One of my favourite conversation classes involves discussing pet hates. The other day in one class, we were discussing the most popular pet hates that German people have on holiday. Believe it or not, but the stereotypical German holiday pet hate was the sad, greedy holidaymakers who get up early armed with their towels to nab all the sun loungers. Interesting.
This class got me onto thinking what pet hates I have about Berlin. Ok, don’t get me wrong. Berlin is a great city. However, like each and every major conglomeration, it has its fair share of drawbacks and disadvantages. Maybe less than London, maybe more than Paris.
Pedestrian traffic lights
I hold the pedestrian crossings in as much contempt as they have for me and the rest of Berlin’s foot bound populace. For a city that is so well-planned in many ways, I cannot fathom the thought process behind whichever genius (deviant or sadist) designed them. For starters, the pedestrian crossing closest to my gaff takes 3 minutes to change from pressing the button to stopping the traffic. Worse are the busy roads where you have just enough time to reach the central traffic island before the lights change and you have to wait another 5 minutes to cross from there. Quite how the elderly and disabled manage, I have no idea.
Idiots with Porsches, Mercedes and other expensive cars on Kufurstendamm
Idiot with Porsche etc:
“So I was bored and I spent all my money (or my parent’s money) on a flash, fancy car. How best to use it? Hmmm….I could go to the German autobahn network which has no speed limit. No, that’s a stupid idea. I know! Why don’t I go to Ku’damm and drive up and down the road for a few hours, revving the engine? That will impress everyone, win me friends and make my purchase really, totally worthwhile”.
Pedestrians/other road users on Ku’damm:
“What a tosser”
Anyone who works mobile will weep at the amount of time they waste staring through the inky abyss that are the windows of Berlin’s U-bahn. Travelling English teachers will have it worst than most of the city’s residents. Although Berlin’s underground may not be as crowded (or expensive) as London’s, it’s still hot and mind-numbingly boring. It would be enough to make you want to cycle everywhere, if Berlin wasn’t so big.
All visitor attractions cost
Some people can, and will accuse me of being a cheapskate. Living in Berlin in general is extremely cheap, from your 35 cent Sternburg Exports (beer) to your flat rental (although prices are on the up). However, for anyone who wants to take in Berlin’s (rather mediocre) tourist attractions, pricing can be a little more aggressive. You will struggle to find a museum under €10. Visiting the church in the centre – €6. Even going for a slash in the public toilet costs 50 cent. It’s almost like Berlin’s town planners desire public urination.
- No shops on Sunday – sure, that would make life too convenient
- Nightclubs with restrictive door policies – You can’t not let me in. I didn’t want to go in there anyway because it’s too cool and has rubbish music
- Having a flat viewing audition – Flat hunting with 20 of your competitors
- No mountains or hills – leaves the €13 TV tower as (practically) the only viewing platform