Today was quite the day

I’m not normally one to complain (ahem) but today really took the piss. It actually started yesterday with monsoon-like rain all day, which instantly flooded the city causing major traffic delays, flooded U-Bahn stations, knee-deep water in some buses, building evacuations and, because it’s Berlin, people swimming down major streets and being pulled along in dinghies while drinking beer.

I’m not exaggerating

A storm in German is “Sturm” or “Gewitter” – a really bad storm is called “Unwetter” which, in English, would be unweather. Obviously this makes no sense at all as it’s actually ALL the weather in one go and not even remotely unweather. But hey, German…

This morning, expecting delays, I set off for my lesson a bit earlier than usual, grimly plodding through the drizzle. The bus showed up and dropped me off at the U-Bahn station. What should have been a simple ten-minute ride was made impossible by the fact that around six stations along the way were closed due to flooding. This was one of them.

So I travelled two stops, got off, got on the replacement bus and waited while another 100 people squeezed their soggy selves in. The problem with that is that the doors don’t close when people are in the way of the sensors so other passengers were yelling at people to get off at each stop; one man’s beer belly held us up for a good five minutes.

The BVG (Berlin Transport Company) representative had “reliably” informed me that the bus was going all the way to Zoo, one stop past where I had to go. But no, the driver stopped at another U-Bahn station along the way claiming that the U-Bahn was running again. She kicked us all off, down we went and no, stupid cow, the U-Bahn was not running.

By this time, I was already half an hour late so I had no choice but to cancel my lesson. I waded across the road and actually managed to squeeze into a replacement taxi. Yes, things were so bad that the BVG were transporting people using TAXIS. Then it was back on the U-Bahn, back on the bus and, finally, home. It had taken me almost 2.5 hours to achieve absolutely nothing and end up back where I started.

I wrote a scathing email to the BVG and consoled myself with the thought that I had a nice evening with my friend to look forward to – preferably with excess amounts of whiskey. Shortly afterwards, he messaged to say that he wasn’t feeling well and had to cancel. My opera singing neighbour started up and I contemplated justifiable homicide.

Still, I had to calm myself down as I had another lesson to go to this afternoon. I had carefully checked to make sure that the S-Bahn was running normally and set off. I got to the station right on time only to see the three words that every German dreads – Zug fΓ€llt aus. My train had “fallen out” and the next one wasn’t until 11 minutes later.

Argh!

A torrent of swear words, a bit like the torrents of rain, ensued. I sent my student a message telling her I’d be a few minutes late. She was actually happy enough as she’d ordered cake and would now have time to eat it. Nothing makes a German happier than coffee and cake.

After walking up the stairs (because of a broken escalator) and being accosted by a rude beggar, I eventually made it to the lesson. While I spoke flawless German, the barista insisted on answering in English – which resulted in him receiving a von Grady growl. It started raining halfway through the lesson and by the time I left, it was more unweather.

The town that I’d left just a couple of hours earlier was now a swimming pool. My boots weren’t quite up to the challenge and I squelched my way home, as engulfed in misery and self-pity as my feet were in water.

How it looked when I was swimming home
How it looked 30 minutes after I’d got home…

Grrr.

Manfredas: Hey, do you fancy dinner at the Surf Inn?Β 

Me: Yeah, sure.Β 

Manfredas: As long as it isn’t flooded. But I guess then we could “surf in”.

Me: Too soon…

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33 thoughts on “Today was quite the day”

  1. You would think that in a country where it rains one every two days, things would be prepared to avoid floodings. By the way, nice to read that in Berlin you have buses or even taxis when the service “falls down”. Here you just get a rude woman yelling you that you can always walk… (true story)

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    1. Ha ha! Was she German? πŸ˜‰ I love it when my students say things like “I have to fall out our lesson this week, sorry.” The chuckle makes up for the loss of money! Almost πŸ˜‰

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    1. Can’t imagine Dublin doing it either! Replacement buses are pretty standard when they’re working on the train lines but I’d never seen replacement taxis before – spoilt indeed! πŸ˜‰

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  2. The flood was pretty shocking! I flew to the UK for 24 hours on the Wednesday, checked the weather for London, saw it was pretty alright, and decided that a coat wasn’t needed…! I flew back to Berlin the next day, on the Thursday! Imagine my horror that in just 24 hours, everything had changed. The flight was delayed by 2 hours, the airport was closed, I still didn’t have a coat, and there was no public transport so we all had to take taxis in order to actually leave the airport so that we could get home!

    I probably should have checked the weather forecast in Berlin instead…!

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  3. Linda, you poor thing!

    I think you’re now qualified to adopt the old unofficial US postal service motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night [stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds]”… just change the last bit to English teaching. πŸ˜‰

    The silver lining- at least you weren’t chased by a public toilet. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4654996/Chaos-Moscow-people-flee-portable-toilets.html)

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    1. Ha ha! Oh my god! That’s hilarious! I guess life can always be worse – although being chased by a toilet probably would have made my day – I could dine out on that story for years!

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  4. Wow, I thought we had it bad in the UK the last few days but that video of the water flowing down into the underground is something else again 😳😳😳 Hope it will get drier soon… 😘

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    1. Not sure about fatalities here but the fire brigade had over 2000 calls that day! I think there were quite a few road accidents – two trams even crashed! Hope your summer gets better! It’s still looking pretty shit here too 😦

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      1. So, the main news agency reported this weekend, citing the official meteorological service, that “summer might bypass the central region of Russia this year.” Go figure
        😦 We’re transitioning from Spring to Autumn

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  5. I saw images of Berlin last night on the news and it did look pretty bad. It seems to be a year for heavy rain in a lot of places. Our summer hasn’t yet fully arrived in Montreal and rain in the forecast almost every day though not to the level where the streets and metros are flooded but still pretty dreary… Good luck with getting dry! (Suzanne)

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    1. Thanks! I’m home now, couple of cups of tea down and dried out. Unfortunately, it’s pissing down again and I have to go out! I hope your summer improves too – I’ll be buying wellies instead of bikinis at this rate πŸ˜‰

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