Lost in Berlin

Olympiastadion

We had a midday flight returning from Berlin, and I wasn’t ready to be done sight-seeing, so I decided that going for a little run would be a perfect way to take in a bit more of the city. The plan was to take the train to the 1936 Olympic Stadium and run back to the hotel via the Tiergarten (where I had run a couple days earlier).

Turns out, I got a bit turned around getting there and a whole lot lost getting back.

I made wrong turns from the moment I got off the train. I left the hotel at 6AM, and it was still dark when I got off the U2 train at the Theodor-Heuss-Platz station. At that time of the morning, my train stopped a couple of stops short of the Olympiastadion station, so I decided to run the mile to the stadium instead of transferring to another train. All I had to do was follow Reichstraße (a major road) to the stadium. Unfortunately, there were four main roads, and I picked the wrong one. A sign for motorists suggested I was going the right way, though.

About a half-mile in, I asked a man walking his dog for directions. (Pro-tip: Older people in Berlin are much friendlier about giving directions than younger people.) A mile later, after running through a rather posh neighborhood, I was taking a selfie at the stadium.

Me at the Olypic Stadium

All I had to do to get back was (1) run down Olympischestraße away from the stadium, (2) turn right on Reichstraße, and (3) bear slightly left where I got lost getting off the train. Something about the Reichstraße intersection threw me off, and I ended up curving to the left.

I knew I had made a wrong turn when the street names didn’t match any on the cue sheet I’d written on the hotel stationary and stuffed in my pocket along with my pump, glucose tablets, U-bahn ticket, and a few Euros. When I turned around and ran back, I was on the opposite side of the road and missed the turn onto Reichstraße.

Schloss Charlottenburg

Four miles later I still wasn’t where I thought, and no one knew the main roads I was referring to when I asked for directions. It was around that time when I discovered the bus stops all had maps showing me how to get back onto my original route. By then I had run out of time to do the extra three or four miles back to the hotel. I didn’t want to miss my flight home or worry Lisa, so I decided to find the subway and (alas) subject some commuters to my smelly self.

On the train back I tried to look on the bright side: I got to experience some Berlin neighborhoods, see the Olympiastadion and Charlottenburg Palace, watch the city come awake, and talk to some locals all before 8AM.

What’s your best “lost in a foreign city” story?

My crazy-lost run in Berlin

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