Those of you who have been to Berlin before may remember that, unlike most German cities, it didn’t have a “Hauptbahnhof”, a main train station. Most tourists coming from the west arrived at the Berlin Zoologischer Garten station, often simply called “Berlin Zoo”, which was a small, crowded, overworked station in a very seedy part of the former West Berlin. It wasn’t a pleasant welcome, and it was unbefitting a capital city.
Last month, Berlin Hauptbahnhof opened, probably just in time for the World Cup, if I had to guess. This is where I’m sitting now. It’s an impressive structure, with two criss-crossing levels of train tracks and three additional levels of shopping and services. It’s actually a fairly pleasant place to spend a couple hours waiting for a train. I haven’t even seen a drug dealer yet!