|Distance in km||70.6|
|Elevation in m||412|
|Amount of newly ridden kms in Berlin from wandrer.earth||18.3|
Today’s Stage was going to be another one taking place during the social distancing measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. Solo outdoor activity is allowed in Germany, but with a need to keep a minimum distance of about 1.5 m between people. Since I have been completing this Grand Tour solo (except for Stage 22), the first condition was easy to meet. The minimum distance was also easy to meet and only really needed to be met at traffic lights – in these cases, I stopped further away from other people waiting in line with the rules.
Weather-wise, things had taken a cold turn compared to the previous Stage. It was still sunny and bright but with an added cold and blustery northeastern wind. Very chilly so I did not wear shorts for this Stage. Instead, it was the perfect opportunity to use the brand new Zwift Team Type 1 kit that included leg warmers and see how they fare in cold Berlin weather. I didn’t wear overshoes and very much regretted this decision!
I planned a shorter Stage, so – in contrast to the previous two Stages – I did inject basal insulin (but a reduced amount). I also reduced the bolus insulin for my breakfast carbs before heading out. The first bus route of today’s Stage was the M19 that starts at the Grunewald train station. Grunewald houses many large and spectacular villas near small lakes and the large Grunewald forest – many famous (and rich) people have lived / live in this district.
Before starting with this bus route, I paid a visit to the “Gleis 17” (Platform 17) memorial next to the train station. This memorialises the transport of over 50,000 Jews to concentration camps from this platform during the Second World War. It’s a very poignant place to visit right next to such luxurious residences.
The M19 bus route heads onto Koenigsallee from the Grunewald station and the villas on Koenigsallee fade into the boutiques on Kurfürstendamm – the most famous avenue of Berlin. The route passes through Wittenbergplatz and then parallel to the overground tracks on Bulowstraße. The route continues eastwards on Yorckstraße before terminating at the Mehringdamm U-Bahn station.
The next bus route, the 277 bus, started at the S+U-Bahn station of Hermannstraße in what is commonly called “Kreuzkölln”. This is a very hip part of Berlin that encompases the Kreuzberg and Neukölln districts and is quite a contrast to the regality of Grunewald. I made my way to Hermannstraße via the Tempelhofer Feld park where I could see lots of small groups/individuals enjoying the sunshine – at least there weren’t the usual large gatherings in this popular park.
The 277 route heads towards the southwest districts of Mariendorf and Marienfelde before ending at the border between the states of Berlin and Brandenburg. The first section between Neukölln and Mariendorf passed through mainly residential areas before taking a right turn at the Volkspark Mariendorf (Mariendorf Public Park). This looks like a lovely park with some small bodies of water – I will explore this in the future!
The final part of the 277 bus route passes through the industrial part of Marienfelde – mainly the Daimler/Mercedes plant and showrooms on Daimlerstraße – before the residential section. This area full of bungalows continues up to the border between Berlin and Brandenburg along which the Berlin Wall used to pass. In fact, there is a refugee centre nearby that was used for East Berliners escaping to the West.
The end of the 277 bus route meant it was time for a food break, and I ate a homemade energy bar in the sun while keeping my distance from the small groups cycling along the Berliner Mauerweg (Berlin Wall path). I tried to warm up in the sun as well but to little avail so I decided to press on to the next bus route.
The 380 bus route was next. This starts at Saaleckplatz in Lichterfelde and terminates at Rathaus Steglitz. Lichterfelde is a mix of villas and highrise complexes with Saaleckplatz being in the villa section. From here, the 380 route heads north along Ostpreußendamm and Siemensstraße. I passed by a Greek restaurant that was completely burnt down, before crossing the Teltowkanal and heading into the Steglitz district. From here on it was just a matter of following the main streets of Steglitz before getting to its central bus depot at Rathaus Steglitz (Steglitz Town Hall).
After completing the 380 bus route, the final public transport route of this Stage was the N9 bus route which is the night replacement service for the U9 underground train. The U9 was opened in 1961 so that the residents of Steglitz and Wedding could easily reach the centre of West Berlin. The first part of the U9 route passes along the shopping avenue of Schloßstraße and passes the Bierpinsel (Beer Brush) – a unique structure in Berlin and one of my personal favourites.
The next section of the U9 passes through the Friedenau district. There are many buildings from the early 1900s giving Friedenau a rather quaint feel to it. The U9 continues north towards Zoologischer Garten and Kurfürstendamm – the centre of former West Berlin. After a quick pass of Nadja’s alma mater, the main campus of the Technische Universität (Technical University), the U9 passes through the Hansaviertel before crossing the Spree over the Lessingbrücke.
The U9 continues northwards through Moabit and across the Ringbahn tracks via the Putlitzbrücke. This bridge also has a memorial to the deportation of Jews during the Second World War since this station was also used by the Nazis. The final section of the U9 route passed along the main streets of Wedding before terminating at the Osloer Straße station.
With all the planned public transport routes complete, I made my way home where I could properly warm up after this cold stage! I passed by the Gedenkstätte Plötzensee (Plötzensee Memorial) which housed (and executed) prisoners held by the Nazis. The memorial is currently closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak but I plan to visit it and learn more about the history here. There is still a functioning prison on the grounds, separate from the memorial, that houses some 300 prisoners.
I was happy with my blood glucose management during this short Stage. The food stop at Marienfelde was perfect timing because of the extra efforts cycling northwards into a strong headwind! I did not have the usual coffee break to minimise social contacts plus most of the cafes were closed anyway. I will be able to continue with the Grand Tour for now and plan to do so – being able to get outside is very important – but I will ensure that I keep to the rules and cycle extra defensively as well.