Days 61 – 71 of my cycling journey – June 30 – July 10, 2022
Time for my first vacation from cycling. After two months of cycling, I needed some time off. What better way than to meet some members of my German and Finnish families in Berlin. But before that I had to reach the German capitol. A last dash to Berlin required to cycle 103 km from Lübbenau to Petershagen-Eggersdorf, just outside the Berlin city limits, where I set up base camp for my ten days “in” Berlin.
A reunion with my wife and many of the elderly and not so elderly family members had been planned since I left on my journey. Already in April my wife had booked her tickets and it was an absolute commitment for me to be there on time, better a bit earlier my Germanic traits suggested to me. Consequently, I set off from Lübbenau on June 30 with the intent to reach my base camp in Petershagen-Eggersdorf just outside Berlin. I left the campground early and cycled through the unique “Spreewald” biosphere. It was already hot in the morning and the Spreewald tourist industry started to get ready for another bumper day of ferrying thousands of tourists through the maze of interlocking river branches and channels. This was the perfect day to visit this place since the shades of the meadow trees and the coolness of the water promised reprieve from the scorching sun. I know, since I had been here on a similar day almost 5 years ago. So, I didn’t visit the Spreewald more extensively and instead cycled through a truly wonderful landscape dominated by wetlands and bogs, which showed the amount of surface water in this area. Gradually the landscape changed, and the wetlands and bogs morphed into forests and agricultural lands. With every kilometre closer to Berlin the frequency of settlements dominating the land increased. Had I seen rather few villages the day before it became now an almost continuously occurring sprawl of settlements, consisting primarily of single family detached homes. I had reached the affluent suburbs of Berlin, or as some Germans aptly call it the “bacon” or “gravy” belt of a big city. Endless settlements of single houses with their little front gardens, with dogs barking, the obligatory two coniferous trees or shrubs, and occasionally the most Germanic of all decorations – a colony of garden gnomes. I went into one of these houses and was warmly welcomed by my German cousin and her family. I had arrived a day early.
The following ten days were spent with my wife, son number one, and many of my German family, Berlin branch. Good old friends were visited, and lovely evening meals spent in good company. Sight-seeing was kept to a minimum since I had been visiting Berlin for as long as I can remember. It is also futile to describe Berlin here in this blog, since a vast amount of travel literature has been written about this fabulous, vibrant town. I spent ten days with loved ones, quite a change to the almost ten weeks of solitude I had experienced on my trip so far. Suddenly I was talking substantive matters to real persons, instead of shouting at my navigation device. The ten days passed very fast and suddenly I had to bring my wife to the airport for her flight back to Finland. I had one more night to stay before continuing my voyage.