The Kontrollers


When I got to Berlin, Germany there were a lot of new things that were unexpected. First and foremost the signage was 80% of the time just in German. I was really banking on it being like the signs in Scotland that had the English under the Scottish Gaelic. The people were also different. Not just because of the language they spoke but physically speaking. At 6’1″ I think I am pretty tall guy, not huge but tall enough were in a crowd I am in the top ten percent for height. In Germany it seemed that every man was at least 6′ and plus some. I didn’t have a problem with this but it was just surprising to see. The largest difference had to be the subway system.

Yesterday I had to travel from my hotel to Berlin hbf, the city’s main train station. Instead of taking a taxing I decided to use their rail system. When I got to the station I noticed there was not a single turn dial. This part really threw me off. If I was to ride on the subway who would I give my ticket to. It turns out that somebody is nobody. Germany uses the “proof of payment system”. This is exactly similar to the honor system; if you have a ticket you are fine, if not well you get to meet the Kontrollers.

These are a group of undercover officials that ride on the trains with the passengers. They are disguised as regular individuals and are almost unrecognizable. They could be a hipster, a businessman, perhaps even an old man. Only the most experienced of riders would be able to tell if the controllers were onboard! If they catch you riding the train without a ticket you are fined forty euros. Ouch.

Berlin’s central station. It is a stop for local, national, and international trains.
Hotel where the King of Pop held Blanket out the window.

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