Monday, September 21, 2009
Berlin's Underground Tours
There are many diverse ways to tour the city of Berlin. The options seem almost endless: helicopter tours, gourmet food tours, interactive mission tours, treasure hunts (for the pirate in you), bicycle tours, boat tours through the rivers and canals, a panorama S-BAHN tour (the train has glass walls), hot air balloon, Segway tours, and the list goes on . Seriously, though, touring Berlin on a Segway? The whole “dorky tourist” thing just went up to a whole new level. You can wear your Hawaiian shirt and your fanny pack and drive a segway? You may as well just stamp “tourist” on your forehead and get it over with. Maybe you’ll even get a free Segway ride if you have the “tourist” stamp. You never know.
I was taking the underground (U-BAHN) home the other night. I was tired and ready to get home, so I jumped up when I heard my train coming and was all ready to board, except that what emerged out of the tunnel was a tour group. Instead of a subway train, there was a flatbed, with about 100 or so people with yellow construction helmets sitting on it and waving at us as they passed. I didn’t get it. Who would want to tour the subway tunnels? Wouldn’t it get kind of boring after the first five minutes?
So, I looked it up. Turns out I was beyond ignorant about the underground tours. The tours aren’t about the subway tunnels (now I feel like the dork). There’s a whole labyrinth of shelters and bunkers and ghost stations and tunnels to museums and the like. The tours tend to focus on the history of WW II and the Cold War in relation to the underground tunnels. There are ten tours in total, varying in length, subject, and price.
Reading about the “tales of betrayal” that occurred in the escape tunnels between East and West Berlin is intriguing enough to make me want to pay the nine euros for Tour M. And hey, maybe I’ll even look cute in that yellow construction helmet instead of dorky. One can only hope.
More info: http://berliner-unterwelten.de