by our beloved Alessandra M.
Welcome to Berlin! A city filled with endless history, techno clubs and kebabs. Its magical ways seduce people from all over the world. But like any city, it has its quirks. Here are four tips and tricks to stash up your sleeve for any first time visitor.
- Cash – Unlike most of Western Europe, where creditcards are massively accepted, Germany is unique in its love for physical dinero. Don’t be surprised when you go to a restaurant or bar and find they accept cash only.
- Euronet (AKA The Siren Song of Evil Yellow Boxes) – Speaking of cash, when you arrive in Berlin and are on a mission to fill your wallets with crisp euro bills, you will feel a seductive pull to use one of the bright yellow Euronet ATMs. Conveniently located on practically every street of Berlin, these ATMs lure you in with their siren’s song. BUT BE WARNED – these privately operated, evil yellow boxes, charge hefty fees for usage and exchange rate (up to 15%). To avoid being ripped off, take a little trip to one of Germany’s major banks – such as Deutsch Bank. These banks don’t charge foreigners ATM fees and therefore you can save yourself from experiencing the nauseating shock waves caused by the evil yellow boxes. * I also recommend taking out a larger amount of cash to avoid frequent trips to the bank.
- Smiling -When walking down the street in Berlin don’t smile at strangers. It’s weird. In fact, avoid smiling all together in public. I’m joking. But, not really. In truth, Germans are some of the friendliest people I have met in Europe. However, they are not ones for small talk and fake politeness. So if someone is direct with you, especially in customer service, don’t take it as being rude or cold.
- Jaywalking – Just don’t. Wait at crosswalks until you see the little green man giving you the go. Also, be aware of the bike lanes throughout the city. If you hear a bike bell going off that’s your warning to move. You can guess the consequences otherwise – they aren’t cute.