After travelling on Berlin
's beer bus and indulging in the national dish of curried sausage, Jules Lund felt a real need for exercise, sightseeing and meeting some locals.
He was able to do all three in Brandenburg state, 50km south of Berlin. He grabbed himself some inline skates and joined other skaters and cyclists on The Flaeming-Skate. Its 3m-wide track and additional 2m-wide cycle path cover around 210km.
The fine asphalt track goes through Lower Flaeming, Jüterbog, Luckenwalde and the Baruth glacial valley, taking in woods, meadows and fields, well away from noisy traffic. There are sleepy villages, old stone churches and historical windmills, beer gardens, hotels, craft shops and antiques markets along the way.
It's in the heartland of what was communist East Germany and there are some surprises along the way. One of the areas used for skating and cycling was a German-Russian zeppelin air base. Shelter Albrecht has a B&B, coffee shop and museum. What began as a hobby collecting Russian army military memorabilia for owner Helmut Stark has become an obsession and it's worth a stop for coffee and cake at least.
RK1 circuit 94.6km in length is the heart of Flaeming Skating and has some challenging sections.
Beginners have no trouble finding their feet on the RK2 Kilzburg circuit. It's near Luckenwalde and is 12km long and flat. It is easily manageable and there are plenty of places around that have inline skates and bicycles for hire if you suddenly get the urge. You can hop on and off the route as you please.
RK3 circuit runs from Jüterbog via Neuheim and Grüna to Kloster Zinna and presents an unforgettable 11km of skating, culture and history. Jüterbog's medieval town centre and Cistercian monastery are interesting to visit. As is Kloster Zinna's weaving museum.
RK4's 45km track is home to the European championships, and if you want to be on that team you need to be able to reach up to 45km/h.
The draisine is something else again. These light auxiliary rail vehicles speed along the tracks. But once you're on it's not easy to get off as there are draisiners coming up the rear. The first known race was held in 1819, so it's nothing new!
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Flaeming-Skate starts around an hour south of Berlin.
The Flaeming-Skate is free of charge.
Emirates has flights to Munich from:
- Perth $1797
- Brisbane $1821
- Melbourne and Adelaide $1829
- Sydney $1849
These fares are available only online to the first 100 people to book. For more information, visit www.emirates.com/getaway
Prices correct at October 28, 2010.
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Visas: Australians require valid passports to enter Germany, but return tickets and visas are not required.
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Currency: The euro.
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