|Distance in km||84.4|
|Elevation in m||222|
|Amount of newly ridden kms in Berlin from wandrer.earth||29.7|
Another sunny January day could only mean one thing – another Stage of the Grand Tour de Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel. This time a medium length tour following the night bus route N7 from Spandau to Schönefeld airport, the S45 from Schönefeld airport to Südkreuz and finally the U4 from Innsbrucker Platz to Nollendorfplatz.
Since the N7 is the night replacement bus for the U7 line, I won’t be repeating the U7 route in another stage. Typically the night replacement bus services for the underground lines are also extended making them even longer than the original underground route they replace. In this case, the N7 extends the U7 both in Spandau, by starting at Galenstraße and not Rathaus Spandau, and also in Rudow by heading further south towards Schönefeld airport.
I headed out into the glorious sunshine after breakfast and the usual reduction of my breakfast bolus insulin. I am trying out a new basal insulin (Abasaglar) that lasts 24 hours so I already reduced my basal insulin the previous evening. My endocrinologist suggested a change in basal insulin to reduce the number of times I wake up from CGM alarms. I’m currently not seeing any benefit from this change and think that I’ll switch back to the 12 hour acting Levemir. But I’ll wait until I’ve finished the test pen of the Abasaglar just to see if it does help at some point.
First port of call was Galenstraße in Spandau for the start of the N7 route. I thought that this street was named after the physician from the Roman Empire but it’s named after a bishop and cardinal from Münster – kind of disappointed in Spandau there. The route then heads eastwards towards Siemensstadt along the last part of the U7 which was opened in 1984. Fun fact alert: the U7 is the longest continuous underground tunnel in Germany and it was continually extended to enable West Berliners to easily reach the centre of West Berlin.
The U7 crosses the Ringbahn for the first time at Jungfernheide and continues south towards Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf. I decided to have a stop at Fehrbelliner Platz and eat one of my energy bars. My blood glucose was trending down and some slow releasing carbs were needed before continuing on.
The Fehrbelliner Platz station really stands out both at the roadside and underground. At the road level, there are huge red pop art entrances which contrast the large administration buildings around and there couldn’t be more of a difference between the U3 and U7 platforms at the station. The U3 platform was originally built in 1913 and is decorated quite dully (in my opinion) while the U7 platform (built in 1971) screams disco!
Once the U7/N7 arrives at the Blissestraße station, it heads eastwards towards the central Berlin districts of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg. After which I was heading through Neukölln and the construction site on Karl-Marx-Straße meant a detour through the Richardkiez before crossing the Ringbahn again at the Neukölln station. When this station was being built in the 1870’s, it was to be called Rixdorf – the original name of Neukölln – but Rixdorf had such a bad reputation due to criminal activity in the area that it was rebranded as Neukölln.
Next up was the tail end of the U7 line that passes through the south-west districts of Britz and Gropiusstadt before the end of the underground line at Rudow. The U7 extension in this area coincided with the construction of the high-rise buildings in this area, so the underground tunnel passes underneath the buildings instead of underneath the streets (which is how most of the tunnels were built). After Rudow, the N7 bus continues on towards its final stop at Schönefeld airport along streets that I knew from Stage 9.
Next up was the S45, travelling from Schönefeld Airport to Südkreuz – one of the major train stations in Berlin. While the U7/N7 was based in the former West Berlin, most of the S45 is based in the former East Berlin. I followed the S45 route through Alt-Glienicke along some quiet roads until the S45 gets to Adlershof.
At this point, the S45 travels parallel to the Adlergestell road. It was such a lovely clear day, that once I turned onto the Adlergestell, I could clearly see the Fernsehturm in the distance! I decided to have a coffee and food stop at one of the petrol stations on the Adlergestell before continuing northwards.
The Baumschulenweg station marks the end of the S45 running through former East Berlin. The S45 then reaches the Ringbahn at the Neukölln station and follows the southern part of the Ringbahn until arriving at its terminus, Südkreuz. I could smell the freshly baked biscuits from the Bahlsen factory on Oberlandstraße just below Tempelhofer Park – yum!
Next up was getting to Innsbrucker Platz, the start of the U4. Here I passed the Gasometer, which has a wonderful bike path next to it. But then this bike path leads you to the huge cobbles on Torgauer Straße – no idea what the bike path planners were thinking!
The final public transport route was the U4. This is the cutest underground line running between Innsbrucker Platz and Nollendorfplatz for a grand total of 2.8 km in length. The reason for this short underground line, is that in the early 1900s the town of Schöneberg (at that time not part of Berlin) wanted its very own underground line. Once Schöneberg became part of Berlin, the U4 was integrated into the Berlin public transport scheme – at least the Schöneberger planners kept to the Berlin construction standards!
While following the U4, I passed along some really nice parks and residential areas in Schöneberg. After arriving at Nollendorfplatz, Berlin’s most famous gay village, I headed back home. This was a Stage with a fair bit of historical context which made it all the more interesting for me. The weather was brilliant all the way through and I was also happy with my blood glucose throughout.