The first people you meet when you first arrive to Berlin is either, other Australian friends of yours who you’ve already met, unfamiliar Australians, British people, or Americans in the hostel you’re staying in. Then maybe someone of these 4 groups will say, “LETS GO TO ON A PUB CRAWL!” I suggest either running away, or accepting that you’re not going to have a very cultural evening, but you will get drunk and probably have a silly yet fun time. If you actually want to go and meet some locals, the best thing you can do is sit in park, research a cafe or bar that isn’t found in literature associated with “Lonely Planet,” or go clubbing. And you know what? I bet you a million dollars even then, you don’t meet a German. You just have to persist. You will eventually meet some lovely German folk (Germans in Berlin speak near perfect English), who offer you an insight into the city no expat can give you.
However, I’m told by tourists and locals alike, that with the rise of tourism, comes a distaste for tourists. Therefore, attempting to speak German is a must, being drunk and offensive is not acceptable and disrespecting any cultural customs should seriously be avoided. Unfortunately many of my fellow Australians have a) not read this blog and taken my advice or b) have shown no initiative and carried out all of the above, thus it makes me so sad to admit, but Australians have a poor reputation amongst locals.
On my first arrival ever in Berlin, I had not eaten in nearly 24 hours, so I was about ready to chew my own arm off. I walked into a cafe and found the only thing on the menu I could decipher and that was a quiche. I asked to waitress for quiche and she just looked at me, rolled her eyes and starts speaking to me in German. I ask her to speak English, she continues in German. Until I’m feeling so embarrassed I walk out, of the shop, hungry, not thinking clearly and into the arms of a wonderful Turkish Kebab that delivered me a magnificent hit of lamb, beef and garlic sauce. Moral of the story, a little German goes a long way, but if you don’t have a little German, there’s always a kebab….