|Distance in km||104.5|
|Elevation in m||407|
|Length of Grüner Hauptweg||28.0|
|Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth||32.2|
Nadja and I enjoyed a great two weeks in Malta with some lovely warm weather and catching up with family and friends after more than two years! After the holiday, coming back to Berlin in full autumn mode was a bit tough. While the colourful trees are lovely, the opportunities for cycling are harder to come by. So I had to make the most of a rare sunny day to take on the next Grüner Hauptweg. This route would follow the river Havel northwards from Wannsee to Hakenfelde. A perfect tour for this weather!
This would also be my first Stage as a 40 year old! After I lost my Shaun the Sheep mascot during Stage 10, Nadja got me a replacement Timmy the Sheep for my birthday. So it would be Timmy’s first tour around Berlin.
The lack of exercise during our holiday meant that I needed to inject more insulin (exercise helps my body use the insulin more efficiently). I expected that the shock of exercise would mean my body would quickly become more insulin sensitive, so I made sure that I had extra carbs with me just in case. Before heading out, I reduced both my basal and bolus insulin as a necessary precaution before multiple hours of cycling.
I took the long way towards the starting point of the Grüner Hauptweg at the Wannsee harbour. Checking out the colourful modernist Onkel-Tom-Siedlung (Uncle Tom Estate) is always a highlight! Once I reached the Wannsee harbour, I needed some carbs, so I ate an energy bar and had an energy gel. This was a lovely spot for a break where I could spot many cormorants and other seabirds.
After my little break, I cycled northwards along Wannsee and soon made it to the lovely Strandbad Wannsee (Wannsee Beach Lido). The large sandy beach was reserved for paying bathers (with male and female sections – no mixing at the beach!) back in 1907. After the First World War, it became even more popular and the permanent buildings were built between 1929 and 1930.
The Schwanenwerder (Swan Ait) island with its sailing clubs and marinas is always a pretty sight. The island is full of fancy villas. During the Nazi reign the villas owned by Jewish people were forcibly taken over, meaning that Joseph Goebbels (and other prominent Nazis) could own prime lakeside property. After the Second World War, the properties were returned to their rightful owners (if they could be found).
I cycled along the banks of Wannsee, where there are many small sandy beaches, including the Großes Fenster (Big Window). The paths through the Grunewald forest were lovely, especially as the leaves were changing colour from the summer green to their autumnal yellows, oranges and reds.
There were quite a few inclines along the way that gave amazing views across the lake to the districts of Gatow and Kladow on the opposite side. I also came across the Jaczo Denkmal (Jaczo Memorial) at the peak of the Schildhorn (Shield Horn) peninsula. The memorial was built in 1845 and harks back to Prince Jaxa of Köpenick and his conversion to Christianity.
I reached the northernmost tip of Wannsee and crossed an offshoot of the Havel at the magnificent Stößenseebrücke (Stößen Lake Bridge). I was now ready to explore the Tiefwerder Wiesen (Deep Ait Meadows). I’ve been here before and it’s amazing that such a piece of nature is only a stone’s throw from the major Heerstraße!
I made sure to keep an eye out for water buffalo since they are used for land management in this nature reserve. I saw them in the distance chilling in the sun along with a herd of goats too. Besides the buffalo and goats, the reflections of the trees in the water were also spectacular. This area is a real hidden gem for hikers and cyclists!
I crossed the Havel proper and cycled through Spandau along a fantastic path right next to the river. I was feeling rather hungry at this point so I ate an energy bar near the industrial Südhafen Spandau (Spandau South Harbour).
The rest of the route traced the banks of the Havel all the way to Hakenfelde (Cross Fields). This section is awesome with many lovely bridges and away from traffic – ideal for cyclists. The end of the Grüner Hauptweg was at the Aalemannbrücke (Aalemann Bridge) which was the starting point for Stage 2 of this Grand Tour.
I rewarded myself (and Timmy) for this successful Stage by having a coffee at a lakeside ice cream café near the small ferry that crosses between Hakenfelde and Tegelort. It was too cold for me to have an ice cream so I stuck with the coffee before cycling back home. This was a fantastic Stage with ideal conditions – a great way to get back into the Grand Tour after our holiday. I was also well-pleased with my blood glucose! I can only hope for more of the same for the remaining Stages.