Thursday, 26 May 2011

Devil's In the Detonator

The great thing about German punctuality is that it acts as a barometer for major events in the city I live in. If the sun is shining in Berlin and a train is delayed, for example, then it's pretty safe to assume that something momentous has happened. I witnessed just such an event today.

I was waiting at Kurfurstenstrasse U-bahn station around 1 p.m. when I noticed that the little countdown timer over the platform was running about 3 times slower than the regular clock, beside it. This would be a disturbingly banal occurrence in the U.K. but not in Germany, where the minor delay was enough to set everybody's feet shuffling with uneasy impatience. The train arrived soon afterwards (a whopping 5 minutes late) but after boarding we found that our troubles weren't over yet. After riding only 4 stops we were all dumped off at Kotbusser Tor in Kreuzberg, where we discovered that no U-bahn trains were running in either direction.

When such a delay occurs in London, one can assume that it has been caused by something as minor as a drunkard spilling his beer on the tracks in Staines. The Berlin transportation network, by comparison, usually has a rather watertight excuse up its sleeve.
In this case, it turned out that an undetonated WWII bomb had been found in the river Spree next to Oberbaumbrucke, where the train crosses from Kreuzberg into Friedrichshain. The bridge was totally shut down so I had to walk from Kotbusser Tor to Treptow Park to get home.

Not that I begrudge BVG the detour any; it gave me some one-of-a-kind photo opportunities, like a picture-postcard view of Oberbaumbrucke without any traffic on it (above). The midday heatwave also forced me to eat all my ice cream in a park before it melted - for shame! - and while I was doing that, I caught a glimpse of a worker smoking a fag outside the Treptow watchtower (right). It seems that the guardians at Berliner Mauer have gotten awfully slack since the end of the Cold War...

No comments:

Post a Comment