A Journey Through Time on the U5 Subway Line
No matter how great and insightful virtual tours can be, especially in Berlin: Once old-style travelling will be possible again and Berlin fills up again with travellers from all over the world (by now we are missing them so much), public transportation comes into focus when preparing a private Berlin tour.
Isn’t public transportation part of the travel experience in big cities, providing insights in every-day life, people? In Berlin it’s also a great way to learn about the city’s diversity as to neighborhoods, lifestyles, architecture … you name it. Berlin offers a very good transportation system being safe and efficient with ten underground lines being a backbone ever since the very first line was opened in 1902. Just recently opened was the prolongation of existing line no. 5 offering great options for your Berlin tour. The line dates back to 1930, originally started from Alexanderplatz and was prolongued several times eastwards. The latest bit is most important as it connects touristic hotspots, running from Alexanderplatz westwards through Museum island and the recently reconstructed palace, Unter den Linden, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, and central station.
So it helps getting to and fro in-between sights, but there’s more to it. The new U5 makes other destinations easy to reach, which were before more complicated to get to. One of those is Stalin boulevard, long renamed into Karl-Marx-Allee, Berlin’s widest boulevard – and the only one still complete, for it was constructed after World War II. It is worth visiting, as it’s a stunning example of what communism once set out to be in terms of architecture, city planning – an grandeur. History buffs will confirm that in case you won’t make it to Moscow, here is a fair Ersatz.
But there is more. Another couple stops on U5 bring you to old Friedrichshain (Samariterstraße), a great in-neighborhood with many bars, rrestaurants and boutiques (and on Sundays a great flea-market!), or to the Stasi museum (Magdalenenstraße) providing insights in East Germany’s secret service and an outdoor exhibit on 1989’s revolution, bringing down both the secret service and the political system. Then, for having been divided, Berlin offers two zoos, both being worth a visit. The East Berlin one is in Friedrichsfelde, U5-station Tierpark. If you’re willing to explore even more, U 5 takes you to typical neighborhoods from communist time, with endless lines of non-descript pre-fab concrete blocks each looking pretty much the same as the next. It’s not quite the most beautiful part of Berlin, but interesting to see and less awful than the western lore about awful communism would have it. But you judge from what you see.