When travel to a new city, a smart traveler should always prepare for the destination, which is something I had developed into a habit of doing. Prior to my first trip to Berlin, I prepared a short list of place I wanted to see while there. Just like everyone else, I bought a guidebook with a map so I can plan my itinerary for each day I was there. On my list, I planned to see Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall East Gallery and Kronzprinzenpalais. But there was one thing I saw in the streets of Berlin that I was certainly not expecting.
I was walking down a street called Glinkastrasse on the way to Unter den Linden when I stumbled upon what I thought was a parking symbol painted on the street. I had never seen anything like this before, nor have I heard of it. On the asphalt on the corner of the street was what looked like an empty parking space with a drawing of a female figure. Looking at it I thought “what does this means?” I found this very surprising and also a bit amusing but in a very good way. One would not expect something like this in Berlin. My first impression was that this parking space is exclusively for female driver only. This whole idea would be grand then I thought that can’t be. So I decided to contact the Berlin Tourist Information Office for information.
It turned out this is not a parking space for the exclusive use of women (bummer!). In fact, it’s not a parking space at all. According to the Berlin Tourist Information office, this symbol means that motorists are not allowed to park their vehicles in this section because this section of the street is reserved for pedestrians only – another version of a pedestrian lane. I could not really call it a lane since it was shaped like a parking space going across the street rather than parallel to it. Looking at the symbol, it looks like the female figure was walking which would make sense. In most countries, they would use the mail figure for such laws however in Berlin, they’ve decided on a female figure, perhaps an attempt to make things a bit gender-neutral.
One thing I’ve learned from this experience is always keep your eyes open. We also tend to look up when doing walking tours in the new city. But sometimes it doesn’t hurt to look down and where you are going. Keep your eyes peeled. It was one of the surprises I certainly enjoyed during my travels to Germany.Google+