Annoying Details You Need to Know Before Moving to Berlin

This is Berlin and we all love it right? Right, BUT… there are a few things that over time annoy you to the point of dropping everything you are doing, flip the table and drive to the sunset without looking back! Now that I got it off my chest, let me detail exactly what I mean with this.

Germany doesn’t understand the concept of having blinds in the bedroom

I have news for you: not everyone gets out of bed before the sunrise, special during weekends! Something I always took for granted but guess what? Not in Germany. Most of the flats come without blinds in the bedroom and if you’re a workaholic like me there will be many sleepless mornings between the day you move in and the day you finally get those blinds installed.

The standoffishness and rudeness behaviour of the natives

Being the bus driver, the average bar waiter or a public servant, you will always have to prove upfront you are worth of deserving their time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a foreigner or not, almost everyone in Berlin has its own story on being yelled at, schooled or paternalised. Everyone has their own opinion on how things should be and how people should behave. However, don’t even think on telling a Berliner what to do, where to do it or how to do it. You’ll experience a level of insanity like never before.

Turning right? Not so fast.

Here in Berlin changing directions while driving a car can become a true challenge and it’s not for the weak minded! Thinking about turning right? Think again. The unstoppable stream of cyclists on the bike lanes— specially during the summer months — has the priority and will keep passing by until the traffic light turns red again. Remember those dead angles? One cyclist will always be there, ready to bring your morning frustration to a whole new level! On the flip side it’s fair to say that there are a lot of unconscient drivers out there with the potential of turning the occasional commuting bike ride into a deadly experience. So even at the expense of your own sanity and schedule, always respect the bikes (and all other vehicles and pedestrians for that matter)!

Garbage collection madness

Do you have an inside patio in your building where the trash cans are stored? Congratulations! Get ready to be woken up a few times per week by the garbage collectors dragging the massive waste containers all over your ears at 7am!

No cash? No fun.

This is one of the things I had the hardest time dealing with, including leaving a date alone in a bar for 30min while I was searching for a working ATM. Don’t fight it and just accept that in the worst possible moment someone will not accept your debit/credit card as payment and always have cash on you. In the world we live in this is actually good, both in terms of privacy as well as escaping the insane card fees every business owner has to support, but will definitely not get you laid!

Where’s the sun?

Although Berlin is one of the sunniest cities in Germany and not as though as London for example it only has in average 60 days of sun per year. On top of that, if those few days are too sparse (like this year) you will not be able to enjoy that consecutive summer feeling that allows you to take your eyes off the weather app and be relaxed in regards to what to wear or where to go.

Einzelfahrschein your way out of this one!

Got your PhD in public transports? Then you are about to get one. Don’t take me wrong, this is an incredible good thing about Germany: the on-time and country wide public transportation system. However, understanding which ticket you have to buy, which train you need to enter, figure your way out of train disruptions, etc will drive every tourist or fresh-Berliners totally nuts! From entering the train in the wrong direction, having the train do a full stop and everyone leaving without understanding why and what to do next, getting yelled at by the train staff for breaking some kind of rule I never understood to stay 4 hours in the middle of nowhere in a train disruption, I experienced it all! The ultimate challenge is to try to buy a ticket in the Tram analogical machine for the first time with a bunch of annoyed germans queuing behind you. Once in a lifetime experience!

Got some great feedback from a lot of people so decided to add their own Berlin annoying stories below!

That ambulance emergency noise that literally causes you physical pain

Nikolaos Pizanias very well remembered of the insanely loud ambulances. Seriously, what’s wrong with people? There’s not one single time we don’t have to stop talking and let it pass so we can all get back to our lives.

That first time when you get asked if you’ll bring your own kitchen when you move in a new apartment

My own kitchen? Seriously? Dimitri van Wezel, I still remember when I got the question and felt like my spaceship crashed and landed in the wrong planet. Who on God’s green hearth moves around with their own kitchen? Apparently a lot of people in Germany. Again, assume nothing and prepare for the worse during your flat hunt!

Beware of sarcasm!

I suffer with that every single day Shana Vandercruysse! There’s not a joke that can be made, politically incorrect or not without someone getting offended. It’s so ridiculous sometimes that it already got part of the city charm. Let’s avoid all the jokes, be on the safe side and live our boring lives until we get too old and our skin get’s too dry to smile!

Hope you enjoyed this article and don’t forget to use the comments section to share your own experience of the cultural shock situations that drove you nuts as a foreigner living in Berlin!

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