A cautionary tale to do some research.
One of the things that many European cities do so much better than the UK is cater for cyclists. Renting a bike can be a fantastic and cheap way to explore a city. And, offers a freedom of movement that you just don’t get with public transport.
We have few fonder memories than when we rented bikes in Berlin and did some extremely time and cost effective site seeing.
One gorgeous summers day in Berlin Rach and I, with so much to see and our time quickly running out, rented a couple of bikes and took to the streets armed with a free tourist information map and dwindling supply of euros. We planned a route that would take in some of the impressive and beautiful architecture of the city.
On the list to visit was Victory Column and the surrounding park (Tier Garten). After gaining our bearings and taking a couple of wrong turns we reached the monument and, feeling we’d adequately wrapped our eye holes around the column, made a move to Tier Garten to lie on the grass and soak up some sun.
Cycling through the park watching joggers jogging and dogs dogging we eventually reached a seemingly quiet spot which we deemed suitable for a rest.
Laying back with the sun on our faces, we listened to the city distantly hum with activity, and reminisced on the places we’d been and the things that we’d seen. Most notably an excellent walking tour focusing on the fascinating and harrowing history of the cold war which ended in the Stasi museum. On a side note, the Stasi museum is interesting but extremely unusual in that, the majority of the information in there was stuck to doors which in turn were leant against chairs… and many were exclusively in German. Having visited more recently however, it has been brought up to date and now has some very impressive interactive displays.
Happy in our own little world it was some time before we started to really look around our quiet corner of the park and see the fine folk with which we shared this sunny day.
Silence pursued. We sat still.
Rachel turned tentatively and whispered “Is that guy naked?”
Indeed he was, not more than 50 feet from where we sat, a middle-aged man lay, a hat covering his face with his member gently baking in the August sun.
Then, to our right, we scoped two naked women casually chatting.
Continuing to survey our surroundings we noticed yet more naturists/nudists (not sure on the correct term), laying, sitting and talking. Arses out and tans unsurprisingly even.
It wasn’t until this point that I remembered an episode of QI I’d seen where they mentioned that there was a part of Tier Garten where naturists could relax freely (pull down their pants and fart on all the ants).
I informed Rachel of this memory, which had eluded me until this slightly shocking moment, and it elicited an unexpected response.
Rachel was game! In fact, she was quite pleased about the prospect of taking part. Unfortunately for her, I wasn’t so excited about sharing my pasty buttocks with the world and put the kybosh on this otherwise fun idea.
This is, however, something I regret. Next time we are lucky enough to get to Berlin, I might just join in.