Sunday, June 16, 2013
Berlin's Comic Opera House
Dinner tonight was a curry wurst for 3,50 Euros, as its Sunday and no time for anything better. I ate this Berlin specialty in view of the Brandenburg Gate.
I rode my bike the 1km or so to the opera, in a traveling skirt and a pair of sandals.
After a week here, I'm doing like the local women do, able to ride my bike in high heeled shoes, if i'd brought any. The bike helmet makes an unusual fashion statement. Sometimes I gave up using it, but at night I wore it.
Still, at 11:30pm, I wasn't alone unlocking my bike from the rack alongside the opera house. Five other theatre goers also used their bikes as the ride home. I chose to walk in a particularly scary part of Unter den Linden, where roadwork in the centre of the street forces you to share the bus lane going against the traffic. The Berlin buses follow along behind you at traffic speed and I found it the most scary part of riding here. Most Berlin cyclists ignore the buses and cars, taking their part of the road without a second thought but sometimes I'd lose my nerve and resort to hand signals, just to be sure the cars knew exactly what I was going to do.
In the whole time riding here I only had one close shave with a car turning right. It was my fault to a point. I wasn't sure if I had right of way to go straight ahead across a major road, as there were no bike traffic signals, and no other cyclists to copy so i hesitated, then rode into pedestrian crossing, intending to ride through as you do elsewhere in Berlin.The guy was an arse though, doing a aggressive right hook before I'd cleared the pedestrian/bike crossing because the light had gone red. It was dangerous and unnecessary, just the sort of bullshit you deal with with motorists. Good thing I'm an experienced rider as I was able to divert while retaining presence of mind to tell him to go f*** himself and give him the finger for good measure. I have to be really rattled to respond like this.
I learned a long time ago not to trust cars, but give no obvious response, no matter how valid. . Ditto with other cyclists either. I don't like how cyclists will squeeze past you on either side. It's stupid riding behavior, but I ignored it.