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Spree Bicycle Tour

The Spree River starts in Saxony near the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. It flows North to its confluence with the Havel in Germany's beautiful and exciting capital city, Berlin.

Map of SpreeTour Overview: July 2001. This7-day tour of the Spree River starts at the springs that are the source of the Spree in Neugersdorf, Saxony in the area of Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz). The path is in good condition and the various governmental regions are constantly improving it. Short sections of the trail (mostly through the State of Brandenburg) are unpaved and only of dirt or sand. In dry conditions, this sandy soil can turn into what I call 'sand puddles;' they are much like a mud puddle but dry. Riding through the deepest of these will slow your bicycle to a stop. If not careful, one can lose balance and tip over.

The tour takes you through 4 different German states over 250 miles (402 km) to Berlin. The former East Germany has recovered from 50 years of egalitarian rule (which caused everyone to be equally poor) and its people are rapidly remodeling and improving both their homes and their commercial buildings. While many buildings are not yet upgraded, many already sport the modern color schemes and freshly painted appearance common in the west. The first day is a little hilly. If you, like us, are members of the Over-Fifty-With-Bad-Knees Club, you’ll still be able to negotiate all but the steepest of them. The path is in excellent shape except for the sand we found on the last two days. In the future, these sandy parts will probably be paved over.

Maxa's brother, Guntram, joined us on this ride. We enjoy his company and he is knowledgeable about the region's beers. A skill that I am tempted to pay him for. I just hope he does not read this paragraph and demand compensation.

Path sign, notice sticker @ low left Use of sticker on other signs

Path SignStickers of Cycle PathPath SignsPath SignsSignage: The Spree Radweg, or cycle path, is depicted by path signs representing a meandering river flowing from what appears to be a fountain in the mountains to the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor in Berlin). Frequently, a sticker with this same logo will be applied to other signs clearly indicating a part of the bike path. The graphic will appear differently in different German states but overall, signage is better than many long-distance bike routes in Germany. The last day, as you enter the state of Berlin at Erkner, the Spree signs are discontinued and the path follows an R-1 bike path into the center of Berlin.

Accommodations: We were concerned that a bike route in the eastern part of Germany might not have the number or quality of bed and breakfast (Privat Zimmer) accommodations we have come to expect. Rest assured they do. Although a couple nights we did find our accommodations a little rustic, others were well appointed. The Spree has sufficient choices of rooms but nowhere near as many per mile as the route along the Danube for example.

After the first two days, there are three of us on this tour. So each day, we will guess at where we will want to stop for the night and call ahead to make reservations. Two rooms are more difficult to find than one. We used the section in the back of our bikeline guidebook as the source of information and phone numbers. As a choice, we like Zimmer (advertised as Zimmer Frei) but there are also Gasthäuser (Guest Houses), Pensionen (pensions or bed and breakfasts), Jugendherbergen (Youth Hostels), and hotels. For a complete discussion of the different types of accommodations and tips on reservations, see my Overnight Accommodations page.

Stops: The interesting things to see along the way are the cities of Bautzen with its Sorbian culture, Cottbus, an area called the Spreewald between Burg and Lübbenau, and of course, the capital city of Berlin.

Spree Cycle Route GuidebookMaps and Guidebooks: The detailed map and guidebook that we use is the 'bikeline Spree-Radweg, (Von der Quelle nach Berlin), Radtourenbuch und Karte, 1:75,000, published by Verlag Roland Esterbauer, GmbH.

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Day 1: Neugersdorf to Bautzen

Day Overview: Today’s ride is mostly paved but hilly. I do not know why rivers insist on starting high up in hills or mountains. We ride 28 miles (45.1 km) from the spring in Neugersdorf to the old Nicolaikirche (Nicholas Church) in Bautzen. The path winds through village and farmland following the “river” (which is only a small creek at the beginning and is not much larger as it flows through Bautzen). We want to keep the ride short today because we want plenty of time to enjoy sightseeing in Bautzen.

Bautzen has much to offer from the old re-education prison from the communist days to fine examples of the Sorbian culture. We ride through the area called Oberlausitz in German and Upper Lusatia in English. Oberlausitz was famous for its textile weaving in bygone years before modern computerized weaving processes. Many homes in this area housed looms; a fact that causes a unique architectural design to the homes. Frequently, the homes have a portion of the ground floor built in a solid, heavy timbered, sometimes-Romanesque style. That portion is inconsistent with the style of rest of the home, which is usually half-timbered and wraps itself around the Romanesque portion. The heavily constructed portion is where the loom used to sit. Because of its vibration, the portion of the home that housed it needed to be much more sturdy than did the balance of the home - thus the mixing of styles.

The teamWe are more fortunate that most readers of this travelogue. We have friends who live outside of Bautzen, Matthias and Bärbel. One of whom guides for us the first two days and the other, out of the kindness of her heart, takes our panniers in the car and meets us at their home. That allows us to ride the first day (and the second day too – as it turns out) with “naked bikes” unencumbered by the weight (between 25 and 45 pounds of our luggage. My load is heavier because I am carrying tools and a few replacement parts.

Spree SpringsSpree SpringsWe spend the night at our friend's home and therefore do not gain any experience with the local overnight accommodations. But grilling our evening meal in a picturesque garden, drinking local Bier, and enjoying the company of friends beats hotel food and hotel rooms any day.

The night before the start, we eat a great dinner with our friends at the Hungarian restaurant in Neugersdorf. I admire the wine for its unusual flavor and am rewarded with a whole bottle as a gift from the proprietor. I thought, “Great – now I have to carry it all the way to Berlin on a bicycle.” But I thank him for his generosity anyway and tuck that bottle into my panniers. But as you already know, we don’t have to lug the panniers for the first two days.

At the BahnhofMile 0 (0 km): We start at the spring for the Spree in the town of Neugersdorf. There is another spring uphill from here but it seems like too much work convincing the others that they should ride a couple miles uphill just to come back down again so I take the easy solution and decide to start my mileage counter at the spring in the town. There is a swimming pool here too but it is too early in the morning for such activity.

Mile 11.2 (18.0 km): Watch out as you leave the paved path and come to a road going uphill between two cemeteries at a church. The bike path sign seems to point uphill to the left but it is meant to lead you diagonally across the paved road onto the cobblestone surface. I can assure you that the view from the top of the hill, while nice, is not worth the effort, really.

Mile 13.6 (21.9 km): We cross the Himmelsbrücke (Heaven’s Bridge) over a small stream. Built in 1796 (20 years after America’s Revolutionary War), it used to cross the Spree before the course of the river was changed. Just a half a mile further, there is a neat garden on the left with a model train chugging through the garden, a model landscape, and in and out of the owner’s home. A teenager would say, “Way Cool!” being much more adult, I just say, “Neat!”

Top of the First HillMile 22.0 (35.4 km): After several hills (60 to 100 feet of elevation change each) we ride past a bridge over the Spree to our left. It is an interesting bridge, built in 1200 by the King of Bohemia. It is still in use today, but not for automobiles; they use the modern bridge next to it. In just three-tenths of a mile from this bridge, we will push our bikes across a narrow footbridge next to an old mill.

Mile 27.3 (43.9 km): We enter Bautzen at mile 27.3 (43.9 km) when we cross under a high railroad bridge but we leave the trail for our stay in Bautzen at the Nicolaikirche where the trail crosses the Spree again. We will spend the night and half a day tomorrow enjoying our friend’s company and an excellent guided tour of Bautzen. To get here we had to negotiate several more hills but the positive spin on the hills is that we have dropped over 700 feet in elevation today.

BautzenBautzen was an important trading center during the late Middle Ages. But it was mostly forgotten by commerce and industry even before WWII. That fact helped it avoid damage during the war and its central core still reflects the past grandeur. Today, it is a center for tourism and small industry, such as the firm that makes massive paper cutting machines that employees our friend Matthias.

A word about the Sorbs. One cannot (or should not) leave Bautzen without gathering some appreciation for this culture. The word 'Sorb' can be confusing; I have heard it used as a synonym for Slavic or as a name of a particular tribe of Slavic people. I will use it in the sense of a Slavic tribe. The Sorbs that settled in the region known today as Lausitz, or Lusatia. In an earlier form of German, the word Lausitz meant swamp dweller but today it just means the area between the German border with the Czech Republic and Lübbenau. Bautzen is in the center of Oberlausitz. Neiderlausitz or low Lusatia is the flat land around Cottbus and the Spreewald. The area of Lausitz is home to over 100,000 Sorbs. Sorbs operate their own schools educating their children in their culture.

The Sorbian language uses many additional letters and examples abound. Every street sign is in both German and Sorbian. Several important museums in Bautzen explain the Sorbian culture more fully. Basically, this tribe was victimized by other Germanic tribes through history. Sometime before Christ, this Slavic tribe, who followed a pagan religion settled between the Oder and the Elbe rivers. In the Middle Ages, they were repeatedly attacked by their Christian neighbors in an effort not only to expand Christendom but also the duchy of Saxony. Today, they are a distinct but fascinating ethnic minority that lends color to the area.

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Day 2: Bautzen to Sprey

Leaning Tower in BautzenDay Overview: Today’s ride will be 27.6 miles (44.4 km). It is a short day because we spent so much time sightseeing in Bautzen. Except for a gradual hill that rises 70 feet to Kronförstchen at mile 3.3, the path is flat to gently downhill.

BautzenMile 0 (0 km): After checking out Bautzen and climbing the stairs in Bautzen’s own leaning tower, we eat a great lunch along the town wall overlooking the river.

Mile 27.6 (44.4 km): We end the day at Gasthaus Zheidekrug in Sprey. This is a typical Gasthaus with hunting trophies on the wall and a friendly family-run atmosphere with plenty of Bier and Gemutlishkeit. The current owners great grandfather who also ran the Gasthaus collected most of the hunting trophies.Sprey's 200-year old Log Church

Sprey is deservedly proud of its 200-year old log Church.

Day 3: Sprey to Peitz

Day Overview: Today’s ride will be 44 miles (70 km). The good news is there are only a few hills today, and there is no bad news. We are riding in late July and the weather is wonderful. The path today seems flat but actually drops a couple hundred feet gradually through the day. Cottbus provides us with an interesting experience at an archeological dig in their central retail district and some confusion trying to decipher the route signs through that community.

Typical of the Oberlausitz HousesMile 0 (0 km): After a great breakfast at Zheidekrug Gasthaus, we make our way north, along the bike path toward Neustadt. We ride past the Boxberg coalmine and power plant. Brown coal, unlike black coal, is soft. It is common in Europe and has been used as an industrial fuel as well as for heating homes and apartments for many years. Because it pollutes the air unless it is burned efficiently, using brown coal for residential heating has been outlawed in much of Germany. However, with modern technology, power plants can make efficient use of the fuel, as is the case here at Boxberg. The operation of the mine and the power plant is huge. There are several tall chimneys and many cooling towers covering acres of land. Some would say that the view is less than pristine and I won’t argue – but it is interesting to see the equipment and the operation rather than pastoral fields and river valleys. At least the view is different and I welcome it.

Mile 12.5 (20.1 km): Cross the state border into Brandenburg. The trail has been paved and pleasant with several picnic tables along the way.

Mile 13.0 (20.9 km): Turn left at the sign and cross the Spree. I am guessing that if you miss this sign, you’ll probably be able to connect back with the trail in the next town, Slamen, a suburb of Spremberg. At mile 14.4, the path crosses the Spree again, then turns to gravel as it follows the dike north out of Spremberg.

Mile 19.0 (30.6 km): From Bühlow, we ride the next 6 miles along the west shore of Spremberg Reservoir. It is a pretty sight on a sunny day.

Mile 32.0 (51.5 km): In the middle of Cottbus the map and the path become confusing. In general, Cottbus has a dearth of Spree bike path signs and it is confusing with the signs for a Pickle bicycle path and a Devil bicycle path. We are in a large park; the Gartenanlage or park is leftover from the National Garden Show several years ago. We have the option of carrying our bikes up many stairs to cross the railroad or riding the paved path marked as alternate to the east, which will loop south and cross under the busy street, then take you north again under the railroad. We recommend the alternate route because we can ride our bikes instead of carrying them over the stairs. Further, the signs seem to purposely take us off the mapped path and into the downtown area. Since we want to see Cottbus anyway, we allow this deviation from what we know from the map is the correct way.

Seeing an archeological dig right in the middle of the pedestrian zone of Cottbus rewards us. Only 3 feet below the surface, the university students conducting the dig, uncover artifacts from the Middle Ages.

We rejoin the path at the Sandower Strasse Bridge.

Mile 43.8 (70.5 km): We stop for the day at Pension Pahn, Mittelstrasse 7. It is clean and quite nice but the bathroom is down the hall. There are 4 rooms and only one other guest so we feel comfortable with the arrangement. As one would guess, Mittelstrasse is in the center of town and we enjoy a nice walk to a Schloss just north of the town where we have our dinner.

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Day 4: Peitz to Lübbeneau

Day Overview: The first stop today will be Burg, the beginning of the Spreewald. The Spreewald is interesting geologically. The land is so flat that the river spreads out into several smaller channels and then comes back together again further north around Lübbenau, our goal for the day. In America, we call this kind of terrain “river flats” but it rarely occurs.

The Spreewald is a major tourist draw in Germany. It was such even during communist rule before reunification. In this area, coffee-colored water moves slowly through both natural and manmade channels. Tall deciduous trees line the channel banks breaking the sunlight into small rays that color everything with sharply contrasting dapples. The paths frequently lead to arched footbridges (some involving a few stairs) over the channels. The bridges are high so that the low-slung canoe-like boats can be poled under them as they take tourists and locals alike through the maze of waterways. The Spreewald is famous for pickles and horseradish. We help the local economy by purchasing at least a small jar of each. This weight adds little to that of the large wine bottle I have been carrying since Bautzen.

Today it is more important to know the next town on the bike path. There is a shortage of bicycle signs but plenty of signs indicating the distance and direction to the various communities. Follow the signs to the next village and you will not go too far wrong. The mileage today will be 26 miles (42 km) and the path is flat and mostly paved. We spent most of the day sightseeing in the Spreewald.

Mile 0 (0 km): We leave our Pension and pick up the trail at the railroad tracks. At mile 1.8, we pass a sign that says FKK. That stands for Freie Körper Kultur; it means that this is a nude sunbathing area. Just in case you have tender sensibilities, you might want to keep your eyes glued to your front tire. However, it is too early for those who believe in “free body culture” and strain my eyes as I might, I see nothing of note. And Maxa won't let me take pictures in an FKK either. Can you just imagine it; asking a nude sunbather to smile? How impolite!

Mile Marker from About 1736Mile 5.3 (8.5 km): In Maiberg, we turn right on the dike. On the map, the alternate route suggests the paved road parallel to the dike – a better choice. But we are up here now and the path is not that bad so we stay on it for the next mile or so. The picture on the right of the mile-post to the left is in Lübben. It shows the hours and the "miles" (an archaic German measurement from before the metric system) to Berlin and to Bautzen. The miles were about 40 km long. The tricky thing is, different governments in Germany had different distance standards for one mile.

Bismarkturm in SpreewaldMile 13.5 (21.7 km): We stop for a morning break at a Bismarckturm on the edge of Burg and therefore on the edge of the Spreewald. This is a 27 meters-high monument to Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany before World War I. (There are several Bismarcktürme in Germany but this one is the largest I know of.) The informational sign tells us that people first settled this area over 7,000 years ago in the early Stone Age. It makes sense, mid-latitude, lots of rain, fertile soil, easy water transportation, places to hide from enemies in the Spreewald; heck, I would have settled here too - but I am not that old.

Pickle Path Sign in SpreewaldMile 14.5 (23.3 km): We turn right following signs to Leipe. There are trails everywhere and few signs to confirm that we are on the correct bike path. That’s OK. We are in the middle of the Spreewald and it is just too pretty and unusual to be watching out for signs anyway. I know that we might get off the path but we can hardly get lost. All paths lead somewhere after all. As I mentioned before, just keep in mind the names of the communities ahead of you and pedal in that general direction. The paths form a kind of a grid system.

Mile 26.3 (42.3 km): After wandering around in the Spreewald with out recording any extra mileage, we stay the night with the family Halka, a Privat Zimmer listed in the guidebook. They are at Stennewitzer Strasse 21. The Halkas are nice people but the accommodations are a little rustic and sparse on creature comforts. Still, I would stay here again.

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Day 5: Lübbenau to Werder

Day Overview: Like yesterday and tomorrow, today is sunny and flat. We did find what I consider the worst of all riding conditions; deep sand. However, there are only a few spots of sand in a 2.5-mile section and with any luck the path will be paved in the future.

Mile 0 (0 km): Frau Halka and her daughter serve us a nice breakfast, we pack up and leave for the short ride to Lübben. We can pick up an alternate of the main bike path just a block away from our Zimmer.

Mile 1.7 (2.7 km): We cross the river with a footbridge. It is one that you can ride over but I advise walking your bike, at least down the back side because the right turn at the end of the bridge is very sharp and if you are not going dead slow, you may die in the ditch just after where you should have turned.

Mile 2.9 (4.7 km): Sand. It is the first time we have seen it ever in Germany (July 2001) and there is much more to come. Soft sand is the toughest riding condition for narrow-tire bikes like mine [I later purchased a new bicycle with wider tires and made this bicycle my "Bier Bike"]. It is even worse than wet cobblestone. This portion is consists of three, skinny, parallel sand tracks that we keep hopping back and forth between to find the firmest track. I bet the tourism office will pave this in a couple years. The good news is that after 2.5 miles, it becomes gravel and it is much easier riding.

Mile 8.9 (14.3 km): After leaving Lübben, we find the path is paved with cement slabs about 3 feet by 9 feet laid widthwise across the path. The name for this type of 'pavement' is Plattenweg. The joints in the concrete jar my fillings lose. Still, it’s better than the sand underneath. This type of road was probably a temporary road made for armored vehicles during the war. We are next to a military exercise area.

Mile 19.6 (31.5 km): In Groß Wasserburg, pay attention to the signs. You want to ride to Leibsch and that means you must bear to the right in the center of town at the three-sided park. If you find you are following a bike sign with a running pig, you’ve missed the turn. (Ask me how I discovered this.)

Mile 28.4 (48.0 km): Enter Alt Schadow. Just outside of Alt Schadow, at the Y in the path, take the left way.

Mile 33.5 (53.9 km): After slogging through some deep, dry sand, we get to Werder. Not remarkable except we stop for the night in Werder. The hotel here has its restaurant about 100 meters away, down on the river. It is an idyllic setting.

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Day 6: Werder to Früstenwalde

Day Overview: We have a flat path today and it is mostly paved though there is a little more sand. We ride 41 miles today before stopping for the night in Früstenwalde.

Mile 0.59 (0.8 km): We leave Werder crossing the Spree near the restaurant where we had our nice fish dinner last night. Once across the river, turn left toward Beeskow and ride over the gently undulating pine forest.

The Holtzzugbrucke

Typical of the narrow roads

Tower in walled city of Breeskow

Wooden Bridge near BrieschtMile 4.6 (7.4 km): In Briescht turn right turn toward a Holzzugbrucke (literally a wooden train bridge).

Narrow road near RocherMile 6.4 (10.3 km): Starting from Rocher, we ride almost 4 miles on a narrow, heavily traveled, shoulder-less road. Cars, buses, and large trucks wait their turn to pass us against heavy oncoming traffic. We ride close together to make their job easier and marvel at their patience. No one honks, or even waives a single finger at us, I guess they are used to sharing the road with bicycles.

Breeskow TowerMile 15.3 (24.6 km): Enter Breeskow whose walls were built in 1321 from brick. As you leave the city, turn right as soon as you cross the tracks. There is a sign here but it is on the wrong side of the road and easy to miss – unless you’re riding on the wrong side of the road. In a couple miles down the road, you’ll again ride on another high-traffic road with automobile traffic. Unfortunately, there are no alternatives.

Mile 28.4 (45.7 km): Our 2001 era map doesn’t show this brand new paved bike path along the left bank of the Spree alleviating about 15-kilometer loop of mostly sandy path through Briesen. As we pass this way, the road is still under construction and we must push our bikes in a couple spots for short distances to avoid the workers and the heavy equipment. But we do get to use the new bike/footbridge over the Spree. On the other side, the path looks as if it will be asphalted for a short distance then reverts to a sandy track that is difficult riding again. Maxa is slowed down so much that she falls over from the lack of speed. Fortunately, the sand is soft and she is not hurt.

Mile 36.8 (59.2 km): Enter Frstenwalde. We stay on the path until the downtown pedestrian zone where we deviate to find a tourist information office.

Mile 40.9 (65.8 km): This is the bridge over the Spree where we will pick up the path tomorrow.

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Day 7: Fürstenwalde to Berlin

Berlin's Nickolivertel on the Spree

Day Overview: Another day of flat, mostly paved bike path. Today, our last, we ride 50 miles (80 km) to the Bahnhof Zoo in the center of Berlin. While riding in large metropolitan areas is not the most fun riding we have ever had, we must admit that Berlin is full of interesting things to see and do. Buy a guidebook from any bookstore or tourist information kiosk and enjoy yourself.

Mile 0 (0 km): We pick up the path at the bridge over the Spree. After riding only 1.3 miles (2.1 km), we arrive at a traffic circle. Take the bike path to the left side (south) as you approach this traffic circle. There are no signs, but we follow other bikers who seem to know the way.

Mile 8.1 (13.0 km): Our map shows a short stretch of sharing the road with traffic in Hangelsberg but not so. I think they have completed more path since the map was last drawn. Watch for signs and turn left on Wulkowerweg towards Mönchwinkel.

Mile 19.7 (31.7 km): We cross over the Autobahn and quickly become confused. Apparently, the bike path is closed for repairs forcing us to decide to follow heavy automobile traffic into Neu Zittau. Then we take the auto bridge across the Spree at 21.7 miles (34.9 km) and pick up a new bike path into Erkner. If I had it to do over again, I would have chosen the closed path; it would have saved us some traffic and confusion. But that is hindsight and if you use too much hindsight while riding your bicycle, you’ll hit stuff you’d rather not hit.

Mile 24.3 (39.1 km): At the traffic circle in the center of Erkner, we dropped down to the shore of Dämeritzee. From Erkner into central Berlin, follow the R-1 signs. In Erkner, you enter the state of Berlin, which is also the city limits, sort of. Erkner is a suburb of Berlin. We try to see if we can take a boat from here the rest of the way into the center of Berlin but we are told, “no bicycles.’ The boatman is rude. He probably liked Communism and went into a depression (from which he still suffers) when the government changed 12 years ago. Unfortunately, for him, he now has to work for a living and he is clearly unhappy about it.

During lunch, we entertain ourselves by watching the boats cruise by with topless sunbathers of both genders. Half of the genders interest me, the other half not. Strangely, Maxa feels about the same. There are so many boats they must all go slow. I wonder why they bother with the expense of boating – there simply is no place to use the boat in such a crowded city. Along the Danube, by contrast, there is excellent boating but few boats. I must be missing something here. Perhaps it is only an excuse to sunbathe.

After our break, we pick our way along the park and rejoin the bike path as it crossed the Müggelspree (nothing to do with the Harry Potter series) between Großer Muggelsee and Dämeritzsee. From there, we are riding on good paths through large parklands until we reach Köpernick, one of the interesting parts of Berlin.

Mile 39.9 (64.2 km): We pass the ferry landing at Pläntewald Park. We would have taken this ferry if we had strictly adhered to the path on the map. We did a little “in-town” riding because both Maxa and her brother Guntram are from Berlin originally and they know it well.

Nickoli Quarter in BerlinMile 41.3 (66.5 km): Maxa's cousin explained that the locals called the island to our right the “Love Island.” Apparently, it is a gathering place for young adults (one would hope they are adults) on warm summer days when clothing can be minimized, or even dispensed with. We could see no activity that might account for such a moniker. We presume that the cousin is exaggerating. Or, maybe we just didn’t look long enough. You know, it’s like missing the bite when one goes fishing. A half-mile further and we have to walk our bikes through a large Biergarten. When we visited Berlin a few weeks ago, we had lunch here and watched the kids jump their bicycles off a ramp into the river.

Brandenburger Tor BerlinMile 47.3 (76.1 km): We ride through the Brandenburger Tor, or the city gate to Brandenburg (All the Spree Bicycle Path signs and stickers display this symbol). The photograph of the Brandenburger Tor is not mine, it is attributed to Werner Kunz with some rights reserved by Werner Kunz .

Berlin's SiegessaeuleMile 48.5 (78.1 km): From the Brandenburger Tor, the path takes us through the middle of the Tiegarten, Berlin’s famous central park. The centerpiece of the park is the Siegessäule, or Victory Column.

Mile 50.0 (80.5 km): We end the tour at Bahnhof Zoologischler Garten, or Bahnhof Zoo as the locals call it. (Germans pronounce it to rhyme with 'bow' in English. After all, they are German and English is hard for some of them. Or, is it that Zoo is not originally an English word and we are the ones mispronouncing it? I always get confused.)

The first thing on our agenda is to off-load our bikes, including losing that heavy wine bottle I have been carrying the entire distance and the jars of pickles and horseradish we purchased in the Spreewald. We need Bier! We are dead tired from a long, hot day. Much of the riding today was through traffic, which is always a bit nerve-wracking. We celebrate our ride with a nice dinner close to Kurfürstendamm and copious amounts of the local brew. Tomorrow, we will catch a train back to our home base in Kassel.

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