Monday, February 3, 2014

The U2 UBlau

Once again, we took to Berlin's UBahn to drink and rate our way through an entire line's stations, simultaneously horrifying and amusing our fellow passengers. It's fun for everyone.

Drinking Tour if Berlin UBahn


 The Team:

Along with us, the Engs and our two brave Americans from the last ride, we added two new Americans, promising that we had all made it out alive before.



UBlau U7
 

The drink:

The choice of booze and shot glass is up to participants and while we stuck with our trusty Jägermeister, the other Americans chose whiskey, Jäger knock-off and a variety of small bottles. Ohhhh fancy!

Drinking tour of the Berlin UBahnBerlin Ian Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

UBlau Plan & Rules:

On this Ublau we covered one of the most popular lines, the U2. No - not the band - this Berlin metro line consists of 29 stations at a length of 20.7 kilometers (12.9 miles) and connects the remote Ruhleben terminal station with northern station Pankow. It hits many of the city highlights like eastern city centre Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, plus west city centres Wittenbergplatz and Zoologischer Garten. The route between Potsdamer Platz and Zoologischer Garten was the western section of the Stammstrecke, Berlin's first metro inaugurated in 1902. Alfred Grenander, a Swede, designed many of the stations between 1902 and 1930.

For a Berlin metro map and transport info, refer to my post: Berlin - By Foot, By BVG, By Bike, By Car, By Boat, By Train, By Plane.


The game plan:
  •  We get off at every station, take a pictures, & rate it.
  • A twosome takes a shot & a photo at each station. Creative poses encouraged!
  • At stops where there is an intersection, it's a social and everyone drinks.

Onto the ratings! and if you like a soundtrack, Pharrel's Berlin version of "Happy".

Kaiserdamm

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 2.5
Hawkins 4
Porter 4
Jeff 5
ebe 4
Alex 3
Kate 3
Chuck 5

Average score: 3.8125

Starting on the ring before working our way to the end station of Ruhleben had us begin at Kaiserdamm. As we were majority American, there was some tardiness and feet were cold before we even got started. No matter - drinking will warm us! First social and our attempt at a nice group photo. 

The station is split into 2 tracks so if you come up on the wrong side, you have to take the stairs under the tracks to find your platform = negative points. On the positive side, Jeff was sentimental and gave it positive points for being the first stop. The old softy.

On a historical note, the station was originally opened in 1908 and went through a period of name changes, including the unpopular choice of Adenauerdamm (after unpopular chancellor of West Germany Adenauer) which resulted in protests.

Theodor-Heuss-Platz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn


Kirstie 4
Hawkins 5
Porter 4
Jeff 6
ebe 5.5
Kate 6.5
Alex 6
Chuck 6

Average score: 5.375

In preparation of the Superbowl, there was much talk about the Seahawks and (American) football. Chuck & Jeff embraced that while a young German child looked on. I promised we would entertain.

While another double rails and truly ugly brown and yellow color scheme brought the scores down,  a recent Google mistake using an old name for the station "Adolf-Hitler-Platz" brought interest back up.

Neu-Westend


Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn


Kirstie 5
Hawkins 5
Porter 5
Jeff 4
ebe 5
Kate 6
Alex 4
Chuck 4

Average score: 4.75

Kirstie & Ian perfectly pulled off passing the baton for their pic, but may have jumped the gun a bit as this would have been perfect with the next stop. No matter, I though the wall decor looked a little moldy. Overall, meh.

Olympia-Stadion

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn 

Kirstie 4
Hawkins 3.5
Porter 4
Jeff 8
ebe 3
Kate 3
Alex 5
Chuck 4

Average score: 4.3125

We departed the UBahn into open air Olympiastadion station still partially frozen. Jeff noted that the platform was so empty we wouldn't be able to tell if it was a zombie apocalypse. While most of us were just chilled and unimpressed, Jeff made the excellent point that this station is special because of its proximity to the legendary Olympic Stadium where the 1936 Summer Olympics were held (aka where Jesse Owen defeated Hitler's Aryan athletes - whoa! Scratch that as this fascinating article points out that this is a popular myth).

Ian honored the station by performing an Olympic feat by lifting me into the air. And I almost short-circuit our ride by temporarily losing the notebook....under my bag (refer to accurate facebook re-enactment).

Ruhleben


Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn


Kirstie 4.5
Hawkins 3
Porter 5
Jeff 5
ebe 4.5
Kate 4
Alex 5
Chuck 3

Average score: 4.25

The last stop on the line, only a few of us had ever been out here before. Apparently we weren't missing much. Outdoors with a steaming industrial plant, Alex and Kate showed off their plastic tea cups filled with liquor.

Sophie-Charlotte-Platz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 8.5
Hawkins 9
Porter 7.5
Jeff 8
ebe 7
Kate 7.5
Alex 7
Chuck 8

Average score: 7.8125

After a short ride past the sections we already completed, we arrived at Sophie-Charlotte-Platz slightly warmed and ready to party. We were impressed with the twenty-six large paintings that showed the history of the subway before the First World War.

Bismarckstraße

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 6.5 (5)
Hawkins 6 (5)
Porter 3 (4)
Jeff 6 (5.5)
ebe 5.25 (5.5)
Kate 6.5
Alex 4
Chuck 4 (3)

(Old Average score: 4.6666)

Average score: 5.1562

On the last Ublau we actually visited this station's upper level (scores marked above in the parenthesis). Though this level had a bizarre rainforrest scene, it didn't rate much higher.

Deutsche Oper

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 9
Hawkins 7.5
Porter 6
Jeff 5
ebe 6.5
Kate 8
Alex 5
Chuck 7

Average score: 6.75

Impressive beams, a sculpted ceiling and a look Kate described as "very New York City" had us "ohhing" at this station, but no "ah" for the opera station. I have a feeling we would have been more impressed had we known that the tiles that were a present from the Portuguese ambassador in Berlin and the station was in Rammstein's music video for Mein Teil as well as Run Lola Run. This station is known for a gruesome fire during the 2000 Love Parade which injured 21. It re-opened later that year in a renovated 1906 style.

Ernst-Reuter-Platz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn
 
Kirstie 4.5
Hawkins 3.5
Porter 5.5
Jeff 5
ebe 4.5
Kate 5.5
Alex 3
Chuck 3.5

Average score: 4.375

Chuck described this look as "bottom of pool". Drowning in blue tile, we gave it a jump shot.

Zoologischer Garten

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 3
Hawkins 3
Porter 4
Jeff 9
ebe 2.5
Kate 4
Alex 6
Chuck 5

Average score: 4.5625
In a surprisingly logical move for our state, the Zoo called for a animal pose. I tried out Unicorn. Hawkins was a monkey... I'm at a loss for what others were trying. Bathroom break!

This station is known for touristy stuff like the Zoo and Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, as well as a much darker, seedy past once frequented by the likes Christiane F and Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. 

Wittenbergplatz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 7
Hawkins 4.5
Porter 6
Jeff 7
ebe 6.75
Kate 5
Alex 2
Chuck 6.5

Average score: 5.5937

We felt like we were behind bars here and that inspired us to pose like a tough soccer team...obviously.

If we had made it to the entrance, I suspect we would have been impressed with its grandiose Art Nouveau entrance. It is one of the oldest U-Bahn stations in Berlin, opened on 11 March 1902. We also didn't notice the sign donated by London Transport (distinctive round, red and blue style) in 1952 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U-Bahn.

Nollendorfplatz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn    Kirstie 3.5
   Hawkins 5
   Porter 6
   Jeff 7
   ebe 8
   Kate 6
   Alex 7
   Chuck 3

   Average score: 5.6875 

Our first remarks of "smells like farts" quickly changed as I realized I could clamber up on the vending machine. The worst security guard (which you never see on the UBahn) walked right by while I was on machine. We will never know if he was deliberately not looking or really that bad at his job.

I was also pleased that as this station is above ground with glass walls and art nouveau dome which allows you to observe your surroundings such as the Siegessäule or "chick on a stick". Opened in 1902, this is the only station in Berlin that is served by four metro lines. This was one of my favorite stations, but sadly my fellow riders didn't agree.

Bülowstraße


Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn GIF


Kirstie 6
Hawkins 6
Porter 7
Jeff 7
ebe 7.75
Kate 6.5
Alex 6
Chuck 3

Average score: 6.1562

Once again, this beautiful old station features the art nouveau style and an above ground plan. Heavily damaged by air raids and the Battle of Berlin, the station was rebuilt after World War II. The station was also featured in the god-awful film, Unknown. Negative points.

Gleisdreieck

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 8.5 (7)
Hawkins 9.5 (7)
Porter 8 (8)
Jeff 8
ebe 9 (7.5)
Kate 8.5
Alex 7
Chuck 6

(Old Average score: 7.375)
Average score: 8.0625

Once again, this is a two level station that we had rated before but this time it was even more beautiful because of the snow and setting sun. I think we all regretted our last low scores.

Not so lovely is a moment in this station's history: a major accident occured on September 26, 1908, when two trains collided. One car derailed and fell from the viaduct, killing 18 people and injuring 21. Another interesting factual tidbit is that the building of Berlin Wall resulted in the  lower platform becoming the eastern terminus of the U2. Service didn't resume until November 13, 1993.

Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 2
Hawkins 3.5
Porter 5
Jeff 6.5
ebe 3
Kate 2
Alex 6
Chuck 3

Average score: 3.875

What a name! Apparently it is after the park at the east of the building named in honor of the composer Felix Mendelssohn. Clearly the station itself  did little to impress.

Potsdamer Platz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 7
Hawkins 5.5
Porter 6
Jeff 7
ebe 6
Kate 5.5
Alex 4
Chuck 6

Average score: 5.875

One of the most famous stations on the line also did little to impress us. Luckily we were all feeling pretty chummy at this point and Alex said, "Conversation a 10, but station a 4".

More interesting than the serviceable station is the place above. Potsdamer Platz, painfully nicknamed "The Platz to be" (oof), is a site of major redevelopment and was supposed to be the new Berlin business center. It has mostly been a bust, but is still a fascinating point in Berlin's developing history

Mohrenstraße


Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn


Kirstie 8
Hawkins 7.5
Porter 7
Jeff 7.5
ebe 5
Kate 5.5
Alex 7
Chuck 6.5

Average score: 6.75

Ian and Kirstie embody "not feeling it", but they are lying as we all found the station basically pleasant. First named Kaiserhof and then Thälmannplatz (after communist leader Ernst Thälmann), this station is all red limestone often rumored to be from the interior of Adolf Hitler's Reich Chancellery. Decide for yourself whether you believe.

Stadtmitte

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 7.5
Hawkins 4.5
Porter 6.5
Jeff 6.5
ebe 5.75
Kate 5.5
Alex 5
Chuck 7

Average score: 6.0312

We were all pretty zen at this point. Zen is another word for drunk, isn't it? The most interesting note I found about this station was that the platforms connecting to the pedestrian underpass are colloquially called Mäusetunnel ("mice tunnel"). 

Hausvogteiplatz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 7
Hawkins 5
Porter 5
Jeff 7
ebe 4
Kate 5.5
Alex 4
Chuck 6

Average score: 5.4375

I was pretty sure I could do a handstand without flashing everyone. I was wrong. Lightening bolt save!

Named for the square that has served as city fortification and center of 19th century Berlin's clothing industry, the station has images of the area throughout history.

Spittelmarkt

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 7.5
Hawkins 4
Porter 6.5
Jeff 7
ebe 6
Kate 7.5
Alex 7
Chuck 6.5

Average score: 6.5

The blues of this station reference its location on the Spree. Daylight windows display the river and the official theme is "Berlin and water".

Märkisches Museum

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 7.5
Hawkins 8
Porter 8
Jeff 7.5
ebe 9
Kate 8
Alex 8
Chuck 5.5

Average score: 7.6875

The video of Ian (fake?) falling off the sign is almost as amazing as the picture. Great teamwork y'all!

The station has an impressive vaulted hall and is one of only U-Bahn stations (besides Platz der Luftbrücke) with no central columns. There are twelve mosaics created for the 750th anniversary of Berlin by the GDR government. Exploring the theme "the history of Berlin", there are maps of Berlin from its beginnings as the twin towns of Berlin and Cölln in 1237 to when the murals were put up in 1987 (when it was still East Berlin). Each mosaic is constructed from building materials like stone cobbles, stone, brick, marble, cement, etc.

Klosterstraße

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn GIF

Kirstie 10
Hawkins 8.5
Porter 8
Jeff 8.5
ebe 9.5
Kate 7
Alex 7
Chuck 7.5

Average score: 8.25  


Ian continued the monkey theme from the Zoo and ran wild around the station. I think we all kinda lost our minds here as we accidentally operated this UBlau at a near run. The sub-zero temperatures (one of the coldest days of the year) had us ripping through the stations (and shots) at warp speed.

The station has been well-preserved and received protected landmark status in 1975. We made good use of the historic A-I type car of the U4 line at the northern end of the platform.

Alexanderplatz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 8
Hawkins 7
Porter 7.5
Jeff 6.5
ebe 6.5
Kate 6.5
Alex 10
Chuck 8.5

Average score: 7.5625 

Located at the center of the city's transport, this is one of the busiest transport hubs in the Berlin area and impossible to avoid. It is also one of the largest stations serving the U2, U5 and U8, four Regional-Express and Regionalbahn lines, S-Bahn lines S5, S7 and S75, as well as four ground level tram lines and five bus lines.

Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 5
Hawkins 5
Porter 5
Jeff 4
ebe 4.5
Kate 4
Alex 4
Chuck 5

Average score: 4.5625

"DRUNK," I wrote in the notebook. Astute observation ebe. Luckily, it is life saving work they do at Dolores. Much TexMex was eaten.

This monotone yellow station was named after the German revolutionary communist, Rosa Luxemburg. A martyr for the cause, one of her best known quotes is
"Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently."
(Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden).

Senefelderplatz

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 2
Hawkins 5
Porter 4.5
Jeff 10
ebe 3.5
Kate 3
Alex 4
Chuck 8.5

Average score: 5.0625

A station of grey & white tiles (yawn) that Kate and Alex enliven with a moving UBahn background.

Eberswalder Straße

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 5.5
Hawkins 5
Porter 7
Jeff 10
ebe 8
Kate 6
Alex 4
Chuck 10

Average score: 6.9375

Charming us all, Ian & Kirstie do the Titanic pose (with instructions from Kate). Little do they know Leo & Jonah Hill will do the same thing on SNL hours later. Trend-setters!

This raised station sits at the heart of schmancy Prenzlauer Berg within steps of legendary Currywurst stand, Konnopke. If we had a million dollars and reality shows weren't fake, we could have lived right here in Berlin apartment #3 on House Hunters International.

Schönhauser Allee

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn


Kirstie 5
Hawkins 4.5
Porter 6.5
Jeff 9
ebe 3
Kate 6
Alex 6
Chuck 6.5

Average score: 5.8125

Huddling for warmth in this very busy above ground station, on an average day approximately 500 trains and more than 26000 people cross these grounds.

Vinestrasse

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn
Kirstie 2
Hawkins 4.5
Porter 6.5
Jeff 4 or 5
ebe 5.5
Kate 4.5
Alex 3-4
Chuck 5.5

Average score: 4.625

Once the northern terminus of the U2, it is a good thing we were nearing the end of the U2 UBlau.
I am not impressed with my handwriting at this point. I wrote Jeff's name twice with different scores and I think I took a "3 to 4" rating from Alex. Our very professional ratings are approximate.

We also picked up two German teens at this point. Beware kids!

Pankow

Drinking Tour of the Berlin U-Bahn

Kirstie 4
Hawkins 4.5
Porter 5
Jeff 5
ebe 4
Kate 6.5
Alex 7
Chuck 8

Average score: 5.5

On our last stop, we found ourselves in Pankow (where Ian & Chuck work). More than a little drunk, success was ours! Consider yourself done U2.

Overall Scores

 

Top 3 Stations of Berlin's U2 Line


3rd Highest Score:
Sophie-Charlotte-Platz 7.8125

2nd Highest Score:
Gleisdreieck 8.0625

Best Station on Berlin's U2 Line:
Klosterstrasse at 8.25


Highest Ranked Berlin station

Heidelberger Platz at 9.125






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

PICTURES of the stations & more UBlau

Learn more about Berlin's transport system in our post:
Or check out our previous rides: UBlau U1/U3 and U7

3 comments:

Jamie Gunter said...

This looks like way too much fun!!! What a great idea:)

~ cheryl said...

You both make us so proud!!! Some good times were obviously had. Too bad you had to go to Alex - I do NOT like that station! Loved you on top of the vending machine! You are both pretty nutso and we love you very much.

ebe porter said...

Thanks Jamie! Our ridiculousness keeps us entertained, if not out of trouble.

Happy to do you proud Mutti!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

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