Friday, July 26, 2013

Riding Berlin's UBlau

The UBlau. Where we ride a line of the U-Bahn from start to finish, getting off on every stop to discuss, rate, take a pic, and drink. Don't worry, this has been tested on humans. We're not barbarians.

Why would we do this to ourselves again? Haven't I said we're crazy? (Exhibit 1, exhibit 2, exhibit 3...or just read the whole blog). We've done this before, so how bad can it be?



  This was at the first stop people.




 The team:

Lurking...do you see the Jeff?

Our brave English friends joined us once again, plus two American friends, and wonderfully coordinated us.

The drink:

Again, the choice was up to participants but we chose Jägermeister. Infinitely drinkable, great at making our shot glasses sticky, and delightfully medium alcoholic. Our American friends both chose a whiskey version. Daring soldiers.

UBlau Plan & Rules:

On this day we took on the U7. It runs completely underground for a length of 31.8 kilometres (19.8 mi), through 40 stations (whew!). It connects Spandau, via Neukölln, to Rudow.  The name UBlau is a bit of a double entendre for this branch as blau mean blue, both the color of this line  and slang for drunk in German. Don't worry - we already patted ourselves on the back. 
  •  We get off at each stop, take pictures, & rate it.
  • One person takes a shot & a photo at each station. Inventive positions a plus.
  • At stops where there is an intersection, we're calling it a social. Everyone drinks.
This isn't an officially sanctioned Berlin tour, but if you pay us we will definitely drink with you.
OK. Let's ride - First stop! 

Spandau

 We emerged from the S-Bahn to an older gentlemen drinking on a bench. Excellent. Let's head down below to the U-Bahn! 


 


Kirstie 8.5 
Hawkins 8.5
Porter 8
Jeff 9
ebe 6.5

Scores start  high for this elegant station. Must reflect the good mood of all involved. Personally,  I found it a little dark and ominous for my taste, but a self-timer photo catches us all smiling.
 
1st stop!

 

Alt-Spandau

Kirstie 8
Hawkins
Porter 7.5
Jeff8.5
ebe 6

This stop takes its name from Altstadt Spandau, the historic central area of the former independent city of Spandau. Still in a good mood, but this station wasn't quite as nice. Go overground for some better views.





Zitadelle

Kirstie 8
Hawkins 8.5
Porter 8
Jeff 10
ebe 9

I could plaster a whole post with pictures of the Zitadelle UBahn stop. Designed to resemble the citadel's style, this station is all brick, dramatic black and white striped doors, historic maps - this is clearly a UBahn star. Jeff even awarded the station an incredibly rare 10.

Despite the stop's splendor, it was too beautiful a day to spend it all underground. We headed up this Berlin attraction, the Zitadelle (citadel/fortress). Surrounded by a for-realsies moat, this is one of the best-preserved Renaissance military structures of Europe. Built from 1559–94, this bad-ass structure was even used as a prison for Prussian state prisoners such as German nationalist, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (though not for national socialist war criminals as sometimes reported). It is now a museum with lovely grounds, strange things like a bat room, and open air concerts and festivals.


Haselhorst 

Kirstie 7
Hawkins 7.5
Porter 6.5
Jeff 7
ebe 4.5

Ah, the harsh come down of a mediocre station. Luckily, Jeff was able to liven it up. Its name means "hazel eyrie" in English...as if that explains anything.



Paulsternstraße

Kirstie 8
Hawkins 9
Porter 9
Jeff 8.5
ebe 9.5

Ohhhh! Ahhhh! All the hippy goodness of the outdoors, underground. This is like some delightful acid forest connecting you with the rest of  Berlin. I was clearly feeling the vibe. And the station is named after local pub owner Paul Stern (Who? But a big enough deal to have a station named after him).

Rohrdamm

Kirstie 7.5 
Hawkins 7
Porter 7
Jeff 7.5
ebe 7

Rohrdamm's gear-like deco had Ian feeling the robot. Fitting, as the name means "pipe dam" for the  street that was laid out along a water pipe connecting Tegeler See with the water works in Jungfernheide, from which about 250,000 people get their drinking water.
 

Siemensdamm 

Kirstie 8
Hawkins 6
Porter 7.5
Jeff 5
ebe 6

We are all children & giggled mercilessly at poor Siemensdamm. Ha - semen.

The station itself is a bit garish, all bright orange, minty green, blues and reds. I shouldn't be too hard on it though, it is prepared and partially stocked to be used as a fallout shelter that could sustain 4,332 people for 14 days.


Halemweg 

Kirstie 3
Hawkins 3
Porter 3
Jeff 3
ebe 3

The font obsessed Engs were less than impressed with the lackluster and run-down lettering at Halemweg (Check out Ian's post about being a Fontophile). We were unanimous in our dislike of this station.


Jakob-Kaiser-Platz

Kirstie 1
Hawkins 1
Porter 1
Jeff 2
ebe 3.5

You wouldn't think it could get worse after the last station, but this was pretty ugly. Bare. Broken. Jeff was ready to crucify himself if we had to stay there much longer. Even worse, I couldn't find anything interesting about the station.

The rest of the group was outraged about my relatively high 3.5 score, but I had to rank it higher than the last station since this stop has the possibility to improve in the future, while Halemweg will always be ugly (which makes me think of the brilliant Roger Ebert quote about Vincent Gallo - so one good thing).



Jungfernheide


Kirstie 4.5 
Hawkins 5
Porter 5
Jeff 5
ebe 5.75

Kirstie started giving me trouble about quarter points here, but I write the scores so I can write whatever I want Kirstie! Good point though. It is pretty ridiculous.

This grate separating half the platform was puzzling. It didn't appear to be getting worked on....uh-oh. Research reveals the closed platform was intended for an interchange toward the Berlin-Tegel Airport that has never been built.We drank to the truly bizarre situation with Berlin's airports.


 

Mierendorffplatz

Kirstie 6
Hawkins 5.5
Porter 6
Jeff 7
ebe 7.5

This station's design reminded us of Native American designs so I posed accordingly. This is probably in bad taste. 



Richard-Wagner-Platz 

Kirstie 8
Hawkins 6
Porter 6.5
Jeff 6
ebe 6

Thsi station continued the geometric shape theme with Byzantine style mosaics, apparently reminiscent of a former hotel near Potsdamer Platz. 

It just so happened we actually were conducting this ride on 4/20 which has all sorts of strange connotations, most notably a weed appreciation day and Hitler's birthday. At 4:20 we took half a shot for both, or neither, of these things.



Bismarckstraße 

Kirstie 5
Hawkins 5
Porter 4
Jeff 5.5
ebe 5.5
chuck 3

A two-level station, we actually had someone else take our picture so we smiled nice. And Chuck had finally joined the party. Hi Chuck.


Wilmersdorfer Straße

Kirstie 7
Hawkins 5.5
Porter 5.5
Jeff 5
ebe 4.5
chuck 7

The pattern of the tiles on the walls is supposed to resemble a lily which is on the crest of Wilmersdorf. Pretty! The Chuck/Jeff "Big Bad Wolf" picture, however, ain't so pretty.
 

Adenauerplatz

Kirstie 5
Hawkins 4
Porter 3.5
Jeff 3
ebe 6
chuck 5

This station is certainly going for the "A" rating. The letter adorns the walls in stylish type, the geometric ceiling offers an interesting note, but Hawkins isn't really feeling it. Note that is has no elevator and is therefore not completely accessible. Europe would suck if you were physically handicapped.

Konstanzer Straße


Kirstie 7.5
Hawkins 8
Porter 7
Jeff 7.5
ebe 7.25
chuck 7

As a whole, we were feeling the serious 70s vibe and recessed ceiling over the tracks. This was some fine throwback! And thoughtful - the colors of the tiles are also found in the emblem of the city Konstanz. For this pic, find the Kristie!


Fehrbelliner Platz

Kirstie 6.5
Hawkins  9
Porter  7
Jeff 8
ebe 7
chuck 6.5

Ah, back to the ridiculous picture freedom of self-timer. Social!

The station is named after the square, Fehrbellin, where in 1675 the Battle of Fehrbellin between Brandenburg-Prussia and the Swedish Empire took place. Its horseshoe shape was laid out in 1934 and is surrounded by several administrative buildings of the Nazi era, including the former seat of the German Labour Front finished in 1943, today the Wilmersdorf town hall.



Blissestraße 

Kirstie 5
Hawkins 7.5
Porter 6.5
Jeff 7.5
ebe 7
chuck 8

Jeff takes the creeper pose for this stop. An unusual ceiling of "cement caskets" that reflect the light in an unusual way is it's main identifying feature.





Berliner Straße 

Kirstie 4
Hawkins 3
Porter 4
Jeff 3
ebe 5.5
chuck 2.5

Half-way through...whew. Drink. The red curtain coming down


Bayerischer Platz 

Kirstie 4
Hawkins 4.5
Porter 4
Jeff 5
ebe 4.75
chuck 2

At this point we were definitely living up to to the U BLAU title. In a blue station. Fitting. A multi-platform station, the blue is actually symbolic of Bavaria.

Eisenacher Straße

Kirstie 2
Hawkins 4
Porter 4
Jeff 3
ebe 4.25
chuck 5

Chuck risks serious infection by putting his mouth on a UBahn. The green walls are inspired by the nearby forest in Thuringia which is called the green heart of Germany, and is composed of asbestos cement panels. Natural.



Kleistpark 

Kirstie 2
Hawkins 6
Porter 4.5
Jeff 3
ebe 4
chuck 3

Ubiquitous jump shot. Station - yawn. And total honesty? I forgot to write a score for this station. Looks like a 4. Yeah, how about a 4?




Yorckstraße


Kirstie 6
Hawkins 5
Porter 5
Jeff 5
ebe 5
chuck 4

Orangey orange orange. That is what that station is like. Obviously a picture of us is much more interesting.

Möckernbrücke

Kirstie 5
Hawkins 6
Porter 6
Jeff 7
ebe 6.5
chuck 6

Located on the southern shore of the Landwehrkanal, we decided to cheer on our efforts by taking on the form of the classic  cheerleader pyramid...or we wanted to demonstrate teamwork....or we just really wanted to do something different. Either way - this came out awesome. Although the first thing Ian noticed was that all my weight was on him. Sorry big man.

 

Mehringdamm

Kirstie 6
Hawkins 5
Porter 5
Jeff 4.5
ebe 5.5
chuck 1

While this station didn't inspire much love, it's access to the outside world and somewhere to pee was perfect. Thanks station! Chuck gave it serious negative points because he preferred it before the recent-ish remodel.

A bit of station history: Opened in 1924 as Belle-Alliance Strasse, it was re-named in 1946 Franz-Mehring-Straße after the socialist politician. In 1947,  it was again re-named to Mehringdamm.

And the obligatory station pic, although it is still just a picture of us. I cleverly put my self in the picture with a middle finger. Class.




Gneisenaustraße 

Kirstie 3.5
Hawkins 4.5
Porter 4.5
Jeff 3
ebe 4
chuck 2

Ian's pose looks a bit like "Eh, might as well keep drinking". Here, here sir!



Südstern 

Kirstie 6
Hawkins 6
Porter 6
Jeff 7
ebe 5.75
chuck 2

I am at least a partial fan because of the excellent Südstern Brewery located nearby. They have seasonal IPAs

Ian H is clearly showing our metal state at this point. Ewww - Ian! You're on the ground. In Berlin. On the UBahn. That's some serious commitment to Sparklem- I mean UBlau.




Hermannplatz 

Kirstie 9
Hawkins 9
Porter 8.5
Jeff 7
ebe 9.5
chuck 8
This station is our first high-scorer in a while. It's impressive, all pillars, high-ceilings, and bracing yellow. A hub for Neukölln, it is one of the busiest stations on the Berlin U-Bahn system. Brady family approved.


Rathaus Neukölln

Kirstie 5
Hawkins 4
Porter 3.5
Jeff 3
ebe 6
chuck 5




What is this? Is Kirstie on that abandoned door? Oh, yeah.


Clearly, things were getting a little out of hand. Food break! And what a break. Fried chicken so good we were sucking the meat off the bones. Mmmmmmmmmmmm! We actually lived around the corner for a about a week and always admired this place's chicken offerings, but until this day we had not had the opportunity to eat this delicious chic. So good!



________________________________________________________________

SCREECH! This is where this post stopped from shortly after we  rode the UBlau to today. Why? Planning our trip back to the US was simply taking up all of our time and resources and frankly this route was just too long. I even brought the scores with me to the States thinking I might do it while we visited - HA!

The UBlau will ride again, but on a much shorter line. For now, simplified pics and scores to follow!

Karl-Marx-Straße

Kirstie 4
Hawkins 5
Porter 4.5
Jeff 3
ebe 4
chuck 4




Neukölln 



Kirstie 2
Hawkins 4
Porter 4
Jeff 3
ebe 4
chuck 1.5

Grenzallee

Kirstie 4.5
Hawkins 6
Porter 4 
Jeff 3
ebe 4.5
chuck 3

 


Blaschkoallee


Kirstie 0
Hawkins 0
Porter 5
Jeff1
ebe 1
chuck 1


Parchimer Allee


Kirstie 2.5
Hawkins 6.5
Porter 5.5
Jeff 3
ebe 4.5
chuck 4

...lurker

Britz-Süd

Kirstie 5
Hawkins 6
Porter 6.5
Jeff 5
ebe 5.5
chuck 3.5

 


Johannisthaler Chaussee 


Kirstie 1.5
Hawkins 5.5
Porter 4
Jeff 5
ebe 3
chuck 2.5




Lipschitzallee

Kirstie 2
Hawkins 5.5
Porter 5
Jeff 3
ebe 2
chuck 6



Wutzkyallee

Kirstie 3
Hawkins 3
Porter 3.5
Jeff 2
ebe 3
chuck 1.5



Zwickauer Damm


Kirstie 2
Hawkins 7.5
Porter 4.5
Jeff 2.5
ebe 3.75
chuck 1




 

Rudow

Kirstie 3
Hawkins 5
Porter 4
Jeff 4
ebe 4.5
chuck 4

Finally - end of the line.



 

Overall Scores

Top 4 High Ranking Stations 

Most of the time, you go through Berlin's UBahn's stations simply because you have to. The point of this project (besides the epic pics and endless drinking) is to discover our favorite stations in the city. Visit these stations not because you have to, but as a beautiful part of Berlin itself. 


4th Highest Score:
Spandau at 8.1

3rd Highest Score:
Hermannplatz at 8.5

2nd Highest Score:
Zitadelle at 8.6

Highest Score on U7 Line:
Paulsternstrasse at 8.8





For more pictures of the stations and us "acting" increasingly drunk, check out our Facebook albums.


Learn more about Berlin's transport system in our post:


Agree with our rankings? Think we're idiots? Want to participate? All of the above? Tell us about it with a comment below!

Or check out our previous ride: UBlau U1/U3

7 comments:

Federico said...

This is the best project about Berlin I've seen in years. Take that, hipster artists! :D

ebe porter said...

Thanks Frederico! It's no visit to the Barbie house, but you do get a lot drunker.

Funky Wellies said...

Fun blog! :o) Love Berlin, will pop by again.

BavarianSojourn said...

Brilliant!! I totally agree, the subways of major cities are quite often overlooked! I have a bit of an obsession with the Munich U-bahn, which having been built around the time of the Olympics is so retro it's untrue! :D PS. How did you all feel the next day??

ebe porter said...

Thanks Funky Wellies!

@BavarianSojourn I'm so glad you added your blog to BlogExpat as I've found it endlessly fascinating.I've only spent a little time in Munich and really need to make the effort to get to know it better - and it's U-bahn. We felt pretty ok the next day, if a bit lethargic. I guess that means we're profis!

The Diplomatic Wife said...

Hey Ebe is the U Blau a thing Berliners do? Coz if you made it up it's brilliant!!

ebe porter said...

@TheDiplomaticWife UBlau is totally our own invention. A little bit of madness, we can attest that it it masochist fun.

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008