First 100km: Eastside Gallery > Dresden

MahinaBike+Train, MahinaJourney2020, MahinaPhotos

Could there be a better starting point for #MahinaJourney than the Eastside Gallery in Berlin? The fall and demolition of the Berlin Wall might be the most important action of re-unification and freedom in our lifetime.

Right after this great picture, I realised that is was quite ambitious to start in Germany’s capital and biggest city. I needed a bit more than an hour, to get out of the city. And most areas are created for cars… not for bikes.

But while waiting in a line, because nobody left space, I met a lady from the Netherlands, who was fascinated by my plans. Immediately, we started a discussion on the different priority of cyclists in different cultures and countries. Let’s say: I haven’t seen any country, where cycling is more fun and safer than in the Netherlands – yet.

It made me a bit proud, when I finally made it out of the city. Time for a break – right next to a lake. It couldn’t be nicer!

After another hour biking on all possible types of road surface, I couldn’t find any nice cycle paths anymore. Riding for two more hours on a busy country road was too dangerous for me. So I decided to take the first train ride with a fully loaded bike.

In the evening, both of us reached Lübben in the Spreewald.

The Spreewald is a 475 square kilometre UNESCO biosphere reserve in Brandenburg. There is a lot of nature, farms and the culture of the Wenden – a Slavic tribe that settled in the region in the 6th century – to experience. Small rivers run through the forest areas. That is why the Spreewald is a popular destination – for cyclists, canoeists and hikers.

Before taking the train, I called several campsites. Most do not offer an online booking system and I was not sure which ones are open and how they handle the Corona requirements.

The third one I reached, was a nice place near Lübbenau, 20 minutes away from Lübben. I had a bit of a luck that their restaurant re-opened yet. So I could taste variations of local gherkins and have an after-work beer, before preparing for the night.

The first night in the tent was the reality check for my equipment. Even though two panniers and a backpack are a lot of stuff, some things are still quite practical. With my tent I made sure, that it was light in colour as well as easy to put up and take down. My mattress has a very small pack size and instead of a sleeping bag I have chosen a light blanket, so that no moisture can collect during the night. Next to that, I can recommend a light pyjama with long arms and legs. It feels comfortable on the skin and you can also walk around the campsite in it, for example on the way to the washrooms.

More about the parts of my equipment > soon on the #MahinaJourney YouTube Channel!

The next morning, I started my way to the old town of Lübbenau and searched for the Gherkins Bike Trail. .

The German Spreewald area is world-famous for their gherkins. There are cucumber fields all around and numerous ways in which they are then processed. After tasting different kind of local gherkins the evening before, one of them became my tour guide for the day. The Gherkins Bike Trail (German: Gurkenradweg) connects the different cities in the Spreewald and offers some very nice views. At temperatures of more than 30 degrees (Celsius), I especially liked the sections through the forest.

Interesting for all bikers: the bridges of the cycle path are currently being renovated as part of an EU project. For now, I was quite happy with my trekking bike on the route. You can find more information on the bike trail here, or just follow the gherkin. But be careful! It is a round trip. So you should also know which direction you want to go.

My first destination for the day was Cottbus. The small university town lies at the lower end of the Spreewald. Since the darkened, I unfortunately didn’t see that much of the city. I only had a short look at the Parkauen Park, but unfortunately I caught the site without entrance. Next time, I would definitely like to take a look at Branitz Castle and the Branitz Park designed by Prince Pückler. In addition, I had planned to ride from Cottbus to Bad Muskau, also to have a look at the park of the prince there. But after a thunderstorm warning, I decided to spend one more night in Dresden. So I ended up in a train again – and was quite happy to see the rain fall while I was sitting in the dry.

Even though I didn’t really think about it when booking, I was quite happy that the hotel has a bike parking space. I had already thought about asking to take my bike to the room. But 20kg E-Bike plus luggage are not very comfortable to carry.