The Final Walk: Prenzlauerberg to Beusselstraße, Tegel airport

August 25, 2016 § 2 Comments

No, I didn’t walk all the way from Prenzlauerberg to the airport. Actually, I could have- it’s only just under ten kilometers, but I was battling a time constraint.

Still, there was plenty to see on the way to Beusselstraße- and why Beusselstrasße? The simple answer for that comes shortly.

For those unlucky souls yet to visit Europe, most of its capitals have a ‘ring’- some kind of a visible border around the city that separates the old town from the newer developments.

Berlin is no different. Where it differs is in what lies beyond.

The destruction of second world war bombing and eventual separation left giant craters- and they’re only now getting filled. To walk outside the ring is to see little of past nor future but only the confused present, such as this view as I crossed the river:

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The cranes are the portent. In ten years apartment buildings, lofts, maybe offices will line the river in this part of the city. It’ll be pleasant- but not as stimulating.

A little further along the river, I took a trip down memory lane when passing the Ausländerbehörde:

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The building may not look like much, but it carries tremulous significance for many of its visitors.

It’s one of the processing stations for emigrés to Berlin.

Emigré is such a dashing, glamorous word. Another term that’s used more often for many of the people that visit this building is refugee.

When my wife and I first arrived in Berlin, we showed up there so that she could file a petition for residency on my behalf. This was before millions of Syrians began fleeing their country. The building was relatively quiet.

Six months later, coming back to finalize the petition, the world had changed. The place was beyond hectic.

Although it wasn’t a pleasant experience to be there, the joint now makes me feel one dominant sensation: lucky. Our residency was never in doubt. We move on with our lives. No battle to fight, unlike the thousands showing up there daily, adrift in an ocean of uncertainty.

 

Onto Beusselstrasße. Specifically the ringbahn (above-ground train that circles the old city). Why?

There’s a bus stop there. It’s going to take me to Tegel airport.

Nope, no direct train to the airport. That will come with the new joint opening up next year.

Berlin may have grown as an international destination, but its primary airport, Tegel, is the stuff of provincial irrelevance.

Below is the main shopping and restaurant area, the jewel in Tegel’s crown:

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Now I’m not one to spend hours in chic clothing stores or having four-course meals while waiting for a flight, but can we all agree that 2016 Berlin can do better than this?

And it will. In the meantime, one can enjoy the old-fashioned sensation of having gates right at the entrance to the airport- it evokes a time when one could ‘catch’ a flight in much the same way one traveled by bus. Both means of transport had a terminal, and the only experiential difference was how quickly passengers got to where it said on the ticket.

A little more complicated now, yet it still feels easy at Tegel. But I want more! I want a glitzy, modern, glittering metropolis of an airport, one that noisily affirms my decision to move here. I’m gagging for it to open so I can say to the world I told you so! I told you Berlin’s time would come! Look at our new airport! It’s so…… so…. 

It’ll be a nice airport. Just like those apartment buildings along the river will be nice.

The refugees have more important things to worry about.

 

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