Berlin On Bike

 
Last week First Daughter and I travelled together to Berlin and spent three days in the funky German capital. We both loved the summer atmosphere there and were blessed with fantastic weather.

One of the highlights of our trip was definitely our Fat Tire Bike Tour. We arrived on Thursday half an hour early for the All In One tour we had decided on. After enquiring in the bike rental shop, located at the bottom of the Fernsehturm, we were directed to the guide waiting on the other side. As we approached, my heart sank. He was holding a long list of reservations, something I had not done as it said on their website that it was possible but not necessary. I asked him if we could get on and he replied that the tour was full. As I was frantically trying to find another option the guide came up to me and said to hang around, that he could perhaps sort things out for us. I am glad that we did as they decided to split the group and therefore we could join in. However, neither First Daughter nor I realised that we were getting on the wrong tour…

So it is the Berlin Wall and Cold War tour we went on and it was brilliant. Kevin, our guide, really knew what he was talking about and had lots of facts and anecdotes for us, with the stories at every stop truly compelling. There was also interaction with the group when he asked questions and we came up with our answers or experiences. We started off with Alexanderplatz. I did not know for example that when the sun shines on the globe of the Fernsehturm it makes a cross. There was some questioning about the meaning of this cross and the government at the time came up with “It is not a cross but a plus for socialism”.

We then headed down the imposing Karl-Marx-Allee, where Café Moskau can be found. Our next stop was the wall and the East Side Gallery. You can see a few examples of the fantastic frescoes painted by different artists, but I took many more photos… Our guide told us about the recent outrage when a portion of the remaining wall was torn down to allow the construction of a luxury high-rise complex. The boundaries of the Cold War were shown to us on a map scribbled on the pavement with chalk, where the three checkpoints, Alpha, Bravo and Charlie, were also present. We heard the terrible stories of families and friends torn apart when what was to become the wall went up in one night, with everybody having to stay on the side they happen to be on when they woke up. The death strip looks completely innocuous these days but you can still feel the chill while listening to the tales.

We then cycled to Treptower Park, which holds one of the three Soviet War Memorial built in Berlin to commemorate Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlin in 1945. The impressive monuments and statues are well worth visiting and the place has a particular atmosphere.

After lunch – during which First Daughter and I finally realised our mistake! – we stopped in front of the Axel Springer building, named after the founder of the company that is now one of the major media groups in Europe.

Our last stop was Checkpoint Charlie, which is now of course only a tourist attraction and a bustling area of the town. Hard to imagine that 50 years ago a young East German called Peter Fechter was left to bleed to death right in front of the wall after being shot in the back trying to escape. One of the members of our group had been through the checkpoint in the 80’s and passed around some photos he had taken back then. As you can imagine, it looked quite different!

As we were leaving Berlin early afternoon on Friday First Daughter and I could not get onto another tour, which we regretted. Definitely next time!

 

Fat Tire Bike Tour Berlin

My very approprietaly named bike! Loved the fish too…

Cross on Fernsehturm Berlin

The “Plus for Socialism” cross on the Fernsehturm

Classic Propaganda

Classic propaganda

Cafe Moskau - Karl-Marx-Allee Berlin Cold War map

Cold War Map

East Side Gallery Berlin East Side Gallery BerlinEast Side Gallery Berlin Fat Tire Bike Tour Berlin Guide

Kevin, our guide

Watch Tower Berlin Treptower Park Berlin

Treptower Park

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie

 

 

Berlin Wall and Cold War Tour:
14 km long
Duration is about 5 hours, including the lunch stop
Cost is 24 Euros for adults, 22 Euros for students and pensioners
To make a reservation is a good idea, especially during the summer

 

 

Keep Up With The Jones Family

 

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “Berlin On Bike

  1. Mum in Meltdown

    That sounds an amazing thing to do- I always wanted to do Amsterdam by bike when the kids were older (as it’s totally flat lol) but not sure I would manage it now with the M.E! However, your trip sounds a fab thing for maybe my OH and eldest to do together- your pics are brilliant- really an unusual thing to do! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      It was amazing and we both learned so much. A great way for history to come alive. This whole trip was on flat ground too and the pace was very leisurely, so perhaps you would manage? First Daughter and I highly recommend. 🙂
      Thank you for the compliements on the pics. 🙂 xx

      Reply
  2. ebe

    So glad you enjoyed – lovely pics! We’ve been meaning to take a tour of the city for ages, but you know how it always feels a bit funny when it’s the cit you live in. Berlin has so many secrets though! We’ll have to catch one with our next visitor.

    Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      Thank you! 🙂 I know what you mean, you also always think that you have time and one day you move, and regret not having done these things! To do it with visitors is a good “excuse”, and we really recommend Fat Tire.

      Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      You absolutely must go, and Mr B doing the marathon is the perfect excuse! 😉 I had done city bus tours before but being on a bike, you spot so many more details… and we all know how much I love details!! 😉 Thanks for the compliment on the photos. xx

      Reply
  3. Nichola Fabfortymum

    Oh Katia, I love it. I was in Berlin briefly many years ago now, but my hubby lived there when he was in the army. He was actually in charge of a platoon of soldiers who were based in the now torn down Spandau Prison. His men were some of the last to guard the infamous Rudolph Hess. He always says that he needs to take me back to Berlin to see it properly and I’d love to do the tour that you did.
    24 euros seems exceptionally reasonable for a 5 hour tour. Your photos are brilliant xxx

    Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the post and the photos! 🙂 I love the story of your hubby living there too, fascinating! He must take you back to Berlin and then we could perhaps meet there? 🙂 xx

      Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      Happy it was useful to you! Should you plan a visit and need more infos, you know where to find me… 😉 xx

      Reply
  4. Trish

    This has brought back memories of our Berlin trip a few years ago. I’ve often wondered what bike tours would be like in a city. Sounds great, especially with all the added info from the guide.

    Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      I highly recommend. First Daughter and I very much enjoyed listening to Kevin, and cycling through the city gives it another dimension. xx

      Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      I LOVE it too… Cannot wait to go back. 🙂 Thank you for the compliments. xx

      Reply
      1. Funky Wellies Post author

        You are absolutely right. 🙂 There is so much “material” with history you often know the big facts, but it is the little details that bring these facts alive. So glad everyone is enjoying the pics! 🙂 xx

        Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      Berlin really has a particular atmosphere. It is also very green and designed for cyclists, making it relaxed. Yes, you must go! 😉 xx

      Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      Hi Michelle, thank you for stopping by! 🙂 Very happy you liked the post, off to check out your blog now… 🙂

      Reply
  5. older mum in a muddle

    What an amazing tour that was. When I DJ’ed in the nineties, I used to play a lot in Berlin and would stay with agent who lived in East Berlin…… it was quite an amazing place to be at the time, considering the wall only came down in ’89 ………

    Reply
    1. Funky Wellies Post author

      That must have been fascinating! I do hope we will meet one day and you will tell me more. 🙂 xx

      Reply
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