From Prenzlauer Berg to Prenzlau: A Cycling Trip

Paul Sullivan finds derelict buildings and pretty forests on a 100km bike ride through former East Germany…

One of the first buildings to grab my attention on the way out of Berlin. Contrary to popular belief, it is not run by pandas.
As the suburbs give way to the countryside of former East Germany, old houses sporting un-refurbished facades become fairly 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, which was strictly off-limits to all ordinary Germans until 1989.
The Oder-Havel-Kanal also makes a guest appearance!
More old buildings in the small town of Zerpenschleuse.
This wonderful asphalt “radweg” 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 is a 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.
Chilling on the Grimnitzsee.
Finally, several hours later: an exhausted but jubilant arrival in Prenzlau, which has some splendid old churches, a distinctive Former East ambience and – most importantly for me at this stage – a hotel with decent food and a comfortable bed.