50 years of ITB Berlin: a passion for cycle tours

Published on : Monday, November 30, 2015

itb-berlin-2015-logo50 years old and still going strong: in 2016 the world’s leading travel trade show will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Taking as its slogan ’From Berlin with Love’, ITB Berlin has launched a major anniversary campaign in cooperation with the airline airberlin. 50 ambassadors of ITB Berlin travelled to 50 destinations around the world where they met 50 representatives and had fascinating encounters.



Fredy Gareis, a journalist from Berlin, and Bjørn Harvig, a travel writer, met up in Copenhagen. Both are passionate about cycling and have explored many parts of the world on their bikes. They first met each other in Ukraine in 2007 and have been friends ever since. It was Bjørn Harvig who gave Fredy Gareis the idea of cycling from Tel Aviv to Berlin, who has now written about his experiences in a book. Copenhagen was the ideal place to talk about cycle tours and tourism by bike, as the Danish capital has long since become a mecca for cyclists: around 55 per cent of the population cycle to school or work.


What is the reason for you doing exceptionally long and adventurous cycling tours?


Fredy Gareis: When you travel by bike it is easy to meet people, you have an instant connection. There is no need to build up trust like a journalist normally has to do. People think you are either harmless or an idiot for making such an effort: “They only use a bike because they don’t have a car”. So most of them are keen to talk to you.


Bjørn Harvig: You pass roads that tourists normally don’t see. When I arrive at a village, the bike is generally an attraction. In many places people actually want to leave and so they are happy that you have come to visit. What is really surprising to me is how people offer you their friendship without you asking for it. I call them my “unknown friends”.


What have you learnt about yourself during these long trips?

BH: That it’s not about the distance you travel or the speed you go. It’s about trying to focus on being where you are at that moment. Most of the time the things you really want to experience turn out not to be the greatest. It’s at places where you least expect it that something always happens. You learn to give yourself time to stop and get lost.FG: The lesson I have learned is similar to the one a climber has to learn, too. You will get frustrated if you constantly look at the top. Step-by-step is the key.


Source:- ITB Berlin

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