It’s strike season in Berlin. All the unions are renegotiating their contracts, and we all know how that tends to go, especially in a city like Berlin, where the cost of living is increasing but the salaries are not adjusting to this increase. For us, it has mostly meant a handful of days when the KiTa is closed (today is the fourth in about a month). We’re lucky enough to both be flexible in our work, which allows us to alternate who takes time off, and we have family nearby to help out when that’s not possible.
Meanwhile, the BVG was on strike for half a day back in mid-February. This fell on a day I happened to have work in Prenzlauer Berg; I freelance with SoundCloud and need to be in the office at least once a month. On this particular day, I had meetings I couldn’t really reschedule, so I decided to do the morning KiTa dropoff and then walk to Prenzlauer Berg. Luckily it was a sunshine-y day, so the walk was mostly enjoyable (I did stop at Fine Bagels along the way for a proper breakfast), and 8km later, I was at my destination. It was so bizarre to walk through a city with no public transportation that I could see (the S-Bahn was running, but my path didn’t go across it too much). Tracks were empty of trams, stations I’d only ever seen open were physically closed off, and things were a lot quieter in general. While I can see how limited public transit is a huge inconvenience for many people, as someone who works inside all day and hardly ever sees the sunlight during the week days, I was actually quite grateful for the excuse to get some fresh air and sunshine and take things a lot more slowly.