Tucked away in a corner of Berlin that will remain unknown to tourists exists a tiny place called Hackenfelde, north of Spandau. Now, unless you are on a bike tour through north Spandau headed towards Tegel Lake, you are not likely to venture to this area even as a Berlin resident. This takes you to the back of beyond, for me at least, and before you know it, there is a ferry that takes cars to and from Hackenfelde to Tegel proper, crossing the Berliner Oberhavel (Berlin Upper Havel River). The ferry ride is all of three minutes, but when you get off at Hackenfelde, you will end up driving along the Aalemannkanal.
The earliest traces of the name comes from an 1897 document describing the distinctive part of the Havel river which became home to a local fishing club, and by 1906, a few small industries. Aal means eel, and according to etymology dating back to 1590, any formal name of a place that carried the “aal” implied that it was a place where fishing was possible or allowed. Based on all river fowl I spotted, I wouldn’t be surprised there were actually eels still inhabiting the canal, though it was difficult to tell today since the river was frozen.
Inaugurated in 2010, this particular bridge is intended for pedestrians and especially cyclists, and I am willing to bet anything that in summer, when all the trees boast full foliage, it is almost impossible to spot. The only reason I stumbled upon it was because the road emerging from the ferry is so narrow that you have to drive slowly so as not run into the cars lined up in the opposite direction waiting to board. This stretch is of significance to cyclists who are along the Havel Cycling road, which officially also belongs to the Berlin – Copenhagen long-distance cycling road, the Königin-Louise-Route (Queen Louise Route, a preferred holiday route between Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).
Click HERE to read the article with the full set of photographs.