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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

Final Biking Day - Day 13, June 20

We began the day out of Potsdam under a light drizzle and hoped that it would clear up as we continued to Berlin. We passed over the River Hael and over the Glienicke Bridge (also called the Bridge of Spies). where the historical exchange actually took place in 1962 and again in 1985. The river formed the border between East Germany (Potsdam) and West Berlin. After the bridge, we followed bike paths for about 20 km. At this time, it had stopped raining and the sun was trying to make an appearance. Due to rain, our usual arrow markers could not be placed on the street (they were getting washed out). Our guide Anaïs, who was the marker for the day, led us on the first part of the trip.

At the top of a large hill, we stopped to see a large tower monument. Erected to King Wilhelm I, German emperor from 1871-88. What I found interesting about the monument was the bricks at the bottom. They reminded me of Potsdam sandstone and they were made out of sandstone. The tower was called the Grunewald Turm (tower) and was build 1897-99. The tour guides called lunch picnic-rebound because we were having leftovers from yesterday's picnic. One of the bikers was having some issues with his bike, but the two other guides were able to fix his bike and he caught up with us at the picnic. This also gave time for the arrow marker to start and get ahead of us.

After lunch, we all headed ut and next attraction was the Olympiastadion Berlin. We stopped for pictures of the stadium and the Olympic rings. The stadium was used for the 1936 Summer Olympics. The Nazi party decided to use the Olympic games for propaganda while Adolf Hitler wanted a great sports complex. Today it has been renovated and is used by German soccer teams and FIFA World Cup. One of bikers had participated in both the 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics and was going to see if they give tours of the complex.

We biked on through Tiergarten Park to meet our tour leader, Anaïs at the Brandenburger Tor, Berlin (yes, there is a Brandenburg Gate in every city). This monument was built by Prussian KIng Frederick William II, 1788 - 91 to represent peace. Ironically, when Napoleon defeated Prussia in 1806, he used it for a triumphal procession and took the Quadriga (chariot and horse sculpture) that was atop the gate back to Paris. After Napoleon's defeat in 1814, the Quadrica was returned to Berlin. When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the Brandenburg Gate border crossing was closed wit wall on both sides. Only 2 km to the hotel and the entire group of 9 biked all together into the city of Berlin. We were done after 12 days of cycling and 674 km (418 miles) from Copenhagen to Berlin. I wasn't sure if I could do it since we really hadn't biked that long before the trip began. We got into a routine and it began to get easier as we went along.

We decided to go on a boat urise in the afternoon and met up with some of our fellow cyclists. We had an hour cruise on the Spree River of the city and saw the seat of parliament, Reichstag. Along the river, the Tiergarten Park, which we cycled through, could be seen with lots of Berliners relaxing near the river. We also passed the museum island which housed a variety of museums such as Bode, Pergamon, Neues, and the Berlin Cathedral.

After the tour ended, it started to rain, which seems to happen most afternoons. We made it back to the hotel just as it stopped. We changed for our final dinner of the trip. It was bittersweet, but fun. We did have a tour scheduled in the morning, but one cyclist and two of the tour guides were leaving right after breakfast.

Other pictures from Berlin:

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