Once again, I did not use the bike to travel for any sightseeing activities. Instead, I rented an Uber Jump bike, and rode around the city on this helpful little creature.
|Travel From||–||Berlin, Germany|
|Intermediate Location||–||Berlin, Germany|
|Ending Location||–||Berlin, Germany|
|Miles Driven Today||–||0 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||1632 Miles|
|New Countries visited Today||–|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany|
Bicycles in Berlin
Berlin is a huge, cosmopolitan city, with a strong car culture. Nevertheless, like a good steward of the air, and the global climate, Berlin strongly encourages its citizens to ride bikes, rather than using their cars. If you’ve got to use a car, use a small car.
As a result, there are bicycles just about everywhere in Berlin. The city of Berlin is mostly flat, with very few hills to contend with, and so I rented a bicycle from the hotel for 12 Euros/Day. After Ben arrived at my hotel in the AM, we headed toward checkpoint Charlie, riding my dilapidated rental bike. It did not take long to discover that the bike was wobbly, poorly fitted to the rider, had a poor shifting mechanism, and was generally in a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, we rode it until we arrived at Checkpoint Charlie.
As we planned to leave Checkpoint Charlie, we decided that I needed a change, and I rented my first Jump bike. Or rather, Ben rented it, as my Uber app would not allow me to interact with the bike-rental portion of the app. For the entire day, Ben had to rent the bikes for me, and I’ll pay him back, once we figure out the overall damage.
The bike assists the rider by applying torque to the wheels, whenever the rider is also applying torque. So, to get it started, you simply start pedaling, and the bike helps. If you stop peddling, the bike continues to help, until you apply the brakes. The Jump bike was awesome, and it really helped me to save my knees, as the dilapidated bike was reeking havoc on their during my morning session.
Now, keep in mind that the Jump bike was the upgrade. So, in order for you to see exactly how much of an upgrade, you really need to see the “bike” that I rented.
Maria is in Berlin?
I met Maria years ago while working for Reuters. We’ve been in and out of contact over the years, but Maria’s been watching my Blog, and when she noticed that I was in Berlin, she reached out, and mentioned that she’s been in Berlin for a couple of weeks, and perhaps we could get together for a beer.
It seemed to me like a perfectly great way to enjoy some sightseeing, so after a few emails, we were to meet at the Berlin Wall Memorial. It took a while to get there, but after many delays en-route, I finally arrived, and we spent the next 4 hours walking through the exhibits, and enjoying a beer in a local beer garden.
Maria is also working on a blog, as she enjoys her time-on-the-road so far, which has been almost a year. We talked about and looked at her Blog, and she wanted to use our meeting, and my regular posts to cause her to start blogging more frequently, capturing all of her escapades as she travels the world.
I wish Maria the best in her travels, and hope that she has a wonderful journey, regardless of the length, route, and final destination.
The hotel is quite nice
Throughout the posts while in Berlin, I’ve mentioned the hotel a number of times. Now, it’s time to set the record straight. So, yes it’s true that this hotel is in a questionable neighborhood, but I think it’s wrong to think of it this way. Actually, the hotel seems to be in a district that has a strong middle-eastern population, but it seems quite safe indeed. I would not leave anything unattended, but overall, there was never a moment when I felt vulnerable, or threatened in any way.
Inside, the rooms are small, but clean and operational. There is no air conditioning, so I was forced to open all the windows at night, in order to let in some cool air, but the night air was very agreeable, and I slept well both nights so far.
The desk staff was very knowledgeable, spoke excellent English, and was overall very helpful with everything that I did. So, I would recommend this hotel, if you’re ever in Berlin.
The Berlin Wall
The story of the Berlin wall is very complicated, as I’ve come to know over the past few days. I’m not able to speak with expertise or authority about the conditions that led to the building of the wall, but I can say that the wall was rather simple, yet mostly effective.
At a high level, the wall was about 12-15 feet tall, and about 18-24 inches think, but both of these characteristics can vary, depending on conditions. That said, the wall compartmentalized Berlin, so that the East German citizens, could not interact with their West German counterparts. This caused the peoples of both East and West to suffer, unable to see their families, and unable to enjoy the free-est of lives.
The wall was built very quickly, and rebuilt over time, when it became apparent that the security level of the previous wall was not enough. Now, so many years after the wall has come down, we look to two intrepid reports, who will tell is what’s happening at the wall.
A brief report from the wall
Cliff launches an escape plan
So, I’m standing there, looking at the wall, reading about all of the folks who attempted and succeeded, or attempted and failed to escape from East Berlin. I got an idea… What if I scaled the wall, and made it to the other side. I’m pretty tall, so maybe I would be able to get over the wall easily, so I gave it a shot.
What will tomorrow bring
Tomorrow should be a simple day, with about 300 miles, and a leisurely arrival in Nurmburg.