First Impressions of Berlin

Berlin is a city I’ve always been curious about. There’s so much history, so much culture and so much street art, I knew I had to go and explore. Another plus point is that Germany is a new country for my 40 before 40 list and so I booked my flights and went over for the August bank holiday weekend. I like to write about my first impressions of a new city, so this post is sharing my first impressions of Berlin.

Public transport is frequent but confusing

I found the Berlin public transport system very similar to London’s tube. There are lots of lines that all cross over at different stations, much like the tube does. I won’t talk too much about this as I have a post on public transport coming up soon, but I will say that trains are frequent, even to and from the airport.

The inside of a train carriage on Berlin public transport

German is easier to read than I thought

At school I did a year of German, in year 9, because I was good at french. This just confused me, really, and the only thing I remember how to say is that I’m twelve-helpful, when I’m not twelve and no one cares how old I am anyway. I expected to really struggle with signs being in German but actually, a lot of the words are recognisable and whilst I couldn’t read the entire sign, I got the general idea.

People don’t seem to talk to strangers

This seems to be the same in all big cities so I’m not sure why I was so surprised that in Berlin, no one seems to talk to strangers. Much like London, whenever I smiled at someone (I’m northern, we do talk to strangers up here!) they very rarely smiled back.

The city is huge

Unlike Wroclaw, the last city I went to, Berlin is massive. I definitely needed more than three days to explore properly. I used public transport as often as possible, and still walked 20,000 steps a day-which just shows how big Berlin is.

View of Berlin from the top of the Reichstag

There’s less street art than I expected

Everyone who I mentioned Berlin to said there’s so much street art, and I was really excited to see splashes of colour everywhere. Sadly though there really isn’t, not in certain districts anyway. I did find a few bits, and a neighourhood full of colour, but the more touristy parts of the city didn’t have street art.

Have you been to Berlin before? What were your first impressions of Berlin?


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