A Berlin bike ride like no other
can believe it already been 25 years. canada goose factory sale That what canada goose uk outlet every American over 40 told me, like a mantra, before I left to cycle where the infamous Berlin Wall once stood. The biggest story of one generation was already just a chapter in canada goose coats the history books of the next.
But that precisely what Germany wanted to avoid. They wanted this 160km long symbol of oppression to be something for the German people and any visitor to Berlin to remember, and thus created the Berlin Wall Trail, or Berliner Mauerweg. The circular route, completed in 2006, traces canada goose black friday sale the former German Democratic canadian goose jacket Republic (GDR) border fortifications uk canada goose outlet that surrounded West Berlin, travelling through the heart of the capital to its suburbs and countryside, packing in nearly canada goose clearance sale half a century canada goose clearance of history over a single day.
With 3 October marking the 25th anniversary of German reunification, I arranged to meet Sascha M who offers cycling tours of the wall through Berlin On Bikes. Although his regular 15km tours take in the main central Berlin sights over 3.5 hours, I organised a private 56km tour, which allowed us to go further along the trail and see some of the rural portions canada goose of Canada Goose Coats On Sale the route.
View image of Bicycles rest against a graffiti covered Berlin Wall (Credit: Credit: Joe Baur)
Berlin on Bikes is headquartered in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood Kulturbrauerei, a popular brewery in a past life that is now a cultural hub with cafes, museums and a theatre. As I waited by the army of tour bikes taking up nearly a city block, M rolled in, dressed casually with a thin scarf around his neck and a light sweat on his forehead. He was a child and teenager of West Berlin with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the wall and its history, as I was soon to learn.
We started off pedalling 2km north to the former Bornholme Strasse Crossing at the B Bridge one of the most infamous crossings between East and West Berlin where about 200m of the graffiti covered wall remains. Anyone watching the news on the night of 9 August 1989 might remember this bridge serving as a backdrop for the thousands Canada Goose online of East Germans pouring over the border, unrestricted for the first time in nearly half a century. Photos from that historic night stand along the bike path.
Another kilometre on is Mauerpark which literally means park where other wall remnants have also become a popular graffiti canvas, Canada Goose Parka thanks to an open invitation from the city to artists to make their mark. Part of Berlin rebirth since Germany 1990 reunification has been to attract artists of every stripe; the very wall that once casted a dark shadow buy canada goose jacket over freedom of expression has now become a place for creativity.
View image of Graffiti artists make their mark on a Berlin park (Credit: Credit: Joe Baur)
At the Bernauer Strasse divide, one cheap Canada Goose of the highlights of canada goose uk shop the Berlin Wall tourist trek, East Germans lived quite similarly to their Western counterparts. During the early years Canada Goose Online of Allied and Soviet occupation, they could cross the street to pick up Western newspapers in what was technically a different country. However, as time went on, crossing this street became increasingly dangerous.
When construction of the wall began along Bernauer Strasse in August 1961, people started to panic. Those who lived on the first floor were able to simply run across the street to freedom. Others living in higher floors would jump out of the window. By the uk canada goose end of October, the www.canadagoosejacketsaleca.com GDR had taken full control of the iconic street, turning the apartment building facades into a temporary wall until something more secure and sophisticated could be installed.
In addition to a replica of what the border actually looked like complete with guard towers one of the more notable memorials here is a modest display with the names of 138 people who died while trying to escape the GDR. The list starts with Ida Siekmann, who perished canada goose store when she leapt out of her third floor apartment onto Bernauer Strasse. She died en route to the hospital from her injuries. It ends with Winfried Freudenberg, who died in 1989 after a failed escape via a buy canada goose jacket cheap homemade balloon.
remember these people being killed as part of my childhood, M grimly noted. was always kind of present. stories continued to pile up canada goose coats on sale as he led me through the streets and Canada Goose sale parks of Berlin. Here was the desolate pile of broken headstones left by the GDR when they had to build over a cemetery; there was the former guard tower, memorialised and maintained by the still living brother of someone who was left to drown in the adjacent Spree River during an escape attempt from East Berlin. We sped across Checkpoint Charlie, formerly the most popular crossing point between East and West and now a favourite tourist spot.
View image of Walking through Brandenburg Gate (Credit: Credit: Joe Baur)
But M had to pause when we reached the Brandenburg Gate, one of Germany most recognisable landmarks since https://www.canadagoosejacketsaleca.com its completion in 1791. Napoleon passed under the Neoclassical arch in 1806 and US president Ronald Reagan gave one of the most famous lines of his presidency here, challenging Gorbachev to down this wall! Prior to 1990, East Germans had been kept away from West Berlin Brandenburg Gate nor could West Germans pass through as Canada Goose Outlet a checkpoint blocked the route. For M cycling through the gate is something he will never tire of simply because canada goose uk black friday he can do it.
The trail continued through cheap canada goose uk the city streets until the sight of a cow signalled that we were in the German countryside. Although the circular trail follows the entire 160km outline of the wall, we were turning off in the Lichtenrade district to take the train back to the centre of Berlin.
notice that the forest on the right side is older than on the left, M said. The left side in East Berlin had been destroyed when the GDR put up the wall.
The paved path sliced through the dense forest with an unseasonably cool summer wind bringing goose bumps to our skin. to believe this was once one of the most militarised borders in the world, right? M asked.
He was right. I couldn imagine pedalling the Pakistan India border where they take pride in their militarisation with daily rituals between the Canada Goose Jackets two armies; nor could I fathom going for a two wheeled jaunt through the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. It all seems like a complete impossibility just as it would have to any Berliner if you suggested cycling the Berlin Wall 25 years ago. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.