Our Hotel was on Friedrichstrasse, very close to Checkpoint Charlie, and there was a U Bahn station (Metro, Underground) almost on the doorstep (Kochstrasse) but we didn't use it for the first two days as we like to walk and take in everything.
However, on the Sunday the blisters were really making themselves known so we decided to give the rail system a try-out. The first thing we noticed was that virtually everything is automated and seems to be run on an honesty system. You buy a ticket and get it validated at a machine, then you get on a train. You don't have to show it, scan it or open any barriers. Maybe they do spot checks, but we didn't see anyone showing a ticket at any point. I think we overpaid, but just kept pressing away at buttons until we got some tickets.
Then we decided to go a little further, thus requiring a trip on the S Bahn, which is a light railway that runs overground but still does short trips.
Now, these stations are temples of glass, but with a strangely Victorian air about them. One thing I loved was the escalators. When no-one is on them they stop, a sensor as you get on sets them off again. The lights in the hotel corridor were similar and went off behind as you walked along. Berlin is a very modern eco city.
Again, no-one asked to see a ticket, and by this time we'd amassed a few. I think one would have done, but better safe than sorry, right? The trains are clean and on time. The stations are not as easy to negotiate as the Moscow or Paris Metro , but easier than London where a confusing selection of trains use the same lines. We only had one hold up where a line turned out to be closed but a polite notice in German was the only indicator.
My German is basic to say the least, but I was surprised how much I understood. Many people speak (very good) English, many appear not to speak a word. In the Deutsches Historisches Museum (where we went to see the Hitler Exhibition ) no-one seemed to speak English which seemed odd as it was heaving with all manner of foreigners who all seemed to have English as a second language. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't expect anyone to speak to me in my own language when I'm not in my own country, it's just unusual in a museum. We both speak basic French and my Russian is good so we can always give them a go!
But I digress... as we got off the last train a man got on with a lovely black dog (dogs are allowed everywhere) and on his shoulder was a white cockatiel... where's the camera when you need it?