DOs and DO NOTs

DO watch out for oldschool bikes screaming down the streets at 70km an hour. They do not stop for pedestrians and seem to relish in your fear, so it’s up to you to avoid a collision. DO be prepared when purchasing goods at Lidl or other discount supermarkets. The cashiers move at an unearthly speed […]

DO watch out for oldschool bikes screaming down the streets at 70km an hour. They do not stop for pedestrians and seem to relish in your fear, so it’s up to you to avoid a collision. DO be prepared when purchasing goods at Lidl or other discount supermarkets. The cashiers move at an unearthly speed and do not appreciate those who dawdle, so have your re-useable bags out and your change ready. DO keep your empty bottles. Most bottles can be returned to the vendor for at least 20 cents, although you may have to protect them from scavengers who will offer to take them off your hands for you. DO try a variety of kebabs, beer, Wurst, absinthe and pastries. Berlin has loads of cheap and good quality food and drink, and every now and then you’ll come across something that will change your life. DO try to speak the language. In Berlin, the majority of people do speak some English but, like most countries, natives will be kinder to you if you at least try a bit of German to start off with.

DO NOT J-walk or cross the road at traffic lights when the little fat Ampelmann is red. Brazenly dashing across roads like you would in Paris or London is socially unacceptable in Berlin, especially in front of children, so to avoid getting yelled at in German in the middle of a road, wait for the green. DO NOT put money in the middle of a table when paying at a bar or cafe. They usually prefer if you pay separately too. DO NOT expect to get into the premier clubs in Berlin like Watergate. The queues are long, the clientele exclusive, so bouncers are looking for any reason to deny you entry. If you do decide to give it a go, dress up, try not to scream ‘tourist,’ and know who the DJ is, and you might just get in. DO NOT light up cigarettes in public areas unless other people are smoking. There is an official smoking ban in public areas in Berlin although it is rarely adhered to. But to avoid trouble, follow the locals and ask before smoking indoors. DO NOT fare evade on the train. The ticket inspectors do not have the best sense of humour and pulling the ‘I don’t speak German’ is not going to get you out of a fine as the directions are written in English too. Best to just buy a ticket. DO NOT use hostel internet if possible. Internet cafes are ridiculously cheap here, so it is fiscally sounder to go to your local net cafe and pay 50 cents an hour, rather than 2€ for 20 minutes which is the going rate at most hostels..
Berlin winter group 2009

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