Well. If you wondered how I made it from Marseille to Berlin within a couple of days, let me give you a hint: public transport:-)) Basically I had always planned things this way, but was never sure, if it was going to work out and if I wasn’t going to change my mind. But it did work out and I did not change my mind – so here is what I did: in Marseille I took a night train to Paris. That was super sweet. I slept well on the train, had great help when loading and unloading all my stuff and am still wondering how a train can ride all night (from 11:30pm to 8:00am or so with only one stop) for a distance another train manages to do in 3 hours. Impressive.
Once arrived in the captial of love I spent 14 very easy going hours cruising around on my bike, drinking café au lait, eating crêpe, writing emails and reading. To proof I was actually really in Paris for less than a day I took the obligatory picture… And then another means of tranpsort: the bus. And yes, go figure – i still am a big fan of trains. Heheh. But I did manage the bus ride from Paris to Berlin (13h), so did everyone else on the fully packed bus and so did my bike. It was certianly less comfortable than the train ride, but it did the trick and got me into Berlin easily.
My favorite story along the way happened at the very beginning: while waiting for the train to leave from Marseille I got talking to the only other person with a bike and bags on the platform and that ended up being super interesting. If ever you thought what I am doing is quite “athletic” or you are impressed about the kilometers I have done so far or the meters of altitude I have managed to climb – forget all about it. Matthieu – the guy I was talking to – is working for one of the French bike magazines (if not the only bike-travel magazine) and was going for something he called “une rando sportive”… So an athletic bike-travel-trip…. It sounded so interesting that I couldn’t stop but ask millions of questions – and this is what I found out: his trip is somthing organized by somebody – and it happens once a year. The initiary changes every year, but the hard facts remain about the same. So this year there were 120 participants expected for this “rando sportive” and it started in Strasbourg and ended somewhere on the French coast (forgot where exactly), crossing Switzerland and Italy. The deal was to do 1200km, including about 22000m in altitude in 120h. So 5 days with somthing between 200 and 300 km of riding (including 4000m climbing) per day, meaning 10 and more hours on the bike each day. And then sleeping in a bivac… Honestly – what I am doing sounds like a piece of cake in comparison:-) Asked about it, Matthieu told me that three women were supposed to particpate and that I can take part next year – he is sure that I can do it – after all, I have now a year to prepare (and train). hahaha.
So. I landed in Berlin and after having visited Marseille for 1.5 days, Paris for some hours, I decided to offer Berlin a bit more time and stay for a week. It started out with a super nice untypical (at least for me) Berlin weekend: a girls weekend (thanks Dany and the girls for making me feel at home!!) with swimming and riding a pedalo on Wannsee, discovering awesome kid’s playgrounds and enjoying nice beer gardens, etc. And after the first impression on how green and how full of water Berlin can be, I did go more urban and downtown for a couple of days. I won’t bore you with the details, but just to give you an overview of the places I have been to in the last couple of days: Charlottenburg, Tiergarten, Mitte (and everything there is to see there), Prenzlauerberg (walked around everywhere, including the Mauerpark and the Watertower park), Kreuzberg (back and forth, including Bergmannkiez, Oranienstr. etc… ), Friedrichshain and Treptow (mainly in the park, enjoying the sun on the little island)… What I was doing in all these areas?? Walk, walk, walk, ride a bike and eat food (sorry, no German food:-)) and changed from Rosé to beer! One thing I would like to point out (and also for you to understand these nonesense pictures): trying to be local and watching the beautiful sunset from an S-Bahn bridge (close to Warschauer Str.). Well, there was no beautiful sunset and all I could see were cranes on Berlin’s skyline. But it was super fun to see all the people hanging out on a random bridge, like it would be the coolest thing to do:-)))
Well – to wrap it up: today I started riding again. I am heading north to the Baltic Sea and am currently at a beautiful lake close to Fürstenberg/Havel. This day has been full with sunshine and lots of rain, endless stretches of great cycle paths through forets and along rivers and canals. My plan is to ride along the German coast for 1-2 days and then along the Polish coast for a good week.
And just for the record – until Marseille I did this (I will not inlcude the kms we did mountainbiking, nor the kms I rode around Paris or Berlin in my statistics, too complicated…):