As we venture into December, I still have some catching up to do, so let’s look back to September. Ehem.
I happen to like a good challenge! So what’s better than challenging yourself, spending time outdoors with an amazing friend and seeing a part of your country that you haven’t seen before? I really wanted to do a great bike tour and found me some awesome company for the road: Jana!
So, why am I doing this? This year I had a realization when I tried one of those handy CO2 calculator tools: I fly too much. My overall lifestyle is not that bad compared to the average German, mainly because I don’t have a car, go by bike and travel by train a lot, and try to shop locally produced goods whenever possible. However, the air travel… messes it all up, and puts me back at an above average level.
This summer it had to be an active and environmentally friendly holiday. It was affordable, too, because we already had the bikes and some of the gear and borrowed the tent from my parents. Overall, I spend far too much time indoors, so being in the woods for a few days was really nice for a change.
We decided to go from Berlin to Kiel along the German Baltic Sea coast (which I had never seen before), in order to fit in some much needed visits with friends and some exercise. We covered 400 km! In Berlin, we even managed to squeeze in a Berlin lunch with my friend Steffi, fellow nerd and American studies scholar (and I think she looks a lot like a young Sigourney Weaver).
Then we took off towards my friends’ “House by the Lake” (this is the actual address) near Eberswalde. After adoring their little son and my favorite cute baby Jan for an evening and eating some delicious lentil curry, the actual tour began and we strapped everything on tight for our adventure.
Helmet hair is my favorite style.
Day 1: Britz – Chorin – Joachimsthal – Templin – Fürstenberg/Havel, ca 85 km
For the first leg of the trip, we courageously decided to not take it easy, because it would only get harder later on. So the first day was also the most exhausting day.
We came by statues of the Norns. In Norse mythology the Norns are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men. And women on bikes, I guess.
We stopped by woods on a sunny afternoon a few times to rest.
Our Lunch break was spent dozing by a lake (ok, I dozed off, Jana went exploring).
After a long and quite exhausting day, we finally arrived at our campsite in Fürstenberg/Havel called Am Röblinsee. So far the weather was dry, but we expected rain during the night.
I really liked the design of the huts in the back there. As far as tiny houses go, they might be comparatively easy to construct.
During our trip we mainly ate bread (or fresh rolls ordered at the campsites, good service is not dead yet!), cheese, fruit, peanut butter and jam. We found a delicious kiwi and gooseberry jam at the local supermarket. Also, to make a point about this experience NOT being about losing weight, we assigned ourselves a daily chocolate ration. It was really, really hard to keep up with that.
Day 2: Fürstenberg/Havel – Wustrow – Kakeldütt, ca 32 km
The next day also promised to be rainy. The tent got dry-ish in the morning and we were able to pack it properly. That day we rewarded ourselves with a short distance and a lot of reading time.
During the hardest rain, we had tea (Jana) and coffee (my choice) break at a charming little kiosk in Wustrow.
So we sat under the canopy and watched out stuff get drizzled on. I feel the “barista” really had a good time laughing at our dripping selves, in a very friendly and welcoming manner, of course.
We arrived the campsite Hexenwäldchen in (would you kindly dig the name of this village) Kakeldütt.
There was a lake and goats and piglets at the campsite.
We did not go shopping here.
But we had lunch and some dark beer here.
Jana also sort of talked me into going swimming despite the weather. Obviously she has a much better tolerance for the cold than I do.
Lots of time for reading during the rain (I highly recommend this book and anything by Barbara Kingsolver, such as this piece).
This evening we had a lovely picnic and watched a stunning sunset over the lake. So beautiful.
Of course there was some more rain during the night, but in the morning it was dry again. It really is stunning how much you depend on little things like that, when you don’t sleep in a house anymore. I happen to like camping, but I understand if you don’t. Also as soon as it gets dark, you kinda have to go to bed, because there is not much else to do without light.
That day is really felt like everything was slowing down and I could just relax and let the world move on without me. Exactly what I came for.
Day 3: Kakeldütt – Müritz Nationalpark – Waren an der Müritz – Jabel, ca 45 km
The next stretch was again a shorter one. We went through the Müritz Nationalpark, the largest national park in Germany, which is a gorgeous area and was by far the nicest stretch of nature of the trip.
This is Müritz lake, the second largest German lake.
We even met some other people. A lovely older couple told us about their inspiring active lifestyle. They are also biking (without e-bikes!) and swim in the North Sea every day when they are home. At 85! Life goals.
We got caught in the rain again and took shelter at an ice cream parlor. What a coincidence.
Where we watched other people brave the rain. And had some ice cream. And spiked our tea and milkshake with some of the whisky we brought along, because we were on holiday.
That part of the trip was the wettest by far, but also the last rain of the trip.
Also, we brought some heavy black trash bags for exactly this kind of weather.
This evening we went to campsite C91 in Jabel, near the Toplicht restaurant and had another lovely lake to sit and drink whisky by.
That night was the only one we were cold. However, the next day promised to be warm, so we just waited for the sun to rise high enough to completely dry the tent and pack it away properly, since we would not be needing it anymore.
This afternoon we took our time getting to Güstrow, because my right knee was acting up.
So we took frequent breaks. For example at this gem of a hotel, Gutshaus Linstow. I want to come back some day and stay there.
But our break in Krakow am See was really nice, too. This is where I forgot my favorite aunt’s birthday, because I knew the date but not the day of the week and I had no idea it was a Tuesday. Shame on me.
This is the old castle in Krakow. Very Downton Abbey.
Check out part 2 of the adventure!