Saturday I finally accomplished one of my longer wants – I took a ferry.
Actually I took two.
And neither cost me a cent – at least nothing beyond what it costs me to take public transportation in Berlin.
I’d been vaguely aware that BVG (the public transport provider) offered ferry service for awhile, but I’ve never bothered to figure out where – there are no significant bodies of water in my part of town and I’m personally not interested in boats.
Actually I tend to find boat rides really tedious (at best) and sickening (at worst) if they last more than about an hour.
Last October, however, I had a minor change of heart regarding intra-Berlin ferry services when I some how found myself on the Wikipedia page describing BVG provided ferry services when I read that, “the F24 is operated with a rowing boat.” Further enchanting me was the Wikipedia report that:
The timetable with one departure every 60 minutes for the F24 is necessary to be found in the journey planning software and to fulfill legal restrictions stating that all public traffic needs to have a timetable. In reality, it drives as often as needed reducing the frequency to about every 5 minutes, if necessary.
And with that I was ready to ride.
Except that I couldn’t: the ferries only operate in the summer and I’d made this discovery way too far into the fall. It would have to wait until this summer.
I finally forced it onto my calendar for this weekend and refused to move it, thus meaning that I would miss the march concerning GLBT rights in Russia.
Getting out to the F24’s starting point, and I chose to start from the Müggelheim side of the river, takes about two hours from where I live. It’s possible to do it in 90 minutes, but that involves a lot of changing, where the two-hour route involves only changing twice. Once leaving the final bus stop for the X69 (but not every x69 goes to this particular stop, Odernheimer Str.), there’s a 10-15 minute walk through the woods and then a collection of small weekend houses until you arrive at the dock for the F24.
I arrived at the stop, Spreewiesen, at about 10:30 and found the rowboat waiting for me.
It was real.
After awhile the, uh… what do you call the person who rows a boat that also happens to be a public ferry? Captain? Oarsman? Conductor? … this guy came out, asked me if I had a ticket, and then let me board the boat – I also then was given a short talk about how the ferry line is under threat from the government, which wants to cut it and would I sign the petition.
Yes, I would, and why not?
During the ride I had the opportunity to ask one question – which is all there was time for – about how many people rode the ferry any given day. The answer: when the weather is bad, maybe 10; but on a nice day upwards of 200 people.
And with my question answered, I arrived at Kruggasse, the stop on the Alten Fischerdorf-Rahnsorf side of the river.
Given that I was already in this neck of the woods, I decided to partake of ferry F23 as well, a ferry that would take me to Müggelwerderweg. From there I would walk to other nearby public transport and make my way back to the city center.
The F23 was a pleasant ride along the waters of the Müggelspree – it was nice to see into the backyards of people who like living along water and own boats.
Certainly not my lifestyle, but a nice adventure for a day.
If you want to follow in my footsteps, do note that the ferry is not year round, so make sure it’s summer, plus it doesn’t run on Monday. The F24 pretty much runs on demand, but the F23 is only once an hour, leaving Kruggasse at xx:25 during mid-day hours. And, if it’s 2014 or later, you might want to make sure that the ferry hasn’t been outright cancelled, because the government is threatening to kill it.