A ride from central Berlin, along Karl-Marx-Allee and Allee der Kosmonauten, then east to Hellersdorf. It’s not at all a scenic ride – no Jugendstil villas or Gründerzeit town halls on this side of Berlin – but it does give you some idea of the scale of the Plattenbau apartment blocks in Soviet-era Germany. So much concrete! Even with added balconies and new rendering, en masse they are dreary. As we stopped for Kaffee und Kuchen in a restaurant/billiard bar at the base of one such block, I learned that there was a Plattenbau Museum only a stone’s throw away. Another day, perhaps.
The most surprising thing was how quickly Berlin fell away. Hönow was the end of the U-bahn; shortly after we turned off a major road . . . and suddenly we were in the central wide street of a sleepy village with door arches big enough for horses; a moment later there were viper’s bugloss and cornflowers everywhere.
At Altlandsberg I noticed a nest with what looked like a mechanical arm: a video camera to record the storks’ every move.
Once again, it’s unremarkable but very pleasant cycling. It’s hard to convey the existential delight in bowling along quiet roads under your own power with the whole world around you.
If you like that kind of thing, of course.