Bike Ride to the tip of the Spreewald

Paul Sullivan explores Berlin’s industrial edgelands en route to the forests and lakes of the Spreewald…

Heading south-east out of the city (along Hauptstrasse) early on a Saturday morning provides a great introduction to the industrial-leisure complex of Berlin. As wide-eyed party people stream in and out of techno club Sisyphos (a former dog biscuit factory), the ruins of other abandoned Fabriks can be found nearby.

Not all the industry in this area has been abandoned or regenerated. A little further down the road, steam still rises from the giant chimneys of the majestic Kraftwerk Klingenberg, designed in the 1920s by Waltar Klingenberg and Werner Issel, and once the biggest (and most modern) power plant in Europe.

One of the mighty Klingenberg cranes.

From a cement works further along the Köpenicker Chaussee, the ghostly big wheel from the famed Spreepark looms high above the Plänterwald.

The village of Schöneweide was once one of the biggest locations for the local electrical industry - and one of the main bases for electrical giants AEG.

Finally, after 20km or so, the industrial edgelands give way to the rural. Pleasant to finally exchange the roads for forests and lakes, even if the grass and sandy tracks make it slightly tough going.

Much of the route passes through these swathes of gorgeous upright pines.

Admittedly it was not the plan to wind up in the middle of a cow field. Luckily this lot were friendly, even if none of them could help with specific directions.

A couple enjoying an early morning kayak on the Zeuthener See, one of many lakes in the south-east.

Where there are lakes, there are fish. And where there are fish, there are often fishermen.

70km or so later I am officially in the upper Spreewald area. I could join the masses in Lübben and Lübbenau. Or I could unpack my sandwiches right here at this beautiful, sparsely-populated lake and spend the rest of the afternoon swimming, snoozing and reading before catching the S Bahn back to Berlin. Aah.

Paul Sullivan is a Berlin-based writer & travel photographer and the founder/editor of Slow Travel Berlin. His words and images have appeared in…

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