The Berlin - Bremen Tour begins in Berlin which cannot be praised enough for its stunning fusion of old and new, in architecture, and for its vibrant atmosphere. After departing Berlin, we visit Potsdam, the summer residence of Prussian kings and emperors that proudly embraced the nickname Versailles of the north.
Leaving Potsdam we travel to Brandenburg with its historic center on three islands in the Havel River. We follow the very scenic Havel River through a wondrous lake strewn landscape as we enter Sachsen-Anhalt and the city of Magdeburg. Next we cycle through the well preserved little towns with the rustic atmosphere of Europe as it was 60 years ago, as they merge with the new era of small businesses, that was impossible in the old days of state control. At Helmstedt-Marienborg was Checkpoint Alpha, the only and busiest entrance on the road to West-Berlin. From there we arrive in Wolfsburg and the home of Volkswagen for a day off to enjoy and explore the city.
The beauty of smaller cities like Hildesheim, city of roses, almost makes you forget the destruction of WW- ll in the bigger cities along the canal leading away from Berlin. The lions town of Braunschweig has stunningly restored old quarters in this region of beer making and the liquor Jägermeister. In Hannover we find the magnificent neo-baroque new city hall from 1913 amidst one of the most modern city-centers of Germany.
As we near Minden, hub of the German waterways - we sail down the Mittelland Canal and admire the spectacular engineering of the canal bridges over the Weser and Elbe Rivers. As we continue on along the Weser River for 3 days, we can admire the typical half-timbered style farmhouses in the towns of Nienburg and Verden while we meander through the Lower Saxony and its rolling landscape with water mills and paddocks for the horses. Here we end our tour in the beautiful Hanseatic city of Bremen. The city of Bremen is by itself one of the 16 states of Germany and its town hall is on the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites. In this beautiful and lively harbour city - one of the oldest cities in northern Germany - the Angeline finds her destination for this tour in the Weser River.
On a scale 1 (easy cycling) to 7 (very challenging cycling) this tour is between 2 and 3. The landscape is in general that of rolling hills without steep inclines. We will cycle in two groups (short 25-35 miles, long 35-50 miles), each accompanied by a professional guide. Of course you always have the option to sail along with the Angeline. Because of the terrain and of planned minimal distances up to 35 miles, this tour requires more of the bikers than our regular Bike & Barge Tours. Some itineraries are optional depending on biking skills and some destinations are for the long group only. Bike paths and biking lanes are found when approaching towns or cities. Preferably we will cycle on smaller roads with minimal car-traffic, but sections on bigger roads are possible. To avoid hills or traffic we sometimes choose unpaved roads.
The options for the Angeline to drop-off or pick-up in this tour are limited. Most of the beauty on this tour will be found while cycling. Unlike the Netherlands, the docking places - in the river or canal - are in general not in the city center, but up to 10 km from it or just somewhere along the canal or river. The options for city walks in the evenings include the use of public transport.
Tours begin on Saturday in Europe; you must leave the USA on Friday to arrive on Saturday. Guests need to arrive at the barge by 12:00 pm the day the tour starts. On the last day of the tour guests debark by 9:00 am.