The journey to start the journey

Boulder to Denver, Denver to Miami, Miami to Berlin.  One car ride, seven buses, and a plane.  I built my bicycle at the Tegel Airport in Berlin.  When will I next pack it up?

Greyhound was on time for the 48 hour ride to Miami.  They even dropped me at the airport so it was simple to leave my cumbersome luggage there overnight and take a bus to South Beach.  I was dreading the heat in Florida in July, but it wasn’t bad by the ocean.  I really didn’t know a thing about South Beach except that with one day in Miami, I should check it out.

Whoa, the architecture was a huge surprise: more Art Deco than anywhere else in the world; the only historic district in the US created in the same century it was built!

DSCN4258 by bryandkeith on flickr

It goes on and on with over 800 Art Deco building in a short walking stretch within South Beach.  OK, really, architecture is the second thing I noticed.  South Beach in a giant flesh show à la Copacabana or Venice, CA.  However, I visited the latter two in winter.  Summer’s a whole different show!  Another notable is Spanish.  Everyone speaks it.  I walked into a Cuban restaurant, was greeted in Spanish, ordered in Spanish, and except for one couple all the patrons in the small café spoke Spanish.  They spoke with funny Cuban accents just like in Cuba.  Imagine that!

DSCN4252 by bryandkeith on flickr

DSCN4275 by bryandkeith on flickr

Even the life guard shack was Art Deco:

DSCN4260 by bryandkeith on flickr

Half way around the world is Berlin via 10 hours of disorienting airplane magic.  Museums and memorials, food and drink, wonderful conversation with Antje.  A welcome beer:

Antjes welcome lunch by bryandkeith on flickr

We did a little shopping too.  I wanted a water bottle cage that holds 1.5 l bottles so we visited Germany’s largest bicycle shop which is the largest bike shop I’ve ever seen.  I wanted cycling maps for Berlin to Bratislava and the Carpathians Mountains so we visited an outdoor shop that makes Denver’s REI look small.  There was even an indoor pool to test paddle boats.  OK, they didn’t have more maps than the warehouse at the Federal Center in Lakewood, but still an impressive collection.  These drawers are full of maps, and that’s just part of their collection:

Drawers of maps by bryandkeith on flickr

And on to sightseeing.  The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was artsy, but the Platform 17 Memorial at Grunewald was particularly moving in its simplicity.  Grunewald was a deportation point for Jews from Berlin to concentration and extermination camps from 1941 to 1945.  For each day of deportation was a section of platform which listed the date, number of Jews, and where they went.  Powerful.

Platform 17 Memorial by bryandkeith on flickr

Platform 17 Memorial by bryandkeith on flickr

Platform 17 Memorial by bryandkeith on flickr

On a lighter note we saw a large, fantastic exhibit of André Kertész‘s photographs and an exhibit on the unbelievable restoration of the Tell Halaf statues after they were destroyed in Berlin during WWII.

Bicycling, bicycling.  This blog is supposed to be about bicycle touring.  Starting soon.  Really soon, like I’ve already ridden from Berlin to Prague…

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3 Responses to The journey to start the journey

  1. Jason White says:

    hola hola,
    So let me get this straight, you took your shirt off in the Miami winter, turned your bike into rolling art-deco, learned Cubanish and then swam to Berlin? Merica! You are really good at keeping up with these posts! Safe travels my friend; I look forward to the prose. 40th Annual Mountain Fair vortex is next week! jason in the dale

  2. kristin says:

    Hey Brian,
    I’m finally reading your blog and trying to make sense of it. Serbia to Sicily to Boulder and back to Germany? I think I’ve got it! Your photos are beautiful. I love how you capture the essence of the place with a nice mix of architecture, food, people and landscape.

    I looked at the photo of you guys hiking your bikes down the stone stairs in Sicily and thought “boy, they are crazy to want to do that!” But then I read the story and realized that it was a necessary endeavor at the end of a dead end road. Now I will say “boy, those roads in rural Sicily sure are crazy!”

    Ramone and I will be thinking of you on Cruiser Rides and at B-man. Maybe we will make some “Brian Keith Margaritas” in your honor.

    Have fun! Safety 3rd!

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