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A scenic ride through Berlin on the S-Bahn metro

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

With its extensive network and efficient, timed arrivals, Berlin’s metro system, comprised of the S-Bahn and U-Bahn, is one of the world’s best. But hey! Check out that view! A trip across the heart of Berlin, Germany on the S5, S7, or S9 reveals some fantastic scenery that includes many of the city’s most famous landmarks.

For a fantastic trip, start at Warschauer Strasse in Friedrichshain, a neighborhood in the former East Berlin. Purchase a ticket for the A/B zone (2.10 Euros) at the machine on the platform, validate it, and hop aboard a train heading west. Snag a seat by the window on the left side, and let the panoramic journey begin.

En route to the Ostbahnhof, East Berlin’s main train station, the TV Tower (Fernsehturm) looms ahead. Built by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the late 1960s, the sky-high structure is a symbol of the city. Check out the fascinating Communist era tower blocks you pass on the way to the next stop, Jannowitzbrucke. Brucke is German for bridge, and Jannowitzbrucke spans the Spree, the river that runs through Berlin. This means you’re getting close to the heart of the city, next stop, Alexanderplatz. Try to catch site of the World Time Clock on the right side, constructed in 1969, it’s another Berlin icon, and a popular meeting point. Hackescher Markt, with its historic, brick station comes next. Admire details like the circular windows before feasting your eyes on the Berliner Dom, a massive, baroque cathedral on your left, dating from 1905. Now you’re on Museum Island, where, as you cross over, look right to see into the windows of the Bode Museum. You can also catch a fleeting glimpse of the archaeological treasures within the Pergamon Museum, on the left. The next stop, Friedrichstrasse lies in a largely commercial area, stop for a breath before the amazing government buildings start to pop up. With its clear dome and quartet of German flags, the Reichstag will be the first one you spot before the view gives way to dazzlingly modern structures like the Paul-Löbe-Haus, and Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus, and then the less beautiful, but iconic House of World Cultures, known as “the pregnant oyster.” While you’re picking up passengers at the Hauptbahnhof, examine the station’s extraordinary arch of glass panels. After opening in 2006, it became Berlin’s main train station.

Modern residential buildings filling the space between the next two stops, Bellevue and Tiergarten, testify to the lasting influence of Bauhaus design. As you pull out of the latter, look left to spy the Victory Column (Siegessäule), topped by Victoria, its bronze angel. Erected in the late 19th century to commemorate Prussia’s victory in the Danish-Prussian war, the monument was featured in Wim Wenders‘ 1987 film Wings of Desire. Pulling into Zoologischer Garten, the journey’s final, and perhaps most moving landmark comes into view. Look across the platform to gaze upon the bombed-out steeple of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche. Disembark here to have a look at the church’s gorgeous mosaic ceiling, or continue on to Savigny Platz for lunch at Die Zwölf Apostel, Jules Verne, or Paris Bar, before heading back east on the S-Bahn.

Photo taken on Berlin subway originally posted by ‘Solar ikon’

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