Friday, June 18, 2010

Fresh air and sunshine!

Today is an absolutely lovely day here in Berlin. We haven't had too many, as it's been a very long, cold winter and springs seems to have barely arrived. But today is sunny and gently breezy and perfectly pleasant (it's a high of 25 C, for those of you who speak Celsius; for the rest of us, that's about 77 F).

I decided to enjoy the fantastic weather and take a bike ride around the area. The Grunewald (a huge forested nature area right on the edge of Berlin) is only a few miles away, and there appeared to be many trails through it. So I hopped on my borrowed bicycle and headed off. It took a mixture of sidewalks, bike lanes, and streets to get there, some in busy traffic. This isn't the Netherlands with immaculate bike lanes paralleling every street, nor is it America where you take your chances with oblivious pedestrians or obnoxious cars. Germany is somewhere in the middle, but it was still a bit of a challenge to navigate.

Suffice it to say, I found the Grunewald and was a bit disappointed. The paths indicated were almost all dirt hiking trails, which my old fashioned Swiss street bike, with its handy baskets mounted front and back and little headlamp, was not really designed to take. In fact, Jeff noted that the bike looks a lot like the one Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West rides in The Wizard of Oz!


The only alternative was the main entrance road through the park, and it was not pleasant. It is paved with the ubiquitous rectangular cobblestone, like half the streets in Berlin apparently. I rode it about ½ mile before I decided I couldn't take anymore and turned around. The cobblestones that are so charming to look at, decent to drive on, and tolerable to walk upon are torturous to bike over! I have biked on them briefly here and there in the past, but the nonstop rumbling, bouncing, and rattling was too much. I felt like one of those vintage ladies in the 1930's-40's ads for fat removal machines. I must have lost a bit of cellulite just on that mile alone!

No comments:

Post a Comment