Last week I’ve been on the road a lot. We’re doing performance tests for Cisco TelePresence systems in different locations and I had to do them in Berlin and Fritzlar (yeah, I never really heard about that one before either).
My tour took me from home to Berlin, then 2 days later to Fritzlar and then back home, almost 2000 km in 4 days. It’ a alot but it was not that bad I guess. It’s my first time on the A9 section of the autobahn from Nürnberg to Berlin and I have to say driving was a pleasure (except for the non-stop rain, that is): 3 lanes, no traffic jams, no roadworks. And only “130 km/h recommended speed limit”, which basically means you can go as fast as you can but you better not cause any accidents or you are in trouble. If you survive, that is.
Which is more than I can say for the biker I saw in an accident on the other side of the autobahn. First I saw a banged up car, then half of motorcycle, then the other half and then the biker. He was dead, covered by the police with something but you could clearly see that the shape of his body was slightly unnatural. I don’t know whos fault was it but why people drive at high-speed on a motorcycle while it rains heavily outside, it’s beyond me.
Anyway, I also got to drive on the A2 autobahn, the last major autobahn in Germany I have not been on. Same as A9: 3 lanes, no traffic jams, no road works, no speed limits. I think that when people talk about the no-speed limit on some of the autobahns, they assume everyone drives with 250km/h but that is not true. Yes, you do see people driving fast, which you can actually do since normally nobody stays on the high-speed left lane. But most of the cars don’t even if they could. I would say most drive at a cruising speed of around 150-170km/h.
Unlike Stuttgart with its 600.000 or so inhabitants, Berlin is big in comparison: 3.5 millions inhabitants and almost 5 millions in the metro area. I didn’t have time to see much, first day it rained continuously and the second day I only had a little bit of time in my lunch break. But it reminded me of Bucharest in a way, to be honest: long streets and avenues, high building density, many small shops and stores along the streets, etc. It’s a lot cleaner though, the buildings look better and the streets are really wide, not just the avenues.
Another notable thing is the one of Berlin’s airport, Tegel. It’s basically inside the city and since my hotel was really close to it, I could see the planes flying really low above the buildings while they were landing. Took some time to get used to it. They don’t fly at night though (or I didn’t hear any) so I could sleep without problems.
Lots of streets with 30km/h speed limits, I most likely got flashed by a radar car I think on one of them. Like I said, I didn’t have time to see much of the city, only been to Alexanderplatz and walked a bit around that area but that is only a tiny part of the whole city. Maybe next time, whenever that may be.