I love Berlin’s U-bahn (FYI: I’m extremely biased here, because I love virtually everything in Berlin). It is fast, efficient and takes you everywhere you want to go at a reasonable price. I can’t believe that taxis can exist in Berlin.
The construction of the U-bahn (Subway, Tube, Metro take your pick) started in the late 19th century. During World War II some of the U-bahn stations were used as air-raid shelters and a part of the U-bahn system was destroyed by the Allies’ bomb attacks. When Berlin was divided in 1961 the U-bahn lines changed as well. One line was cut in half and another line lost a few stations and in East Berlin armed border guards were patrolling the stops. In West Berlin the U-bahn kept expanding until 1989, whereas no extensions took place in the eastern part of the city until a few months before the fall of the Wall.
Whatever the Berliners have been through for the past 100 years the U-bahn has been there and is part of the history of the city. If only the walls and pillars of the stations could talk…
Today the U-bahn is not only a transportation system. For some people it’s where they make a living. There are enough gypsies, musicians, beggars and just downright crazy people on the U-bahn to keep you entertained for hours (in case you are bored in Berlin, which is quite hard). Some people find it annoying, but in my opinion this is what makes the U-bahn great – it’s for everyone.
PS: Remember to stamp your ticket before you hop on the train. The ticket controllers don’t wear uniforms and they’ve heard all the excuses imaginable so they wont believe that you just arrived and that you didn’t know that you had to stamp your ticket.