Berlin to Copenhagen on Bike: A Tale of Two Countries
Biking the 650km EuroVelo 7 cycle-route from Berlin to Copenhagen takes you through Germany’s formative, yet cruel and brutal history. A landscape and people that have felt the brunt of successive regimes. Crossing the Baltic to Denmark, you arrive in a country distinct in its separation from time with its thatched-roof farm houses and 16th century baroque churches. In contrast, the Germany that sits on the other side of the sea is a land scarred by time, reshaped by early industrial practices and littered with ugly relics from periods of war and oppression. The bike route is not just a journey involving feat and dedication; it is one that also requires humility as you come to better understand the world around you.
Having lived in Berlin for 10 years, I had often seen the signposts for the EuroVelo7 when exploring the city. I wondered what it would be like to one day just carrying on to see where it would take me. That dream of just not-stopping. Earlier this year, after work had dried up I saw that I had a window to make this trip happen, and so I did it. I packed two panniers, one with a tent, the other a sleeping bag and some clothes, bought a map and set off. It’s advised you take 15 days to do this in order to take everything in. I wasn’t so interested in seeing all that Northern Germany had to offer. I was more interested on pushing my limits, to see how fast I could take this on, while also acknowledging I had work deadlines to come back to, so I set myself a target of five days.
It seems fitting somehow that the route from Berlin to Copenhagen starts at Brandberger Gate, the city’s most iconic landmark. Over the years it has functioned as the start and end points for many. Napoleon marched through these gates on his way to Russia. The Soviets marched through bringing the end to the Second World War. Today it symbolizes the divide that separated the city once during the Cold War. Should you follow the road straight on through the Gate, you would arrive at Brandenburg an der Havel, an old industrial hub a few kilometres beyond Potsdam from where it takes its name.
Nowadays the central area surrounding Brandberger Gate has become besieged by tourists, taxis and trinket salesfolk. Due to the congestion and poor sign-posting I struggled to find the allotted markers, and ended-up following the route through and alongside the famous governmental buildings, cycling waywardly towards the district of Moabit. Getting lost was going to sum up my first day.
If we drawn your interest, feel free to follow Dan Cole's cycling trip on his blog 'An Englishman abroad' and make sure that you click on 'older' at the end of the first page as his adventure fills a total of four pages.
For further interest about our EuroVelo 7 click here.