Yes, looking at you, U-Bahn!
We are sitting in bright yellow bus. Tired, but relieved. Weather is rainy, so it’s good to hide somewhere. With around 25 kilometers in our feet, head full of memories and phones full of pictures, we can finally enjoy few hours of rest. It’s sunday afternoon and we are on our way back home from the capital of Germany, where we spent one hell damn amazing weekend!
It was our first bigger trip we absolved together, and we decided to get the most out of it, so we didn’t rely on any company and made everything on our own. That way we could truly experience lively life of Berlin. We stayed in surprisingly comfy room in a peaceful and neat area. Quite a long way to the center, but with metro station nearby it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Oh, how wrong were we. One look to the map of routes of so-called U-Bahn and I seriously started to doubt if we will ever be able to get somewhere. So many lines and indications. Two trains going in the same direction, from the same station and with the same markings, yet somehow stopping somewhere else. Confused signs with arrows pointing to everywhere. And plenty of people trying to find the right way. This all is Berliner metro.
The thing with U-Bahn is, that after a while it gives you a feeling that you know what’s going on here already, and you are more or less able to orientate yourself. And in the very next moment, it punches you in the face (because who could guess that the purple line in our route map – which looks exactly the same as the other purple line – is S-Bahn, and not U-Bahn?). We tried to stay calm nevertheless. After all, we are not alone in this. We were even asked for help with directions by one guy who has been living in Berlin for 8 months. Till now I hope I didn’t send him to the other side of the city…
Anyway, there is more to see than U-Bahn in Berlin. Since we had very limited time, we decided to focus on the most important sights of this city. Our first steps (after walking few kilometers from the station to our accommodation of course) lead us to the Brandenburger Tor aka Brandenburg Gate. This famous monument is a must, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It’s huge, it’s impressive, and it’s admirable. No wonder the place is always crowded with tourists. It’s more than a construction, it’s a symbol.
From there we walked to Alexanderplatz. On the way there we stopped by Holocaust Memorial consisting of 2711 concrete slabs. Sad place reminding us of the war terrors, just like many other places in here. For example – not really sad anymore – Berlin Cathedral. And I have to admit that the beauty of this building stunned me. The architecture is outstanding. Since I took one huge final exam not more than two weeks ago, I couldn’t help myself and started noticing some typical elements of architectural styles like renaissance and baroque, but there is much more. It took centuries to build this beauty, also because it was partly ruined during WW2.
We were planning to visit Fernsehturm, which is a tower offering great view over whole city, but the price was a bit too high for such a short trip. There is even a restaurant inside, but if you want to enter it, the price almost doubles. Just for entrance. Crazy. Having being on Alexanderplatz, we at least stepped into Primark. Three floors of clothes to buy and so many people it’s hard to get through aisles, I have never seen anything like this in my life. Another new experience for me.
When we got back to our short-term home, it was evening already. Still, it would be a shame to not taste a bit of a night life (and German beer), right? There were some restaurants just across the streets. We had a good laugh and even though we didn’t make it long, it got us ready for the next day.
On Sunday morning I woke up at 5 with hope of going for a run, but my plans were crushed by heavy rain. Nevermind, at least I could get my eyes on the map of U-Bahn with relentless determination – we will NOT get lost today. We will take a circular route with minimal switching of the transport and stop at all important places we wanted to see. And, surprisingly, except one map-betrayal at Warschauer Straße, we made it (yes, I actually feel proud of ourselves and no, I don’t find it childish at all).
Our first stop was Kurfürstendamm (and I can’t express my struggle with pronouncing it). Well known street is leading us to its biggest beauty, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Another great reminder of the second world war – damaged by bombing and never rebuilt. I was surprised by its height, I surely didn’t expect that. And the inside is just as amazing as the outside; I don’t even want to guess how long the mosaic on the ceiling had to take to finish.
If there is some place in Berlin known by world and which shouldn’t be missed under any circumstances, it’s Berlin Wall. There is more behind pieces of graffiti art spread all over it. It shows diversity. Every part is expressing individual mood, individual style and individual person; connected and standing together against wrongs of the past. It’s good to take a deep breath and appreciate the uniqueness what this symbol of oppression, but also symbol of freedom expresses.
The last place we wanted to visit was Checkpoint Charlie. It represents crossing point between East and West Berlin. It’s a nice spot taking you to the history thanks to original signs and soldiers holding flags and willing to take pictures with visitors as a main attraction. I just felt sorry for passing cars, because the street was always incredibly filled with people.
And that’s it! We got back to the bus station around 20 minutes before leaving home. I really needed this kind of relax after finals, and I am grateful that I could undergo it with such an amazing person as Sandra. We got through everything together, completed each other where one of us failed and enjoyed the stay to the fullest.
Note: I originally wanted to write this article “some-day-when-I-have-mood-and-time”. But then I realized there is no better date to post it than today, because today is Sandra’s birthday! I wish you all the best on this special day, and thank you for being so awesome!