Do you speak … ?

A video found today via Facebook; two cocky Russians breaking the speed limit in Ukraine. They think they can get away with English, since they assume that these “stupid hillbillies” in Ukraine won’t be able to understand and that they this way skip the bill…. Well, far from it. The Ukraine cop actually speaks better English than the Russian. But watch for yourself 😉

This reminds me of the numerous experiences on the London Tube when for example German tourists think they speak such a unique language that they can make bad remarks about the people around them without anybody understanding them… . Well, again, far from it.

When in Germany, I sometimes use Swedish as a “secret language” when accompanied by someone, who understands it. But I never make bad remarks or anything, since you can never be sure who’s listening. And Swedish would absolutely not be “secret” at all in Berlin where there are many Swedes living and visiting… . Therefore, just be a bit aware about your surroundings and show general respect. Definitely never try to be a smart-ass like these two experts in the video or like many tourists abroad. You never know who around you understands what you’re saying 😉 !

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Walking the streets of Berlin

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Apart from these things, I also had fun with a lot of car number plates. Here a selection:

B-RA (B standing for Berlin)
B-RO
B-OL
B-OK
B-AD
B-ED
B-US
B-AT
K-UK (K standing for Köln/ Cologne)

Think one could have a photo competition on about who’s seen the most useless plates. And you definitely have even more fun the more languages you know 😉 A new idea for a Tumblr maybe?

U-Bahnhof Heinrich-Heine-Straße, Berlin

Berlin, underground station Heinrich-Heine-Straße. Beginning of December I entered the station for the first time ever. An instant feeling something being rather different appeared. And I looked closely. Unlike in other stations, there were no advertising billboards. Kind of unique in a big city like Berlin. The sign “Heinrich-Heine-Straße” was definitely from at least GDR-times. And then this strange colour of the walls. Something that couldn’t quite decide between a light pink or a light lilac. The air being kind of wet-coldish added to an almost slightly spooky atmosphere. Like as if time simply stood still here. It most likely would not have been my favourite station to ride home from, late at night. That much I knew.

Now I learnt via Wikipedia that the atmosphere I felt in that station was spot-on. The station had been built 1928, and the strange colour of the walls is from back then. Almost 90 years of the same tiles. Back then, the station’s name was “Neanderstraße”. During the Second World War the entire underground net was closed, Neanderstraße reopened only in 1945.

In 1960 the station got renamed to Heinrich-Heine-Straße. But it was only used for almost a year after that. Like a few other stations, it became a “ghost station” when the wall got built. Trains only passed through but they didn’t stop – until 30 years later, when the station reopened 1st of July 1990 together with all other “ghost stations” in Berlin. The year when Germany started to grow together again.

Still, since then, almost 25 years later, nothing really changed down there. At U-Bahnhof Heinrich-Heine-Straße the breath of history truly embraces you, and it is a rather strange sensation.