|Distance in km||83.2|
|Elevation in m||493|
|Amount of newly ridden kms from wandrer.earth||19.7|
I wasn’t sure whether I could squeeze in another Stage this week since we planned a trip to the Harz to (safely) visit Nadja’s family. But luckily there was the chance to fit in a shorter Stage so I jumped at the opportunity. I chose a Stage that would follow the U8 route as its backbone, plus other assorted bus routes along the way.
I headed out after breakfast, plus the usual reduction in basal and bolus insulin, towards the bus terminus at Osloer Straße. I did have to make a detour to drop off our apartment key so that friends of ours could look after Pi while we were away in the Harz. Osloer Straße is the starting point for the N52 night bus, this route follows the first section of the 150 bus route from Stage 26. This reconnaissance prepared me well for the section along Provinzstraße where I would battle traffic, parked cars and a missing bike lane. The N52 bus route terminated at the Pastor-Niemöller-Platz, just to the northeast of Schönholz S-Bahn station.
Pastor-Niemöller-Platz, named after a theologian who opposed the Nazis after initially being supportive of their regime since he opposed the Weimar Republic, was also the starting point of the next night bus route – the N53. The N53 bus route passed through the districts of Niederschönhausen and Rosenthal before terminating at the bus terminus at Wilhelmsruher Damm. This night bus route passes through residential districts and even offers a door-to-door service for the people in Rosenthal!
I was now at the starting point of the N8 – the night bus replacement for the U8 train service – and ready to trace this important transport line between the northern district of Wittenau and the central district of Neukölln. The U8 train service starts at Wittenau and not Wilhelmsruher Damm, which is where the N8 bus starts. There were plans to extend the U8 service from Wittenau to Märkisches Viertel (where Wilhelmruher Damm is) but these are currently shelved so the Märkisches Viertel residents rely on buses to get them to the U8 trains.
The northern section of the U8 between Wittenau and Lindauer Allee was opened in 1994 enabling the residents of the new housing in the northern districts fast access to central Berlin. The section between Paracelsus-Bad and Osloer Straße was opened in 1987 and between Osloer Straße and Gesundbrunnen built in 1973. The residents of then-West Berlin were then able to connect to the Ringbahn at Gesundbrunnen.
Six U8 stations between Bernauer Straße and Heinrich-Heine-Straße were closed after the Berlin Wall went up. These were the famous “Geisterbahnhöfe/Ghost Stations” and the U8 trains passed through these dark stations without stopping. That must’ve been very unnerving to the West Berliners travelling on the U8! These stations were re-opened in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Cycling these sections of the U8 varies greatly, with nice separate cycle lanes up till Osloer Straße. From there until Alexanderplatz, it was a battle with all the vehicles on some of the main streets of Berlin. During this section, I passed the Bernauer Straße through which the Berlin Wall ran and became famous for escapes of people from East Berlin into the West. There is a section of the Wall still standing here that is part of a moving memorial.
Once I cycled past Alexanderplatz, I was feeling a bit peckish so I decided to have an energy bar. My blood glucose was doing really well so I didn’t need to inject insulin for the carbs. I continued from Mitte across the Spree at the Jannowitzbrücke (Jannowitz Bridge) station and headed into Kreuzberg.
The U8 has a stop at Moritzplatz which is one of the very few roundabouts in Berlin. Another curiosity about this station is that the now-defunct Wertheim department store wanted an U-Bahn station with direct access to its store (similar to the Karstadt department store at Hermannplatz). The store owners paid five million Deutschmarks in 1927 for the U8 line to be redirected to Moritzplatz. The store was damaged during the Second World War and not rebuilt afterwards.
I crossed the Landwehrkanal after the Kottbusser Tor station and was now headed towards the major intersection at Hermannplatz. The final stretch of the U8 was along Hermannstraße which was again tough to cycle on with all the traffic and no bicycle lane. But I knew the end of the line was near, since the final stop of the U8 is at the Hermannstraße S-Bahn station. In fact, the U-Bahn station of Hermannstraße and its connection to the Leinestraße station was the final part of the U8 to be completed in 1996.
With the N8/U8 route complete, I headed westwards towards the Steglitz bus terminus for the start of the 285 bus route. On the way, I cycled through some nice parks and back streets full of blossoming trees. A nice change from the heavily trafficked sections of the U8.
The 285 bus route started in Steglitz and then headed southwards into Lichterfelde following the path of the Teltowkanal (Teltow Canal). Once I reached the southernmost part of the route at Bötzowstraße, I decided it was time for some more food – cycling is hungry business! I again ate an energy bar but I needed to inject some insulin to avoid my blood glucose from going too high later on in the Stage.
After the food stop, I followed the 285 route northwards along Teltower Straße and into Zehlendorf. This section was the same as part of the N84 bus route from Stage 41. After cycling through central Zehlendorf, the 285 route continued northwards along Clayallee. The final stretch of the 285 route crossed the U3 line at the Oskar-Helene-Heim station before terminating at the Waldfriedhof Dahlem (Dahlem Forest Cemetery).
That was the final route of this Stage and I took the opportunity to cycle through the lovely Grunewald on the way home. I cycled near the Grunewaldsee (Grunewald Lake) which was full of dog owners with their dogs – this section is a dedicated area where dogs can be unleashed. I was pretty careful here taking care of those unleashed dogs but they were all well-behaved.