10 October 2020

20 grüne Hauptwege: Trail 1 - Spreeweg / Berliner Urstromtal (59 km)

Berlin never fails to amaze me, with its vast geographical area, as well as the abundance of things to do. It is also a very green city, with plenty of outdoor activities that one can undertake. One of them is the collection of 20 hiking trails that crisscross town. I decided to do these hiking trails, beginning with Trail 1, also known as the Spreeweg / Berliner Urstromtal.

At 59 kilometres long, this is the longest of the 20 green trails that Berlin has. It follows the Spree River as it bisects the city, from the far western suburbs of Spandau all the way to the eastern neighbourhood of Erkner, through the city centre. Of course, because this is a very long trail, I took several days to complete it.

This trail begins in Spandau. This is a part of Berlin that I don't frequent that often, given its relative distance from the centre. I don't have much business in this part of town. I remember the last time I was here was to visit the citadel, and check out the pretty Old Town, but that was a rare occurrence. In any case, we took a train and a bus to get here, and to get to the beginning of the trail. It is a rather quiet part of the city, with a few Russian immigrants, as well as children playing by the open spaces.

After crossing Rathaus Spandau, the trail follows the river and skirts the grounds of Charlottenburg Palace. Above you can see the Belvedere.

The trail then takes you to the part of the River Spree that is relatively known. After all, this is the scenery that one would see if one takes these river cruises that are geared for tourists. These are buildings that are either workplaces or residential areas that happens to have a fancy view. This section of the trail goes all the way to Tiergarten, where the crowd thickens slightly. After all, it is a pretty part of town.

Next, you'll see some very radical and eye-catching architecture, since the trail now goes through the Regierungsviertel, or the Government Quarter. Famous buildings that house Germany's government can be seen here.

Then, the trail goes further east, crossing Friedrichstrasse. One sees the Bode Museum, as well as the Berliner Dom. I have seen the interior of these buildings before, though seeing them from a different angle and approach is a first for me.

Then the trail goes through familiar turf. East Berlin after all is where I work, and so I see these cityscapes on a daily basis. The Oberbaum Bridge, the East Side Gallery, and the new developments in Berlin's Osthafen are all familiar features for me.

After crossing Treptower Park, the trail slowly becomes more forested again. It traces the southern side of Müggelsee, which is Berlin's largest lake. I have seen plenty of bathers during my visit. And then it goes to very quiet neighbourhoods in the east, and finally it ends in Erkner, outside of Berlin. From there, I took the S-Bahn and headed back to the city.

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