There is no other city in Germany that proposes a ride on a boat as a part of the public transport system. Berlin does! Among 6 boat lines there is F24 – a rowing boat operating each summer season weekend between Rahnsdorf Kruggasse-Müggelheim Spreewiesen.
Paule III – the boat named after it’s operator Paul Rahn1 who rowed it for 22 years from 1978 – It’s the shortest BVG line (around 30m long). A ride cost a Kurzstrecke ticket and is suitable for up to 10 passengers or four with 4 bicycles. Alike other boats in BVG offer – Paul III is part of Weiße Flotte Stralsund. The company won a competition with their only solar power driven and bicycle friendly boats proposition (which is another water-friendly topic to write about… soon soon).
Paule III swims between two coasts of Mügelspree – the area where the main Berlin’s river stream begins. Historic fishing village, kayaking tours, Berlin’s Spreewald and a time break – even the Paule III schedule doesn’t follow the punctuality rules and it’s courses depends on it’s captain decision. The scenery is idillic, yet rowing the boat is a hard work. Around 10-12 strokes of paddles, pushing the 1 tone boat plus passengers through the river multiple times per day with up to 10 hours shift! However – the new captain Marcel Franke – likes this place and his occupation. It’s the fifth official captain of Paule III ever since the course started in 1911.
The fact that this rowing boat still operates shouldn’t ever be taken for granted. Just 4 years ago line was about to be cancelled due to it’s minor functionality and wasted costs for maintenance. That time captain Ronald Kebelmann clearly protested against it : ‘The rowing ferry belongs to Rahnsdorf like the captain to Köpenick‘2and was followed by multiple protestors. So today we still can enjoy the ride and part of a saved Berlin’s tradition.
The present captain is an extremely friendly smiling person that would answer all your questions between a bite of a Fishbrötchen from local fisherei and making a boat runde. He loves water and swims or dive in his free time.
Go and have a look by yourself – Mügelspree / Rahnsdorf has it’s own water based manners, Nature Protected areas, canals that any motor can enter, places where you find Racoons !!! Makes you feel like you are not in the city anymore, same time thinking- welcome to Berlin! with all it’s thousands vibrant appearances.
For those like me, that wants to not only be carried by river flows but feel it’s water on their own bodies – no worries. Simply jump in and swim along Paule III. Water is shallow, refreshing, offers plenty of plants formation and specific earthy smell…
…you might also like to read this article about Paul III in english