With high summer temperatures, the Berlin outdoor pools could hardly withstand the onslaught on Saturday. Visitors report seemingly endless queues, overwhelmed employees and technical deficits – because the digital ticket service of the pool companies broke down at the weekend and is currently not available.

With a view to the hot weekend, the Berlin baths had asked bathers to book their tickets in advance in the online shop, which guaranteed entry. The companies then wrote on the website on Saturday: “Unfortunately, our ticket shop is currently not available, tickets for the summer pools are only available at the pool registers until further notice.”

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Spokesman Matthias Oloew had announced before the weekend that the number of visitors was expected to be much higher than on average days. Unlike in the years before the pandemic, according to Oloew, there will be upper limits from this season. “That means: If a pool is full, i.e. sold out, there are no more tickets at the cash desks.” The security specialists were raised to maximum strength for the weekend.

A visitor reported that she had already booked her tickets online on Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, the server collapsed – online purchases were no longer possible.

Despite the ticket, the woman waited an hour and a half at the Pankow outdoor pool on Saturday afternoon, according to her own statements. At the entrance, the employees could not check the ticket – and also referred to the server problem here.

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The woman then came in with her tickets anyway. According to her descriptions, the outdoor pool was completely overcrowded, at the moment you had to queue for half an hour for the slide. Another woman from Pankow wanted to go to the outdoor pool in the afternoon and reported that she turned around immediately when she saw the 300 meter long queue. At the toy store, she bought a mini inflatable paddling pool. The children are now cooling off in the garden.

The Wannsee lido was also completely overcrowded on Saturday, and a 200-meter long queue had formed in front of the Mariendorf summer pool around noon. In other pools, too, the rush was well above average. For example, according to a dpa reporter, the queue at the summer swimming pool in Humboldthain was sometimes up to a hundred meters long – inside it was overcrowded.

At the Prinzenbad in Kreuzberg, the queue of bathers only ended in the afternoon at the entrance to the subway station Prinzenstraße. It was at least 100 meters to the registers of the pool, people were standing close together.

Stefan Laarmann, who was standing in line with his ten-year-old son Mio, already had the cash register in sight, it was only 15 meters to the entrance.

But it wasn’t progressing, he wasn’t progressing. He had been waiting for two hours and was annoyed because only two cash registers were open and processing was so slow. If you didn’t have a ticket, you had to get one at the ticket office.

“The problem,” said Laarmann, “is that you could no longer buy tickets online because the server crashed and because ticket sales are so slow. They sit behind their centimetre-thick glass and hardly understand what you are saying.”

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On the other hand, 15 meters behind Laarmann in the queue, a young man with a dark blue T-shirt stayed calm. He too had been waiting for a long time, but said: “I’ll do it. There’s no alternative. It’s definitely just as bad in the other pools.”

Only those who had an online ticket could go through a separate entrance straight to the machine that scanned the ticket. And the manual processing really took a long time.

For a young mother from Ukraine who had to wait in line with three children, it was painfully long. One of her children was only ten months old, lying in a stroller shielded by a sunshade and being fed from a milk bottle. “It’s bad for the children,” she says, “they’re standing in the blazing sun.”

Two young women from Münster were standing at the entrance to the Prinzenstrasse underground station, wondering whether they should still do this to themselves. They thought it was okay to wait an hour, but they didn’t know how long it would actually take. “We’re just thinking about turning around,” they said. “But we don’t know what else to do.”

Another young woman at the entrance moaned, “I’m used to queues, but this is too much.” But she didn’t want to leave just yet. For now.

There were also many boats, stand-up paddlers and kayaks on and in the waters between Berlin and Potsdam on Saturday, and the upper decks of excursion boats were well filled.