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Listen, the best way to travel in Berlin is not by tram, bus or train, which is both expensive {unless you abuse the system, which you shouldn’t do, and which I totally didn’t} and super confusing to work out, but by bicycle! I recently spent a five-day stint in the city of bloggers, artists and parliament.

On my first day in the city, I used all trains, taxis, trams and buses and by the time I reached my destination, I was so overwhelmed that I just cried non-stop. The S-bahn and U-bahn gets easier as you go along, but then – as soon as you get off – you still have to navigate the streets. Let me tell you something, one kilometer in Berlin is a communist kilometer! You end up walking five kilometers, even though the map indicates just one. The city’s layout is confusing as heck for a first timer. Here in Joburg, if someone tells you that something is one kilometer that way, it is literally one kilometer in a straight line that way. Berlin, well Berlin isn’t. 
So, I decided that as I had a Berlin Pass, which was about R1800 for two days – but includes free trips and museum entrances and many other things – I would make use of a bike trip with Fat Tire Bike Tours. I had a number of options, but chose the All-in-One City Tour. Best decision I could have made while in the city. Believe me, it is just the best way to travel. 
Our trip started on the Sunday afternoon at 16:00, with Andrew as our tour guide. Now in SA, the sun starts setting not long after that in autumn, but in Berlin autumn – albeit a bit chilly – the sun only really started shining then and shone until 7ish. Our tour lasted well into the night, and I made some solid friends – two New Zealanders named Sam and Angeline – while on the tour.

The tour takes you to see all of the most important landmarks in the city – great, if you do not want to walk yourself to death! – and included highlights such as the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, The Wall, Museum Island and a break in a beer garden, in the middle of Tiergarten, the huge park in the middle of the city.

Our tourguide, Andrew, was like google on wheels and gave so much insight into the history of the city and all of the sites we saw. For history afficionados, like me, it was a real treat. And even when we peppered him with questions, he was still so well prepared to answer them.

The great thing is that you can also rent a bike for about 10 euros a day – or R150 – and explore the city on your own. This is only advisable if you do not mind getting lost or treading far.

The next day, I met up with Angeline and Sam (the New Zealanders) and did just that. Angeline was born in South Africa, but her parents moved to NZ when she was 9 years old. However, she still speaks Afrikaans, so we spent the whole day chatting away, while poor Sam understood little more than asseblief and dankie.

TOP TIP: The Europeans drive on the wrong side of the road, so you have to check yourself when riding your bike. Are you on the correct side of traffic and are you in the wrong bike lane {or on pedestrian territory}? I got many foul scowls from German pedestrians because I was not in my lane. It can be very confusing.

Also, if you hear a cling cling cling coming from behind you, it means “Get the hell out of my way!”. All the bikes have little bells on them that warn people that they are about to get hit by a bike. People also don’t seem to like when you ring your bike bell out of enthusiasm. In Germany, it is strictly about business. Don’t be the girl or boy who cried bike bell – you will get such awful looks.

2 Responses to “Berlin Bike Tour”

  1. Nez

    Hi Megan,
    Ah, lovely week you had. We also found the city map to be a bit confusing. I also like to tour the city by bike. It is fun and you see things you wont see when you are in a bus. Its so nice that you even made some friends.
    Chiao,
    Nez

    Reply
  2. Charles

    Hi Megan!

    We are so glad that you had fun with us in Berlin! We aslo think that getting around on bikes totally beats the train/bus!

    Hopefully we will see you again in Berlin!

    Charles
    Fat Tire Bike Tours Berlin

    Reply

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