Prenzl’berg to Prenzlau: A Cycling Adventure

Paul Sullivan finds derelict buildings and pretty forests on a long bike ride through former East Germany…

One of the first buildings to grab my attention on the way out of Berlin, prompting the question: is it run by pandas?


As the Berlin suburbs give way to the countryside of former East Germany, old houses sporting un-refurbished facades become increasingly common.


…as do occasional larger abandoned complexes. Not far from here is the Waldsiedlung, a secure housing zone built for the leaders of the former East German government. It was strictly off-limits to ordinary Germans until 1989.


The Oder-Havel-Kanal also makes a guest appearance. Hello!


More old buildings in the small town of Zerpenschleuse.


This wonderful asphalt Radweg (cycle path) provides a lovely short-cut through forests and lakes to Eichhorst in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte region.


The clearest water this side of Kotti. Needless to say, the trees here were thriving.


Eichhorst proved to be the perfect place to grab a bite and watch the boats pootle up and down the Werbelliner Canal.


A little further on is the Werbellinersee itself, part of the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve. It’s the fourth largest lake in Brandenburg and most famous for the hunting lodge on its western shore that was built by King Frederick William IV of Prussia and passed down to Hitler and Honecker respectively.


A school in the pretty town of Joachimsthal.


Lake life on the Grimnitzsee.


Finally, several hours later: an exhausted but jubilant arrival in Prenzlau, which has some splendid old churches, a distinctive former East German ambience and—most importantly for me 100km after leaving Berlin—a hotel with decent food and a comfortable bed.
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