A ride on the M29

by Matthias · 20.08.2013 · Kiez Life · 4 comments

Whenever vis­it­ors ask me about the scenic route the Bus 100 offers, where to hop on, where to hop off, I tell them to for­get about their ridicu­lous plan to see a com­pressed ver­sion of a city that most Ber­liners don’t care much about, trav­el­ling among other tour­ists out and about for a land­mark safari. Instead, they should board bus and S-Bahn routes such as Ring­bahn, S7, M41, M48 or, my per­sonal favour­ite, bus num­ber M29. 

First of all: M29 is notori­ous for being unre­li­able. In terms of slow travel, cap­tur­ing the rhythm of a place, M29 is the major chal­lenge for one’s patience and tem­per. As Sara says, when the weather is really shitty, you will wait half an hour instead of ten minutes, and just as you’re giv­ing up all hope, not one bus passed by but six, all of them filled to the brim. I doubt that. After being fed up once, I have walked along its route for an hour until three of them passed me. It’s a com­mon thing: The num­ber has its own time reck­on­ing. Face­book pages have been ded­ic­ated to the M29.

On the other hand, its route stretches from Neuk­ölln to Grune­wald, con­nect­ing rather dif­fer­ent neigh­bour­hoods. Seven of them. On its sched­uled 64 minutes long itin­er­ary (add a fair amount of traffic jams, traffic light hell and extra dilly-dallying), the M29 bus passes sev­eral land­marks that are not as cliché as your aver­age Unter den Linden tour, yet of some import­ance to the city and its inhab­it­ants. Thus, rid­ing the bus just for the sake of it has become some sort of pas­time: Get in on Her­man­nplatz and get out at the last stop, then get back. Sit­ting on the top deck in the very front, one can par­take in this med­it­at­ive wait­ing game while pon­der­ing life and death and what­not while watch­ing the streets beneath, the city sur­round­ing loud and dirty while that tank of mass trans­port­a­tion offers a safe getaway.

Aboard M29

Aboard M29

This warm and fuzzy bus feel­ing com­bined with a healthy dose of curi­os­ity led to a photo excur­sion on the M29 bus. Sara and I jumped on and off on the route to dis­cover what else was on the way, espe­cially bey­ond Neuk­ölln and Kreuzberg. Rind­ing the bus and tak­ing a stroll in the neigh­bour­hood, in turns, was our way to get in touch with some of the places under­way, advan­cing into the West­ern city one bus stop at a time.

But it was not only inter­est­ing to see the sur­round­ing change sev­eral times, but also how cer­tain stops ten­ded to flush cer­tain people aboard. Neuk­ölln was dom­in­ated by Arab fam­il­ies, Anhal­ter Bahnhof added some Picaldi-clad chavs, while on Kudamm the pas­sen­gers com­pletely changed and the typ­ical Ber­liner Straßen­mis­chung went aboard, just to get off at Halensee to catch the Ring­bahn, where the richer people don’t ride buses but Mer­cedes and Jaguar.

Ruin of Anhalter Bahnhof, in the background Tempodrom at S Anhalter Bahnhof

Ruin of Anhal­ter Bahnhof, in the back­ground Tem­po­drom at S Anhal­ter Bahnhof


Close to S Anhalter Bahnhof

Close to S Anhal­ter Bahnhof


Close to U Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park

Close to U Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park


Neue Nationalgalerie at Potsdamer Brücke

Neue Nation­algalerie at Pots­damer Brücke


Neue Nationalgalerie's roof

Neue Nationalgalerie’s roof


St. Matthäuskirche close to Potsdamer Brücke

St. Mat­thäuskirche close to Pots­damer Brücke


A staircase at Kulturforum, close to Potsdamer Brücke

A stair­case at Kul­turforum, close to Pots­damer Brücke


Shell-Building close to Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

Shell-Building close to Gedenk­stätte Deutscher Widerstand


Shell-Building close to Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

Shell-Building close to Gedenk­stätte Deutscher Widerstand


Close to Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

Close to Gedenk­stätte Deutscher Widerstand

One thing that struck out was the Ehren­mal der Bundeswehr, the memorial of the fallen Bundeswehr sol­diers. Sol­emn, yes, but also set into a very strange con­struc­tion. It was sep­ar­ated from the adja­cent bar­racks, barely vis­ible from the street and provided entrance to a small hall, where a simple but strik­ing memorial was situ­ated. The names of the fallen sol­diers where dis­played in a fad­ing light on the edge of the lowered ceil­ing, com­mem­or­at­ing one sol­dier at a time, barely read­able until the next name was dis­played. Once the sun shone through the per­for­ated ceil­ing, a del­ic­ate pat­tern of patches of light lit the oth­er­wise darkened room up. We stayed there a while, sur­prised about the calm aloof­ness of con­tem­por­ary memorial build­ing, sim­ilar to Mitte’s Neue Wache.

Ehrenmal der Bundeswehr, close to Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

Ehren­mal der Bundeswehr, close to Gedenk­stätte Deutscher Widerstand


Ehrenmal der Bundeswehr, close to Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

Ehren­mal der Bundeswehr, close to Gedenk­stätte Deutscher Widerstand


Ehrenmal der Bundeswehr, close to Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand

Ehren­mal der Bundeswehr, close to Gedenk­stätte Deutscher Widerstand


Hiroshimasteg

Hiroshi­mas­teg


Landwehrkanal as seen from Hiroshimasteg

Landwehrkanal as seen from Hiroshimasteg


U Wittenbergplatz

U Wit­ten­ber­g­platz

Since the bus we took that day, had its final stop at U Wit­ten­ber­g­platz, we could’ve con­veni­ently take U1 home to get away from buzz­ing Kudamm. But we were here to reach the end of the line, to get to Rose­neck, where a com­pletely other neigh­bour­hood would greet us. I never liked this boulevard dur­ing day­time, so we hopped on the next bus as soon as pos­sible – it arrived on schedule! – and patiently waited for Halensee, where the mad­ness was over. Teupitz­straße was the last time we got off M29, took a stroll in the eleg­ant res­id­en­tial area and soon caught the next bus. It was time to go home.

Quatari embassy close to Roseneck

Quatari embassy close to Roseneck


Aboard M29

Aboard M29

3 comments
  1. That’s a really cool idea for find­ing new places in Berlin!!

  2. Hi, I love the M29 as well. Also as a born Ber­liner I love the dif­fer­ent neigh­bor­hoods. And espe­cially in Rose­neck is an old tra­di­tional Cafe where you find old­fash­ioned cakes and Ber­liner Originale.Its called Wiener Caf­fee­haus. A weird and dif­fer­ent place I’d like to recom­mend for a dif­fer­ent view of Berlin.

  3. This is a good recom­mend­a­tion, but some may should stay at the Branden­bur­ger Tor. Very nice pic­tures by the way.

What others had to say about it

  1. […] being dis­solved by police. For those who want to be closer to the city, how about a ride on the M29 bus? Our favor­ite bus crosses the city from East to West and back, mak­ing it a slow but good […]