It's rather extraordinary that a country so dominant in motor sports as Germany, only has 2 circuits of Grand Prix status - Hockenheim & the notorious Nurburgring. It's now seemingly forgotten that in the country's desperation for racing circuits, a road circuit was constructed in Berlin, that actually staged a round of the F1 world championship in 1959. The circuit is still visible today, because most of its length, of 2 main straights, were closed off stretches of public autobahn, linked together with tight hairpin bends. So, despite being 8.3km long; about twice the length of a contemporary F1 track, Avus, like an American 'super oval', only had 4 turns! However, the original layout, as first utilised for both cars & motorcycles, when opened in 1921 - was all over 19.5km long, almost all of it being straights. At the spoon-shaped far end of the track, the 180degree North Curve, linking the 2 autobahn sections, was dubbed 'the wall of death' because it had no retaining barrier, & the title proved prophetic for top French driver, Jean Behra, in the 1959 GP. This tragedy & the general unpopularity of banked tracks in Europe, meant this was the last time Avus held the prestigious German Grand Prix. The circuit was revised in a shortened form in the 1980's & 90's to hold German national racing, such as F3 & DTM (German touring car championship). However, there was tragedy again, when Briton, Keith 0'Dor was killed in the European Touring Car race in 1995 - an event that effectively ended the racing life of Avus. For some reason, the wooden grandstand, built between the 2 autobahn sections, was made an historic monument, & if you're brave enough to cross 3 lanes of German traffic, you can sit in it & wonder just what purpose it today serves, but to collect corpses of old pigeons. The round control tower that somewhat resembles a Bosch spark plug, also remains, now a restaurant/motel. The long gone, controversial North Curve, is remembered by a bronze sculpture featuring 2 motorcycle racers from the 1920's, positioned near the roundabout at the control tower end of the circuit...
Built when the U.S. troops were based in Templehof airport following the war - there are two Baseballs / Softball diamonds here.
The diamonds are accessible to the public for free - like a nearby tennis court and a squash court.
Although there are a lot of historical points to see in Berlin, this spoke out to me as a reminder of the history of the city. Picturing U.S. troops, on recreation time well after the war was over - but still based in Germany. Running the bases, in a military base.
(Also, Robert Montogomery's 'Echos of voices in the high tower' Art work is here - built onto the back of the two baseball scoreboards. Very much worth your time)
My favorite sport was ice hockey. Though still skating occasionally I have given up to be an active team member at the age of 24.
But I love to see ice hockey games. The Berlin Polar Bears (Eisbären) play in the top German Ice Hockey League. Last year (photo) they won against Düsseldorf Metrostars.
Play Off begins again in September 2006 with an outside match at Krfeld against the Krefeld Penguins
Equipment: Hire skates during public hours
Excuse, I didn't ride a bicycle in Berlin, I was walking, using public transportation and at the end my car. But I noticed quite many locals on bicycles riding on the streets, bicycle tracks and empty walkways despite it was... cold February. There were quite many bicycle tracks marked with the blue bicycle traffic sign around city.
My top 5 reasons to use bicycle in Berlin (when it gets warmer):
1. it's healthy,
2. large distances from one point of tourist interest to next one,
3. Berlin is a flat city,
4. it seems to be inexpensive,
5. lack of parking places for cars, easy traffic as for 3.5 mln city.
My top 3 reasons not to use bicycle in Berlin:
1. public transportation is very efficient and faster,
2. risk of bicycle theft (very low, I think but... who knows) which means for me additional cost of insurance against it,
3. rains, sunny weather, even in summer can always change.
Equipment: I plan next trip to Berlin when it gets warmer therefore I asked about possibilities of sigtseeing by bicycle. I was told that there were numerous bicycle renters and they used to be very inexpensive in summer.
More: check the link below, please. They say that it costs only 6 eurocents per hour (by the Deutsche Bahn = German Railway Company). Difficult to believe!
Second visit was to see Eisbaeren Berlin play Hannover Scorpions. Great game, wonderful atmosphere. They have a small, intimate (intimidating) arena - 5k bodies approx, when full. But its always full. And very noisy. And very smoky.
I got tickets in advance over the internet. Don't go "on spec".
At the time, one of the top teams. Some very good foreign players. The North Americans definitely NHL level, but maybe a bit too small to make it in that league. Of course, they were quick and very skilful to make up for lack of size!
Much faster and more open than the NHL game. Also, no beer or burgers brought to your seat! However, there's no disco music when the game stops because the fans sing and chant non-stop (egged on by the PA).
Looked at their website when writing this, and I see that Steve Walker and Mark Beaufait from the 02/03 team are still there for 07/08. Must like it there!
Oh, and courage and a sense of adventure (to get you all the way out to the arena in the east of the city, and then back again). Actually, if you know what tram to get its probably dead easy!
Last trip (Feb 03) we took our skates and went to the Eisstadion Berlin Wilmersdorf. Great outdoor skating facility. An oval speed skating pad, with a rectangular hockey/figureskating pad in the middle (fenced off to separate it).
It was about -2C and sunny, so beautiful for outdoor skating - an exotic novelty for Brits, I'm afraid.
We took a taxi to get there, and S-bahn to get back. It was a bit farther than I expected to the station, and we got a bit colder than we would have liked on the walk, but of course the warm, comfortable train was wonderful and took us straight to the Zoo station right by our hotel.
Sorry - no pix!
Equipment: Your own skates if possible. You can hire, but hire skates are usually poor quality.
Warm clothing for when you finish.
Cash for hot drinks and food.
Map to find your way there and back!
The Olympic Stadium complex also contains a cricket ground, with an artificial wicket, and there are now some 100 or so cricketers in Berlin, with 7 clubs making up the Berliner Cricket Komittee. There are matches most weekends, although there is often space in the calendar for friendlies.
Some teams include native Germans and the standard is good. The ground is very close to the German Sport Forum, where the Olympic Bell, replete with tank piercing shell damage, can be found.
The ground is a lovely mature ground surrounded by an alley of poplar trees, with changing facilities, scoreboard and residual crowd ripple from Hertha's nearby Stadium.
Equipment: There are no cricket equipment shops in Berlin.
There were not very many parking lots for bicycles in Berlin's downtown. Usually they were located either among apartment buildings, and in front of larger department stores or some popular among locals other stores. Some bicycle owners used to lock their bicycles to the fence by the entrance to the underground U-bahn stations.
The Schlachtensee is with a 5.5 km round course an ideal running area.
You can meet a lot of runners (and at the weekend also a lot of dogs) every time - summer or winter.
After your run you can take a cool bath in the clear water of the lake.
A nice and not to hard walk is to go arround the Grunewald See
In February 2003 it was extremly cold and the complete lake was frozen. My boy friend lived for 2 years in Berlin and he often was at Grunewald See but he never saw the lake with an ice cap.
Yes, the Berlin Adler play American Football in a German league. When I went to the game they were playing against my friends on the Braunschweig Lions. The Lions won.
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