Bremen - Berlin Tour
Leaving the Hanseatic city of Bremen we follow the scenic Weser River for three days to Minden. There, the river enters Lower Saxony through a ridge and meanders into the friendly rolling landscape with water mills and paddocks for the horses. The typical half-timbered style of the farmhouses can also be admired in the charming towns of Verden and Nienburg. In Minden - hub of the German waterways - we sail up the Mittelland Canal and admire the spectacular engineering of the canal bridges over the Weser and Elbe Rivers.
The beauty of smaller cities like Hildesheim, city of roses, almost makes you forget the destruction of WW-II in the bigger cities along the canal to Berlin. In Hannover we find the magnificent neo-baroque new city hall from 1913 amidst one of the most modern city-centers of Germany. The lions town Braunschweig has stunningly restored old quarters. In this region of beer making and the liquor Jägermeister we finish the first half of the tour with a day off in the Volkswagen capital Wolfsburg.
From Wolfsburg we soon enter Sachsen-Anhalt. Where once was the iron curtain we cycle through a deceivingly peaceful forest over the highway into former East-Germany (DDR). At Helmstedt-Marienborg was Checkpoint Alpha, the only and busiest entrance on the road to West-Berlin. Here, in well-preserved little towns, the rustic atmosphere of Europe, as it was 60 years ago, merges with the new era of small businesses, which were impossible in the old days of state control. After Magdeburg, the canal follows the very scenic river Havel valley. A wondrous lake strewn landscape that ends near the beautiful city of Brandenburg, with its historic center on three islands in the Havel River.
Just before our destination Berlin we visit Potsdam, the summer residence of Prussian kings and emperors that proudly embraced the nickname Versailles of the north. We end the tour in Berlin which cannot be praised enough for its stunning fusion of old and new, in architecture, but surely also for the vibrant atmosphere. This is unmistakably one of the most buzzing of European capitals.
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 10:00 am the day the tour starts. On the last day of the tour guests debark by 9:00 am.