10 September 2009

Das ist doch nicht zu fassen!

Yesterday I found myself on a windy S-Bahn station platform in Adlershof, vainly waiting for a train to show up. Lots of other people were also waiting for the same reason. The platform canteen (operated by Deutsche Bahn) couldn't get the hot coffees out quick enough and there was a queue for the freshly made sandwiches. I'm sure the proprietor would have made a huge profit yesterday morning - at least enough to buy one new train wheel. Cancelled trains meant my usual travelling time was trebled and I lost count of the number of times I had to change lines and forms of transport. Anyway ...

I am certainly not the first (and most definitely not the last) traveller to rant and rave about the city's non-existent S-Bahn network (and "S" here stands for 'snail' not 'schnell'). I am not competent to analyse responsibilities and conduct post portems or apportion blame. All the local papers are filled with horror stories and attempts at justification. However, "Hier ist die Hauptstadt" with a public transport "system" reminiscent of the developing world. How does that look to the rest of Europe?

The second picture comes from a border crossing OUT OF one of the East European countries that recently realised its EU-membership ambitions. If the truth be told, I can't for the life of me remember which country this was: they have all blended into a homogeneous mass, with similar behavioural traits (which makes a nonsense of so-called 'national' customs-cultures-traditons). Perhaps the powers-that-be in this fledgling EU-state looked to Berlin for guidance in how to be a good European and decided that they had to create transport havoc and chaos. Only then could they be considered 'European'. In any event, I enjoyed the hospitality of No-Man's-Land in baking summer sunshine for a good hour, followed by an interrogation into my smoking and drinking habits. (Incidentally, who would be foolish enough to carry excessive booze and ciggies over the border, knowing that some official will certainly poke about in his car boot and find them???)

Get out your rusty bicycles and dust them off! Rediscover local tourism - find a cycle lane to work. Do something good for your figure and the environment: "on your bike!"

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Squeaky Door by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.