Sunday, 10 o'clock in the morning, the Volksbank ATM station from Wilmersdorferstrasse. A quiet snowy day when you need some cash and it is not late enough or early enough to avoid entering such a place with treasures. Plus, it is the safe Wilmersdorferstrasse where nothing serious could happen - except some month ago, to use the very open public space near the station as a ladies restroom...
Anyway, I entered the small ATM station and a strong smell cut my apetite for the next 4 hours. On the left corner, a mass of black blankets moved and a talking head wished me 'Good morning'. Apparently, my life is harder than a homeless' as I was up from 6 o'clok in the morning. I was not necessarily surprised, as I was told many stories about the secret life of ATMs in Berlin, I must confess that I did not enjoyed the smell and the idea of checking my account while someone else sleeping somewhere. Not the idea of using the space as a bedroom was bothering me, as I could understand the problems of homeless people in Berlin, but the idea of operating with money, as a woman, in a space where it was only me and the man in the sleeping bag.
I decided to take the risk anyway and continue with the financial operations and once finished I jumped as far as possible. I needed more than anything else a fresh air.
Such a situation is completely typical for Berlin, I think. In my travels I haven't seen so much leniency when it comes to guarding and protecting spaces where money and values are operated. A couple of days ago I friend told me about a hold-up in a hotel situated in a very central area. Someone pointed out a gun took the money and left. Most banks and hotels do not have guards of personnel that may deter the evildoers to plan their actions. I did not read or hear about significant attacks and in most cases the spaces of the ATMs are used as bedrooms and/or public restrooms (if you don't really need to get some cash, you better use the online versions or avoid as much as possible those places till the Monday morning cleaning is done). Why? Because it is a matter of money, but also because many do not really care about a high protection for values. Whose the richest one in a very poor city?