Aboard M29

Riding The M29

Sara and I jumped on and off on the route to discover what else was on the way, especially beyond Neukölln and Kreuzberg. Riding the bus and taking a stroll in the neighborhood, 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.
20 Aug ’13 by Matthias Street Life

Forget the landmark-safari. The hop-on-off tour-busses are a pain in the ass. Instead, board bus and S-Bahn routes such as Ringbahn, S7, M41, M48 or, my personal favorite, bus 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 passes by but six in a row, all of them filled to the brim.

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: This bus line has its own rhythm. Facebook pages have been dedicated to the M29.

Aboard M29

Aboard M29

On the other hand, its route stretches from Neukölln to Grunewald, connecting rather different neighborhoods. 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.

This warm and fuzzy bus feeling combined with a healthy dose of curiosity led to a photo excursion on the M29 bus.

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 Prolls, 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

Four 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.

Other opinions

  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 […]