Ever since I could apply some of my German understanding into practice, I’ve been impressed with the BVG’s marketing strategy. Their hilarious billboards really embrace the city’s spirit that comprises lots of contrasts, like comely goth girls surrounding an elderly gentleman in an U-Bahn. Images like that are so successful with the public because we all can relate to this distinct image of an underground Berlin train: eerily empty on a Wednesday night, on Friday evening overcrowded to the extent that makes you think of the London Tube, often stinky, always about to become a venue for some busker’s performance. This is where the life happens. Or rather, this is where the life stops – just for the amount of time you need for your commute you can catch a little moment of thought before you’re back on the busy street, heading on to your destination.
After having amused myself with curiously observing the coincidental company I’d see come and go on my U-Bahn rides as well as having absorbed a good deal of the Berlin urban clichees, I’ve come up with this handy little guide to some of our favorite lines and their direct impact on our personalities.
U8 – All the Berlin Feels
If you chose the U8, congratulations. You know how to do Berlin right. You’re either on your way to Mauerpark’s flea market to splash the cash on that vintage cup you’re most definitely going to drop when you drunkenly stumble back into your apartment, or you’re proudly lurking at some part of your body wrapped up in plastic foil because you just got a new tattoo somewhere around Schonleinstrasse. You also may be holding back tears because of one of the numerous singer-asshole-songwriters hailing from Kreuzberg who continue to break hearts with perseverance that could only be matched by that of the guys who are selling vegetables on Kotti. Every day. Every night. Winter not excluded.
U2 – The Touristy Line
As a fan of the U2, you either must be a hardcore public transport freak aware of all the connections more than the BVG app itself, or you’re the tourist type eager to explore Berlin from east to west, with the holy trinity of visitors’ points of interests: Alexander Platz, Potsdamer Platz, and Zoologischer Garten. You also may just enjoy fooling your friends, making them think you’re all fancy for living in Prenzlauer Berg but you really just there for the 3,90 Italian place at Eberswalder Strasse.
U5 – The Devil in Disguise
If you’re into the U5, you’re a devil in disguise. Supposedly all relaxed and quiet, never too crowded or popular, it’s really an underground portal to the infamous Friedrichshain. Instead of reaching Warschauer Strasse directly with the S-Bahn or the U1, you sneak up to this upheld mecca for all things party from the direction of Frankfurter Tor, which enables you to visit a few Spätis and already practice some dance moves as well as the few German words you learned exclusively to speak with the club bouncer right as you proceed.
U1 – The Berlin Dream
The straight U1 may look quite inconspicuous to a stranger, but the second time around, you know what it’s all about, and you’ll have to admit that “straight” would be the last adjective to describe it. If that’s your number 1 (no pun intended), you’re living the Berlin dream – buying clothes in gay shops/exclusive boutiques, mastering the art of queueing to Berghain, enjoying the green grass of Gorli. Either that, or instead of relishing the queerness of Nolli you have to study German at the school there, and afterwards end up at Matrix. Hopefully not.
U3 – The students’ Line
Being keen on riding the U3 lines means you’re either a student or you enjoy looking at fancy mansions, as using the u-Bahn and actually living in one of those rarely goes together. At this time of the year, you’re facing life endangering situations daily as you struggle to find your way back to the extraordinary Dahlem Dorf station on the very dimly lit alleys leading to the Freie Universitat. And you doubt the purpose of your life whenever you have to change on the super busy Heidelberger Platz, since the fact that the Ring goes through there makes it the hottest spot for all the commuters with the thrist for knowledge.