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BERLIN Memories is the name of an underground journey led by Claudio Galamini who has begun to tell on Instagram: “Discover a new U-Bahn station every day”. We were curious to know more about, so we just interviewed him to understand the reasons of this urban love, how and why his particular relationship with the Berliner Untergrundbahn started.
Hallo Claudio! What’s the station that has inspired you the most and which you started this project with?
I’m here in Berlin from March 2015 (after 10 years in NY) and after several months on this new subway, especially the U7 line, I started noticing its colours, tiles, shapes, the great care in its details that change from station to station. The project has thus begun to take shape first in my mind and, after checking that no one was already doing exactly the same thing, I choose the format (only front photos of the station name); so, in August 2015 I started to share my shots on Instagram. The first station that inspired me is Konstanzer Straße, super colourful and clearly in the 70’s style. The project now has taken shape and is called Berlin Memories.
What criteria do you use to post your photos?
My order is absolutely random. I never publish two stations which are one behind the other, on the same line. I want people are not able to imagine what I will publish the next day. I try even to change every time the line and also to bring different colours, this way the set in the gallery looks very colourful, like a harlequin of stations.
Where do you find the historical information and curiousities about the stations? What are your sources?
Wikipedia is a great resource of information that I always try to verify by comparing the English version with the German one. But I also do a wider research: I try to find out if the station is linked to some film, particular event, or singer who has lived in the neighborhood, etc… If I read an article about a station, I take notes. I tell what I’m interested to know and I wish people will share.
How many stations exist today? And are you going to tell them all?
There are 170 active stations. I have already photographed them all and published almost all. As I finish, I’ll begin to share beautiful details that I photographed around the stations. I’d like then tell about every U-Bahn of Germany… by the way, I’m looking for a sponsor!
What are the three stations of your heart?
I swear, I don’t have any favourite station. I fell in love with the whole metropolitan system of Berlin, as a whole. But I can point out, however, three stations that have impressed me for their beauty (Lindauer Allee) or elegance (Hansaplatz) or history (Franözisische Straße).
And what about a trip that you think is worth doing even just to stop and see a few U-Bahns?
U3 or U7! Without doubts. Even if the other lines are not to be less. The U3 is older and it was built with the intent to make it gorgeous, indeed it shows up. The U7 is multicoloured, almost psychedelic, at least on the west part.
Tell us a little bit about you. Who are you, what do you do and why do you live in Berlin?
As I said, after 10 years in New York City, I realized I was missing Europe and I decided to come to Berlin… almost by chance. I didn’t speak German, I did a four-month language course but I still don’t speak it. I started working in restaurants, two months ago I fired and now I’m working at the customer service office of GetYourGuide. I really like the environment. Oh, almost forgot, I’ve fun as Dj since I was 14. In NY I made some events, but not many. It would be great to play some techno in this city!
As you are an expert, we’ll ask you to explain a “weirdness”: the Berlin underground do not have bars to enter/exit. Is it only in the capital city or in all German U-Bahn? Does it mean there are many ticket inspectors? Or citizens are simply honest and happy to pay for a public transport that works? How much does it cost travelling by metro? And if you get caught without a ticket, what happens?
I pay 81 euros for a monthly ticket without limitations. With this ticket during the whole weekend another person can travel with me, free of charge. There are no bars and I haven’t seen them even in other German cities. There are inspectors and if you get caught without a ticket, I think the fine is around 60 euro. I don’t know if people are happy to pay. Because the subway in Berlin is certainly not perfect and definitely dirty (ok, not as in NY). I think it’s a question of culture. If you are used to paying, you won’t even occur to use the public transport without a ticket. But yes, I often see people caught but I don’t know the percentage of Germans or tourists.
And is it true that you can travel with your bike? There are special wagons for those who ride?
True, you can travel with your bike and there are some special wagons. However, there is a supplement to pay.
We have seen your “U-Bahn beer coasters” for the true lovers of this city. If we come to visit you in Berlin, where would you offer us a good beer?
Yep, my beer coasters are very beautiful. A little expensive but they are forever, colourful, shiny, resistant! I would take you somewhere in Friedrichshain, a typical East-Berlin neighborhood. Graffiti, people from around the world, clubs, restaurants, youth. We are spoiled for choice. One place in particular? Here, a bar that turns into a club with good electronic music and Dj: Suß War Gestern.
Danke Claudio und bis bald! 😉
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NEWS ABOUT: THE BOOK IS OUT!