Paris to Berlin BikePacking Trip Report:
5 years ago for my father’s 50th birthday we decided to cycle London to Paris. We completed this trip in three days. This year (2017) we decided that it was time for the next chapter. Paris to Berlin.
Backpacking Paris to Berlin is something we talked about for a long time but from the day I brought the maps to hitting the road was about 2 months. Berlin was a city that neither of us had ever visited but the journey was as much the reward. Three days in Berlin was as the end of a 10 day tour through 4 countries.
On the 12th June 2017 we set off from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to embark on a 10 day adventure through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. We were excited and nervous about the distance ahead of us.
As expected getting out of busy central Paris was a long slog but once you reach the city limits you forget there ever was a city behind you. From there on we were in the countryside for the next 10 days cycling through fields of wheat and barley, or potential beer!
Medium hills for the first 3 days as we pushed for the Belgian border. Days 3 and 4 were the hardest. Travelling through Belgium, given the very hot weather we had, as well as the lack of any useful signage. Progress was slow. Once we reached the Netherlands and onto Germany, the route we had chosen flattened out. This was good given the little training the both of us had put in.
During our 1200km journey and despite not always being on the best roads the only technical problems were two spoke breaking on my rear wheel, which I actually attribute to commuting across the Parisian cobbles.
We found some weird and wonderful place to stay: from apartments in people’s homes, farm houses and even a guest house in the middle of a Dutch wood. As is often written in travel reports like these, thank you to everyone that offered us water, and the hospitality from everyone we stayed with. You were all genuinely interested in our trip despite sometimes the lack of a common language.
A special shutout goes the the owner of a small cafe on the a cycle route 70km outside of Berlin (we had already done 70km, that last day was long.) He provided us with some much needed sustenance with the ‘best’ potato salad in Germany. He was right!
11pm June 21st 2017 we rolled up the Strasse 17 June to the Brandenburg Gate, scraping in on time for our 10 day schedule.
Travelling by bike is slow, but you become part of the area you are travelling through. The sights, sounds, smell and culture of a place, be that a beautiful countryside landscape or a coal refinery on the outskirts of a city. You feel part of the lives and environment that the people there live in.