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  • Writer's pictureLauren O'Bryan

Is this still Germany?

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

After a bit of time off the bike visiting a friend in Hamburg I decided to carry on towards Berlin. My friend suggested that instead of following the Elbe to Berlin, I cycle through the Mecklenburg Lakes area. I did some googling and the area seemed pretty nice so, sure why not. Before I left my friend said ‘Oh and tell me what you think of the area in general, it was a part of the old East Germany’. Alright I’m definitely curious now.

I was pretty glad about the alternative route suggestion, because the weather had warmed up significantly. For a long way the river path along the Elbe isn’t very shady and with the sun reflecting off bitumen, water and mown grass, this was pretty unpleasant. I detoured off towards the lakes and found some beautiful, quiet country roads (see my route). 

The quality of roads began to deteriorate noticeably, potholes and crumbling road edges became more common. Was I even in Germany anymore, where had the beautiful cycle paths and smooth roads gone? Had I accidentally cycled into Poland without realising? There’s a reason for this, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is one of the poorest German states.

While this is in no way an academic assessment, merely a passing travelers observation, it was obvious that the state had been held back and there was still some catching up to do 

Something I certainly wasn’t expecting along country roads in the middle of nowhere was miles and miles of cobblestones. Cobblestones are in my opinion a cyclists worst nightmare, my brain exploded. I had hoped to enjoy some quiet country lanes but instead I’d be crawling along at an agonising snails pace.

My options were limited to crawling along on the cobblestones or pushing through the soft sandy edge of the road. I really hate pushing my bike, 99% of the time I’ll crawl along in the slowest gear rather than push. So I cycled on the cobblestones. I didn’t do any damage to the bike (she’s a tough ol’ nugget), but it was clear I needed to make some adjustments to my panniers that were rattling around and threatening suicide with every jolt.

I decided not to even bother trying to wild camp as there are plenty of campsites in this region, and just tried to find the cheapest one each night. I really didn’t do the region justice and could have enjoyed this area more if I’d researched the trails better.

Nevertheless, I stumbled upon some great off-road forest trails and highly recommend the area. From here I made my way into Berlin where I did some workaway to soak up the famous city for a little longer.


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