Last Updated on June 21, 2020 by Audrey Scott
Berlin, cut clouds moving quickly. Crisp autumn air. Wide streets. Unfathomable history.
We set out on borrowed bicycles. They give me pause: Audrey’s back tire has a leak and my handlebars wobble like something out of the Wizard of Oz.
I begin to move. My apprehension fades, those handlebars steadier than I imagined.
“It's like riding a bicycle,” I laugh to myself.
The wideness of it all makes me feel unassailable, like I can take on the world. I cannot imagine a better way to consume this city: at street level.
Turkish woman with covered head, her baby in a car seat. Man in rich, forest green velvet pants and a checkered shirt. Maybe he is an artist. Maybe he is today's fashion. Or perhaps he is both.
This is Berlin. This is their home. It speaks freedom, opportunity, possibility.
Everyone is cycling. And most are breaking the rules. Cycling in Berlin is the most un-German of German sports. I’m thankful it's not easy to be called out for my transgressions.
I see a juggler performing at a stoplight. He struggles to make ends meet yet he gives his all at each light change. I drop a few coins into his hat. “Danke schön,” he says with a smile.
There goes Alexanderplatz. To some, Berlin doesn’t have the edge it used to. To me, it still tries to figure itself out. This is oddly loveable.
Our journey: the open air. Our destination: lunch.
“Grazie mille,” we bubble to an Italian waitress as our pizza arrives. Cherry tomatoes, chunks of buffalo mozzarella. My mind wanders briefly to places like Amalfi and Palermo.
If there's a heaven and I make it, I just may cycle the streets of Berlin to get there. And when I arrive, something like this might be waiting for me.
I am thankful for a moment like this — all two hours of it.
8 thoughts on “Berlin on a Bicycle: The World in an Afternoon Interlude”
That pizza looks delicious!
@Jenny: Actually, that particular pie was phenomenal. And well worth the bicycle ride across Berlin to get it.
Did you get to visit the county side while you were there?
Oooo…buffalo mozzarella! Looks absolutely scrumptious.
I decided to pass on TBEX and spend more time with a friend in Berlin. She never mentioned that they had such good pizza there!
@Cathy: We’ve visited Potsdam and a few areas outside of Berlin. But this time around, we’ve focused on combing the city and various neighborhoods, east and west.
@Lola: It was pretty fabulous, but the item that made the surprising difference: fresh cherry tomatoes. In any event, well worth the cycle.
@Laura: I definitely don’t think of Berlin as a pizza town. More for Turkish food. But there are pizza moments and this was definitely one of them. Well worth going out out of the way for. However, we’ve had this pie twice. And the second time, while good, was not great like the first time around. And like I said to Lola, I think the difference was in timing and the freshness of the tomatoes. In any event, I would cycle across Berlin for dÃ¶ner.
Actually, come to think of it, we have.
Berlin is on my bucket list and planning a trip hopefully this summer. It sounds wonderful! Enjoyed reading your adventures.
@Beverly: Certainly, keep Berlin on your bucket list. Great city. And in our experience, where you stay and spend your time will have an impact on your impressions. While living in Prague, we visited Berlin about six times or so. But our most recent visit, we focused our attention in and around Kreuzberg, the neighborhood where our flat was. We also, for the first time, spent a lot of time on our bicycles exploring all the other neighborhoods. For us, this was the perfect recipe. Speaking of recipes, be sure to check out our Food in Berlin: Top 10 Under 5 Euros piece which we just published. Wonderful food.