Berlin: Survival Guide
Transport-wise, the U/S-Bahn maps are super easy to understand, even if you don’t sprechen Deutsch. You have to pay for your ticket before you get on, and if you’re going to be there a while it’s a good idea to buy a long-term ticket. Obviously if you get off on adrenalin and petty crime, don’t bother buying one at all, but strict guards do patrol the trains and will fine you €40 on the spot, even if you cry. On weekdays, the U-Bahn closes at 12.30am, but on the weekend it’s open all night long.
The cheapest supermarkets on offer are Aldi, Lidl and Pennymarkt. If you’re feeling like you can afford a splurge, Kaisers offers the essentials, but be prepared to pay no less than your soul. Not only do you have to pack your own shopping bags, but you have to pay about 7c each for them, so it’s recommended that you BYO.
Also, for some strange reason you are legally required to carry photo ID at all times in Berlin, even if it’s just a student card. But this law is totally compensated by the fact that you can drink in public.
And if you get spat on or abused in the street for no particular reason, never fear – it’s not your body odour or your physical appearance. As a general rule, Berliners just hate tourists. Don’t take it personally – they’re just really hipster, so try and fit in by wearing eco-friendly garments, getting a pixie fringe and learning how to order a radler like a local.