You know you’re in Cologne if…


Last tuesday I spent a rather long day in Berlin. Actually it wasn’t exactly Berlin which made the day long, it was – again – Cologne and its black hole called public transportation or short KVB. Coming out of the plane at Cologne airport – by the way: that pilot must have been mental – I went directly to the trainstation. Of course I didn’t really think about the train timing here, as they are just always late, but that’s the Deutsche Bahn and we’re kind of used to it. In the end the train came 10 minutes too late. The signs at the stations didn’t show this, even two Bahn workers who waited for the train looked suspicious at the dark tunnel. A quick look at the iPhone app that has (allegedly) every station in Germany showed the 10 minute late-ness.

If you ever come to Germany and own an iPhone get the Fahrplan app from the App Store. If you’re going to Berlin also get the Berlin Trip Planner. This one even searches for nearby stations.

It took the usual time to get to Cologne main station in the city. I have to go there nowadays because the KVB is ripping apart the stations along my way home. Looking at the times for my train home were not really surprising for Cologne’s KVB standard of not being able to stick to their schedule. The next train home showed up as “in 24 minutes”. Down at the actual track the usual horror continued. The next three trains after mine were – the last time I checked – listed as follows:

Line 16 to Merkenich in 1 minute
Line 16 to Merkenich in 4 minutes
Line 16 to Merkenich in 8 minutes

Are the guys at the wheel afraid to ride alone? Maybe not able to find the way? I have to wait almost half an hour, just to be able to choose between three trains, that arrive in an 8 minute window!?

If this was the first time this had happened to me, I’d think it’s an usual situation. Hell no, this is common in Cologne, at least from what I have experienced in the last 2 years in this town. Granted I’m not often using the trains (duh, guess why!), but everytime I have to, something happens so I’ll be late at least 30 minutes. Either the times at which I’m supposed to get to my local station at home are wrong and I see the train leaving as I approach or I’m not able to catch the connecting train because they are timed the way that you just aren’t able to make it even if you could fly to the other train. I have yet to see a train arrive at the time it’s supposed to.

Enough with the ranting, enjoy my photos of Berlin that I was able to take during the spare time.
Berlin Cathedral