Number 7 among Berlin’s undergrounds can score with the superlative of having the longest subsurface leading route of Germany’s metros, that is a 31.8 kilometres long tunnel, which was even the most sprawled out tunnel in the world from 1984 to 1988. From northwestern Berlin (Rathaus Spandau) to the southeastern end of the city, that is Rudow, a ride on the U7 needs almost one hour travel time. It diagonal route through the city leads through former West Berlin only and stops at historic gems like Hermannplatz, an underground cathedral being built in 1926. Through the years it got extended several times like modern designed stations Rohrdamm or Mierendorffplatz show, making the U7 so interesting and inspiring that you can even find it in computer games
Why did the U5 run once in West Berlin and what does a Swede have to do with pre-war Berlin? Why do the stations of today’s U5 appear similar and functional? What role played the GDR and what does the U5 have to do with Klaus Wowereit’s still unfinished BBI airport desaster? Like all other also the fifth BVG underground line is unique but also prompts a couple of questions. Its highlight is Alexanderplatz, an underground cathedral from where in the future U5 will extend to join forces with the U55 to finally shake hands with the central train station infrastructure-wise. Reflecting the history of that line one thing becomes apparent: Money played the most important role in life of the U5
Berlin-based bridge Oberbaumbrücke is a symbol for many things: Where nowadays cars, metros and tourists cross Spree River from north to south, was once the border between the East and the West. The former border strip was guided by the course of the river; a route, that today is famous for pleasure boat trips. The towers of Oberbaumbrücke are not only identity-establishing for the directly neighbouring club Watergate, but stand first and foremost for the vicinity of Berlin and Brandenburg. Also in my life Oberbaumbrücke played an important role, as it was my first contact with the West after the Berlin Wall fell down
If it’s rush hour in Prague and you miss a metro train by an inch only, then you merely have to wait 115-150 seconds until the next train pulls into the station. That’s top-notch in Europe, in particular in the background of only 1.2 million people living in Prague. The trains of Pražské Metro bomb along three lines through the underground of the Golden City, connecting old as well as brand-new stations that tell the modern history of the Czech capital
Following the course of Vistula River, Poland’s one and only underground stops at 21 stations in Warsaw’s underground. Consisting of only one single line being in operation, about 370.000 people use the coaches shuttling along the 23.1 kilometres long track. Planning and design actually having started in the 1920’s finally saw and end when in 1995 Metro Warszawskie started operations. It belongs not only to the youngest undergrounds in Europe but also has officially one of the most beautiful stations in the world. Very soon its singlehood will change though as the start of second line operations already loom
Besides being Berlin’s second North-South connection the U8 line is first and foremost a journey through history as well as social structures of the German capital. Beginning at the mystic Märkisches Viertel, having its own rules, the U8 route leads through nowadays central Berlin being annexed by trend victims, parasitic hipster Yankees and new arrived wanna-be Berliners around Rosenthaler Platz, to end at the original Kreuzberg and Neukölln districts, where life in summer happens in the streets, the Mediterranean way, where Berlin’s multi-cultural facet becomes more apparent again
Seabirds are little miracles of evolution and New Zealand is home to a lot of them. At Muriwai Beach and the Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay I spent days with the second rarest gannet species in the world, the Australasian gannet, who is a master aviator and swift as an arrow hunter when it comes to fish. Their chicks are even tougher as when coming of age having no life and hunting experience they start a life-threatening adventure, the Trans-Tasman flight
What do Ebba, Knut, Greta and Elvis have in common? Correct: all of them are true blue, come across the “wrong” side and run in Stockholm’s underground solely. But what sounds a bit like a scattered group of weirdoes is actually black-blue, made of metal and dedicated to transport people: the Tunnelbana, Stockholm’s metro, where every of its coaches has its own name. Quite likeable, isn’t it? But the real gem of the Swedish metropolitan underground is the variety of its stations since in particular the subterranean stops are brought to the fore artistically making every stage telling a very own optically exciting story.