Running has opened the doors to visit a lot of places I’ve never thought possible. Places like Tokyo and Berlin are two major places that I am glad I felt the fear and did it anyway. Visiting a foreign country especially when you do not know the language is always a challenge. After some research and courage, Berlin became a dream come true. With every place I visit, I always learn something out of it, below are some things I’ve learned while visiting Berlin.
- No ice in drinks. So this left me a bit confused, as I gotten so used to having iced cold drinks. I mean, what’s an iced coffee without ice, or a fountain soda without ice. Hmm… After two visits to a two common fast food restaurants I quickly learned that maybe they didn’t run out of ice, that maybe this no ice thing was a norm.
Why Don’t Other Countries Use Ice Cubes? – Smithsonian.com
- Drinking beer in the daytime is very, very common. It’s like walking around with a Gatorade or a bottle water here in NYC. Drinking beer all the time is common, so don’t be surprised when you see someone walking around with a beer bottle down the street.
- Smoking is a thing. A huge thing. I think they smoke more than they eat. Smoking one to two packs a day is normal.
- Speaking of food, you all know how I love food, the food is great. If you are into sausages and potatoes and eating big portions, this is the place to visit.
Recommended place to eat where food isn’t too pricey, but yet very delicious, is Ali Baba, a nice Italian place.
- Ketchup and Mayo seems to be a major thing as well. It’s in pretty much everything. Mainly fries, but you will find it with your CurryWurst and your KFC and your burger joints. You also get charged extra for these two.
You’ll see several places to get a curry wurst, but I found Curry 36 to be the best. Try it, let me know what you think.
- Transportation is kind of interesting. I don’t know if I totally understood it, but unlike NYC, Paris or Tokyo where you pay a fare, either when you exit the station or before entering the station, in Berlin, you purchase your ticket, “validate it” once, during your whole stay or length of ticket and just continue riding the trains and buses as you please. All you do is show the card to the bus driver, who rarely looks at it, or the train conductor, if you see him. It was interesting to say the least. Other than that, their double decker buses was the best way to get around and see Berlin, they cover a lot of major sights and landmarks not to be missed.
- History – So much history in Berlin. Every where you walk to, you see a piece of history. It felt creepy to be around that much history, especially after doing a couple WWII tours, it felt a little too real and alive for me.
- Most of the residents speak English very well. Even though it’s nice to know a thing or two in German, most places can speak and understand English. So do not be afraid to ask if they speak English or if they have an English menu at a restaurant.
- Saunas – most saunas are coed. So funny story, I was at my hotel room after running the Berlin Marathon, so I decided to relax a bit in the Sauna room at the hotel I was staying at. To make a long story short, I quickly learned, that unlike NYC, the saunas in Berlin and I’m guessing most European countries, are co-ed and for the most part nude. Umm… I wasn’t too comfortable with that idea, so I turned right back around to my room.
- Lots to see and learn – I was in Berlin for about a week, and even though it seemed like a good amount of time to explore the city, it really wasn’t. I didn’t get a chance to visit all the museums and learn more about the history, I also didn’t get a chance to visit the different neighborhoods and try out their food and bar hop with the locals. Berlin is also known for their nightlife, I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to do that either.
So much to cover, so little time. Hope to see you soon Berlin!