General Information

 
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Airports

Berlin is served by three airports: Tegel (TXL), Tempelhof (THF) und Schöneberg (SXL).

www.berlin-airport.de (available in English)


Basic German

Sprechen Sie Englisch? Do you speak English?
Ich spreche kein Deutsch. I don’t speak German.
Ich verstehe nicht. I don’t understand
Die Rechnung bitte. The bill please
Wieviel kostet das? How much does this cost?
Wo,Wann,Warum,Wie? Where, when, why, how?
Ja Yes
Nein No
Bitte Please
Danke Thank you
Wo ist? Where is?
Hallo Hello
Auf Wiedersehen/Tschüss Good bye
Guten Morgen Good morning
Guten Abend Good evening
Entschuldigung Sorry
    

Banking hours

Although hours vary, most banks are open from:

Monday, Wednesday 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Tuesday, Thursday 9:00 AM  -6:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM -12:30PM

 


Beer

Drinking beer in Germany is a way of life. German beer is of very high quality because of the German Beer Purity Regulation laid down in 1516 and unchanged since. There are some 4000 brands of pure german beer!!! In Berlin, there are three breweries: Berliner Kindl, Berliner Pilsner.and Schultheiss. If you want a dark beer, ask for Schwartzbeer. Otherwise you are safe with a Pils, vom Fass (on tap). In case you are wondering what the green and red stuff is that others are drinking at neighbouring tables, it is probably the ubiquitous Berliner Weisse "Rot" or "Grün" sour beer mixed with syrup - either you like it or you hate it. Prost!!


Climate

22°C-23°C (72F)
could go as high as 30C (86F)
could go as low as… best not to think about it.

weather.cnn.com/weather/forecast.jsp?locCode=EDBB

www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day.shtml?world=0050


Credit Cards

All major hotels and most, but not all, restaurants and shops accept credit cards. Some photo identification may be required.


Currency

As of January 1, 2002, the official currency of Germany is the Euro (one Euro is divided into 100 cents)
Current exchange rates can be found here:
www.x-rates.com


Electricity

220V, 50 Hz, Standard European plugs


Embassies

For a list of embassies with addresses and phone numbers check the following webpage.

www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/bauen/botschaften/index_en.shtml


Emergency numbers

  • Police (Polizei) 110
  • Fire Department and Ambulance Service (Feuerwehr) 112
  • Poison Control  19 2 40
  • Medical Emergency Service (Notarzt - makes housecalls) 31 00 31
  • Dental Emergency Service  89 00 43 33
  • Pharmacy 01141 (emergency medication after hours)

 


Jogging

Too much beer and bratwurst? Put on your jogging shoes and head for the vast green expanse of the Tiergarten, right in the middle of the city, just off Brandenburg Gate. This park with woodland and lakes has many running trails.


Lost and found

Central offices:   Platz der Luftbrücke 6
                               12101 Berlin-Tempelhof
                               +49 30 699-5
                               U-Bahn station Platz der Luftbrücke

BVG offices:       Potsdamer Strasse 180/182
                               10783 Berlin-Schöneberg
                               +49 30 256 230 40
                               U-Bahn station Kleistpark


Post office

German post offices are generally open from

Monday-Friday 8:00 AM -  6:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM -1:00 PM

Some post offices have longer opening hours. One example is the post office at the Train Station Zoologischer Garten.

Rates:

  Europe Airmail (Non-Europe)
Standard letter 0,55 Euro 1,50 Euro
Postcard 0,50 Euro 1,00 Euro

 


Public Phones

Most booths have been replaced by free-standing poles/columns marked by a pink Deutsche Telekom logo and are located throughout the city. You need a phone card available at any post office or press shop. The phones can also be operated with coins.

Telephone information (Auskunft) 11 8 33


Public Transportation

www.BVG.de (website available in English)

There is an extensive network of buses (Bus), subway (U-Bahn), elevated railway (S-Bahn) and Trams (only in former East Berlin). Don’t be surprised if sometimes the subway runs on elevated tracks above the street and the S-Bahn sometimes dives underground.

Tickets are good on any of the above means of transportation. They are sold from machines in stations and in shops with the sign “BVG-Wertmarken.” Make sure you validate your ticket the first time you use it by inserting it in the yellow machines “Entwerter.” The fine for not having a valid ticket is 30 Euro payable on the spot. A single ticket costs 2,10 Euro. It is valid for two hours and for unlimited travelling. A day ticket costs 6,10 Euro and a short trip ticket ("Kurzstrecke", valid for up to 3 stations on S+U-Bahn and 6 stations on bus) costs 1,20 Euro. 

TXL-shuttle Bus (Jet Express Bus TXL)

Connects the Tegel airport with the heart of “Mitte.” Between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM there is a bus every ten minutes from the airport to Berlin-Mitte. It takes anywhere from 25 to 40 min from Tegel airport to Unter den Linden.


Radio

  • Klassik Radio 101,3 FM for classical music.
  • BBC 90,2 FM english speaking radio station

Shopping hours

Stores are generally open Mo-Fr 10am-6pm, Sa 9am-1pm

Department stores are open Mo-Fr 9am-8pm, Sa 9am-4pm, Sunday closed.

The only stores open on Sundays are bakeries and some flower stores, but they are open only for a couple of hours, usually in the morning. Gas stations have small shopping areas where basic necessities can be found. Some are open 24/7. At the S-Bahn station Friedrichstrasse there is also a store that has extended opening hours.


Survival tips

  • Cycling is popular in Berlin. Watch for bicycle riders.!! They can be quite “fearsome,” as they race down their cycle lanes, and don’t always slow down for pedestrians. Don’t be surprised if you hear them honking at you if you are “trespassing” in their lane.
  • Be aware of the fact that the numbering on the streets doesn’t always follow the traditional system of numbering.
  • Berlin is the capital of dogs. You may want to keep in mind that dog owners don’t always clean after their pets, so watch where you step!!
  • Water in Berlin is certainly drinkable and safe. Some restaurants are reluctant though to provide tap water since they would prefer you to order bottled water instead. Be careful when asking for water since most of the time, you’ll get mineral water with carbonation (Mineralwasser). If you prefer your water without bubbles, ask for water “Ohne Kohlensaeure”. For tap water ask for “Leitungswasser” 

Taxis

The cream-colored taxis, Mercedes for the most part,  are easily recognizable. They can be either flagged down on the street or are available by calling on of the following numbers

  • 26 10 26
  • 21 01 01
  • 21 02 02
  • 69 0 22
  • 44 33 22

A tip is not obligatory but is greatly appreciated.

Taxis can be found at the Tegel airport between Gates 7 and 8.


Time

Berlin is in the Central European time zone, one hour ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), 9 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time and 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.


Tipping

Tipping is not generally expected in Germany. Restaurants include a service charge in the bill and it is customary to round up the figure if you have been satisfied with the service.

Taxi drivers appreciate a small tip. As a guideline, 10% is considered generous.

 

     

 

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updated: 23.09.08