Winter bike ride in Brandenburg

By Ruben Alexander

GERMANY – While on holiday in Berlin in December 2015, I borrowed my friends bike and started to explore the part of the former DDR (the former communist East Germany, for those of you who don’t know) just outside the city, starting in Brandenburg an der Havel. It was an interesting experience, due to both the authenticity and picturesqueness of some of the places I saw, and the grimness that could be expected of others.

1. Brandenburg an der Havel Hauptbahnhof (in the Brandenburg state), where I got off the train, and from where I cycled 70 kilometres back to my friend’s apartment in Tiergarten.

2. I was pleasantly surprised by the centre of Brandenburg an der Havel (71,574 inhabitants), especially considering that, like many other German towns, 70% of it was destroyed in WW2. It is in some ways similar to the state capital of Potsdam, but felt more ‘authentic’ to me. This is the Steintorturm (Stone Gate Tower) to the centre’s ‘new town’.

3. The moat surrounding the new town seen from in front of the Steintorturm

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It seems that only the main thoroughfares were reconstructed after the war, as many of the buildings behind them are in a more inconspicuous post-war style (I didn’t make any pictures). But, even though the town’s main square (again, no pictures) is quite ugly, Brandenburg an der Havel is pretty nice as a whole

5. Looking back to the Steintorturm down Steinstrasse

6. A house from 1565 on the Steinstrasse

7. A side street

8. The Hauptstrasse (‘Main Street’), which leads off the western side of the main square

9. Looking back down Hauptstrasse towards the main square and Saint Catherine’s church

10. The Havel river

11. Ritterstrasse, the continuation of Hauptstrasse on the western side of the Havel

12. One of the old side streets on the western bank of the Havel

13. Before we leave town, here’s a view of the ‘Dominsel’, the oldest part of town, which lies on an island to the north-east of the new town

14. Old factories that have been converted to apartments seen from the bridge to the Dominsel

15. On Krakauer Landstrasse, the road out of town

16. Some 10 kilometres to the east, near the village of Saaringen

17. Bus stop

18. Looking back west, a typical Brandenburg landscape

19. The western end of the village of Weseram, the first village which to me felt rather ‘eastern bloc’, though only a bit compared to the next two villages (strangely enough, it felt a bit like an ‘eastern bloc’ version of some villages in the Dutch villages).20. Farmhouse for rent as a holiday house (ferienwohnung)

A semi neo classical style that seems to be typical of this region:

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23. I assume this one is from the DDR era
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25. Overview of the main street26.

27. Weseram´s 18th century church   

After Weseram, I turned right on the L91 main road to Nauen, and took the smaller L92 through the village of Roskow.

28. Roskow’s former station, the railway line has now been replaced by a cycle path

29. One of a few nearby buildings in style similar style to that of the station

30. One of the many abandoned 19th century factories in the region

31. Roskow’s main street, where not even the sound of a dog barking could be heard when there was no traffic on the road

32. Some houses on the main street

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35. The 18th century church

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37. Roskow’s 18th century castle (Gutshaus Roskow)

38. Church in Zachow, the next village down the road

39. A tradional, but sadly derelict house

38. and another one

40. I really like the tall trees that seem to be everywhere in Brandenburg

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42. Front porches like these ones seem to be quite typical of this region

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45. A lake seen from the Brandenburger Chaussee on the way to Ketzin

46. Factory on the edge of Ketzin

47. Former station of Ketzin

48. As a whole, Ketzin seemed a lot more upmarket (and also prettier) than the villages I had passed through up to now, probably because it is on the western edge of Berlin´s commuter zone. It was getting too dark to make pictures though, which is why I only have a picture of this house on Potsdammer Strasse (which obviously goes to Potsdam, which is also where I was going).

I cycled the remaing 50 kilometres back to Berlin via Potsdam in the dark, much of the route taking me through the pitch black forest of Wannsee (which is within Berlin’s city limits).

This entry was posted in Brandenburg, Germany

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