Friday, 21 March 2014

Cycling in Brandenburg can be Fläming Dangerous!

First day of Spring and we went for a 60km cycle along the Fläming-Skate, which is the name for a number of inline-skating and cycle paths that can be found in the Fläming region South-West of Berlin. We began at Jüterbog and ended up at Baruth, both serviced by regional trains, so a Brandenburg train ticket and a pair of Fahrrad Tageskarten (bike day tickets) saw us right. It was an invigorating cycle to begin Spring with, though we had to battle with strong cross-winds most of the way around.

'Fläming' might look to English speakers like it is on fire, but is actually pronounced more like 'Flemming', and is so-named for the large number of Flemish folk who settled in the area in mediaeval times. Even knowing this, it was still a shock to see a petrol station named 'Fläming Tank' on the outskirts of Baruth!

Apart from the danger of being pushed off our bikes by the wind, there were other dangers near Ließen:

This is warning you of killer caterpillars hanging in webs in the oak-trees ready to drop on you! Well, maybe not killers, but can cause skin irritation that you don't really want. 'Do not disturb' The sign advises. Fair enough, but then a bit further on the signs changed to these:

This is telling you not to trespass, as it is a former military exercise area, and is warning you of danger to life and health from such things as construction work, underground complexes and ... gulp ... live ammunition. That's getting a bit scary, but heck, the Cold War has been over a long time now, there can't be anything life-threatening left can there?

And then the signs began to get even more explicit:

Stop! Danger Zone (explosives contamination). Righty-oh, got the message. If it's not hordes of itchy caterpillars about to leap onto your head out of trees, it's old Cold War ordnance ready to explode under-foot. Time to get those pedals spinning and get out of here!

At least the wildlife gains something out of warning signs keeping people away; the whole of the former military exercise area is now a nature protection reserve!

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