 594kms

On the road by 09:00 to a clear and sunny morning. The whole day stayed sunny but with a stiff headwind. We rode past village after village mostly between fields of corn and sugar-beets. It came to a point where all the villages began to look the same and all about 4 kilometers apart.
At first we didn’t know it but it’s the 25th anniversary of East and West Germany uniting and being a national holiday everything is closed. We were lucky we came across a gas station with a mini market so we got a couple decent sandwiches for the road. Later on the day Monique yelled at me to stop when she spotted a bakery that was just about to close, so we got some bread for dinner and breakfast, also some sweat-rolls for our late tea. At a discount I might add.
No restaurant near the camping this evening so we’re on our last supply of noddles. Tomorrow we need to find a super market for more emergency food, they are invaluable and we always carry two portions each.
Camping here is not the best value for money but its clean and tonight being a long weekend the party has started.

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Lovely fall colors with a clear blue background.

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When the traffic was lite we cycled on the road, much smoother.

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Even though the roads were silk smooth the cycling paths were pretty rough.

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More quiet country lanes.

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Just great cycling on a beautiful clear October day.

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The huge Volkswagen factory on the Mittellandkanal in Wolfsburg.

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Crossing the canal on the Borsingstrasse bridge at sunset, with the large smokestacks from the Volkswagen factory.

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And the view East.

Day 8 – Saturday 04/10
Wolfsburg to Jersleben (about 10kms North of Magdeburg) – 83kms Total 677kms

On the road at 08:45 on a cold and foggy morning, we needed our rain jackets to ride in this soup. It didn’t last long, after a couple of hours it totally cleared up and it became a beautiful day. The only problem today was the head wind, it gradually got stronger as the day wore on. But we rather have headwinds and clear days than wet days.
Some sections today were truly beautiful to ride and we really enjoyed the day. We are getting a bit tired now, but we plan on a rest day when we reach Berlin. Long days this time of year is not much fun.
Camping here is OK for a night.

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Quite a difference this morning from the previous picture.

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Monique always with a smile, even on such a cold and misty morning.

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Looking back towards the Volkswagen factory.

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Winter is just around the corner.

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Typical northern German scenery.

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Riding through these woods in partial mist was surreal.

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This is where it all began.

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Great cycling on a clear October day.

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Another great spot to dry our tent and towels.

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This was one of the best days on this tour.

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Cannot see it but the headwinds on this section were fierce.

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At one point the cycling path ended and we were dumped on a very busy road with many trucks. So after checking our Maps with Me App. we found a very small trek that led to the Mittellandkanal. But we had to get over the railroad trek.

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In situations like these, flat with strong headwinds, we just turn on our mp3’s and just trod on.

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With the long shadows again we’re finally nearing our destination.

Day 9 – Sunday 05/10
Jersleben (about 10kms North of Magdeburg) to  Brandenburg – 34kms Total 711kms

On the road at 09:45, slept in a bit this morning. Last night it had gotten very cold. Again we woke up to heavy fog, but it soon cleared up. This morning while going over the map we noticed there is no camping between here and Brandenburg and the distance is over 100 kilometers. We are not in the mood to ride hard all day and reach Brandenburg in the dark. The new plan is to ride North for +/-25kms catch a ferry across the Elbe, ride on to Burg where we’ll catch the train to one stop before Brandenburg than cycle the remaining +/-7kms to camp on the Moserscher See.
The weather today was great, clear skies but with a stiff wind from the East.
Camping here is great value for money at €12.50 all included. In the evening we booked a bungalow in city camping Berlin, estimated to be about 70kms from here.

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Another misty morning but with the strong headwinds it didn’t last long.

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Our ride across the Elbe.

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The ever smiling cycling tourist enjoying the morning.

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The wind along this section just before Burg was really bad.

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Waiting for our ride to Brandenburg.

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The cycling path along the Moserscher See was great.

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And also very popular, there were many cycling around this lake.

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Finally able to stop early and enjoy a cup of tea. There was no way we could enjoy this if we had decided to ride all the way here, it would have been dark.

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Our Campingaz cooking set, notice the handle has broken off and we’re using a pair of pliers to turn it on and off. We have had it since 2005 and has served us well, but now its time for a new one.

Day 10 – Monday 06/10
Brandenburg to Berlin – 72kms Total 784kms

What a day, we got on the road at 09:00 to a sunny but cold morning. Not mist for a change but the headwinds were strong and cold today. We just made a bee-line for Berlin and the last +/-15kms were through old suburbs with rough cycling paths, heavy traffic and a lot of pollution.
The plan was to take 3 or so days to explore the city but it wasn’t to be. The cabin we booked yesterday did not exist. The receptionist at the camping thought I said hotel room when I specifically asked for a cabin. Anyway it turned out that they only had one holiday home (as they called it) and it was booked. We checked out the hotel room on offer but it was just a tiny room with 2 small beds, 2 chairs and a small table. Toilets and showers were down the hall. We sat outside the restaurant and tried to look for other accommodation but after a long and thorough search we found that everything under €80 a night was booked. Not in our budget so we just asked if we could camp for the night.
After several beers we decided to cut our loses and head for home. We really wanted to visit this city and we will but not now. Maybe take a long weekend with the rest of the family sometime.
So tomorrow we would head for the train station at Spandau and head for home. Even though the weather is supposed to stay dry for the near future, it is going to get colder, the days shorter and the thought of riding 10 or more days through similar terrain to look at we decided best to take the train.
Bottom line is we should have planned better for our stay in Berlin but it is difficult for cycling tourist to plan too far ahead. And we never thought Berlin would be totally booked.
Camping here is bad, facilities are dated, being next to the airport, very noisy, the planes do stop between 24:00 and 05:00.

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Early morning ride through the woods.

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We had to break out the sweaters and rain jackets to keep worm.

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Riding next to the Heerstrasse 5, dual carriage way heading East.

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Sitting outside the restaurant at the city camping planning our next move. The Berliner Kindl beer is pretty good. Later in the evening they had a small beer garden so we had a couple so called steaks and several more of these beers. Maybe next time we visit Berlin we can enjoy a few more.

Day 11 – Tuesday 07/10
Berling to Wolfsburg – 10kms Total 794kms

Got up and were on our way to Spandau train station by 08:30. Once there we tried for the cheapest tickets on trains that accepted bicycles but nothing even close to direct. The best we could do was 6 transfers, 3 today to Wolfsburg, than 3 more tomorrow to Aachen, Germany. Problem being the IC from Wolfsburg to Dortmund not having any space for the bikes and the fact that we would be arriving around 20:00 in Aachen and having to cycle 30 or so kilometers to Maastricht in the dark.
So it was back to Wolfsburg and the mediocre camping for one more night.
Just before we got into Wolfsburg the skies did open up and we had a soaking couple of kilometers to the camping. We took shelter, made coffee and later soup. After a couple of hours it did clear up and we set up our tent.

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Same spot as a few days ago but this time we were early so time to just lay back and relax. Note Monique laying down inside the tent reading.

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Another view of our camping spot. Later on this large group of people showed up and took the covered boats for a spin in the nearby Allersee.

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Allersee on a beautiful fall afternoon.

Day 12 – Wednesday 08/10
Wolfsburg to Maastricht – 36kms Total 830kms

The next morning it was a couple of kilometers to the station at Wolfsburg to catch our IC train. One thing we couldn’t figure out they claim to have only 4 spaces available on these trains but we counted up to 12 places for bikes. The ride was boring, but we did have our e-reader and Samsung tablet to keep us occupied on this long train rides.
Once in Aachen we had a bite to eat and started on the last kilometers home. It took several kilometers to wake our legs after sitting for so many hours.

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On the IC heading to Dortmund.

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In Margraten, NL (about 8kms from Maastricht) they are commemorating the anniversary of the liberation of this area from the Germans in WWII. There is also an American cemetery a couple of kilometers down the road. A must see if you’re in the area.

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Nearing Maastricht about 5kms from home.

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Finally made it home just before dark.

Epilogue:
The ride to Berlin was nice and we really enjoyed it, mostly for just for getting out of the house and ride for several days. But it had a couple of faults, the scenery was pretty much the same we have here in Maastricht. We would go as far as to say it’s better here than most of the parts we rode through in Germany.
The second being the time of year we chose to do this ride. Being the first time we have ever toured in October we didn’t take into account the amount of daylight hours we had. We averaged around 80 kilometers per day and that’s just too long for this time of year. At times it felt like work, get up, ride and go to bed. Even though we did stop at many places to rest, check out the sights and eat something we always ended up getting into camp very late and with only an hour or so at best, to setup camp, cook dinner, clean up before laying down to read something than going to sleep.
We were extremely lucky with the weather for the whole ride but as soon as the sun set it got very cold which made it difficult to sit outside for a glass of wine, we would have needed something stronger. So having not much else to do we crawled into our sleeping bags for the night.
This will most likely be the last time we cycle this far North after September. Next time we’ll be heading for the warmer climates of Greece, Italy, Spain, Southern France and/or Portugal 🙂