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An Englishman's experience of Berlin

Windsor, UK
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17 posts
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An Englishman's experience of Berlin

I spent last weekend in Berlin for my stag do with 30 friends.

We had a good time in Berlin but were not hugely impressed with the city. It is very run down/graffiti/empty buildings etc., compared to London it is third world.

We went to watch Hertha Berlin which was great fun and the locals appreciated our vocal support.

The Berlin bar scene though was poor. We went to 'Prater Garten' which had been recommended. It was like an old Wetherspoons, half of us were dining and when the others turned up they were not allowed in as "there are too many English in here", we weren't even rowdy!

We went down Simon-Dach Str. but all the bars were very quiet, not much atmosphere.

The bars on Oranienburger Str. where ok but not that welcoming of English.

Kudorf club was very hostile, Germans giving us evil looks.

We had a great night in CLub Radio Shurn (near Alexanderplatz) though! (Good Quality techno!)

I really don't know how Germany will cope during the World Cup and for a capital city which should be the showpiece of any country Berlin is a let down!

Berlin, Germany
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1. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

Hi,

you really make me laugh!

Ok, as a Berliner I am really sorry...

- that the Berliners aren't hospitable...it's just that Berlin didn't wait for a group of 30 drunk englishmen. Why don't you go to London for your stag weekend? I'm sure there they'll love a drunk mob (at least they are used to it)!

- that you didn't like the nightlife. But I hope that you realized that nightlife in Berlin earliest starts at midnight? What did you expect when you went to the Ku'dorf. This club isn't hip at all! Just visited by proles and bumpkins.

-that the city seems to be 3rd world. I'm sure you know something about the city's history?! If not just inform yourself what Berlin was looking like 15 years ago. You will be impressed how fast the eastern part of the city has developed!

WA
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2. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

England?

Where is England? Who wants to know?

Hanau, Germany
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326 posts
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3. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

I usually never do that, but I have to comment on this statement:

Where has the politeness gone that the English used to be proud of? If you were behaving the same way when you were staying in Berlin, it is well possible that you were the rude person and deserved the hostile looks of the Germans (are you actually aware that stag nights are virtually unknown in Germany? From my experiences with stag nights I have seen in British seaside towns, I think that Berlin wasn't actually waiting for your group...).

And 3rd world? I really love London (I'm a regular visitor), but Berlin doesn't get as 3rd world as the area around the Millwall stadium. So, watch what you're saying...

london
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4. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

Englishman Part 2:

Spent the weekend with my girlfriend in Berlin (2nd trip) and had a wonderful time. It has a great mix of old and new (potsdamer platz and the sony centre are amazing in a strange way).

We did a the touristy things and saw the carnival (found it weird that 90 year olds were fighting for cheap sweats thrown onto the floor).

One thing I don't like is the insistance of all berliners to speak english to you.

Anyway, I love the place and want to go back as there are many places I've yet to see!

Mark

Las Vegas, Nevada
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for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
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5. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

In my experience, your enjoyment of a place has more to do with you than the inhabitants. You can visit what most people would consider horrible destinations and have a great time, or excellent destinations and have a horrible time. If you are polite, courteous, smile and be pleasant, almost all people will respond to you nicely and be friendly. If you are argumentative, put the local people down, or are drunk, you'll get the opposite response. However, sometimes you can be pleasant and come across the wrong person who upsets you. If that's the case, the important thing is not to let that affect you personally, shrug it off, still be pleasant, and you'll probably still have a good time. If you let that one experience cloud your mind and make you react in an unpleasant manner (for instance frown or glare instead of smiling) to other people you meet, you'll have a horrible time, and each new bad experience will reinforce your bad behavior in a vicious cycle. I've at least learned that in my travels. One time my step-father was visiting me when I lived in Texas. Everybody was extremely nice until he made an innocent remark as a joke that people didn't like, you could see people turn to ice and I thought they would almost lynch him. So sometimes it doesn't take much to set people off, and what you consider to be inoffensive dress, speech or behavior might not be.

I'm sorry that you didn't have a good visit, but few people react favorably to a group of young men (especially foreigners) that are or have been heavily drinking and their purpose for visiting is to get drunk. English football fans in the past have given people a legitimate reason to be leery.

Hanau, Germany
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6. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

:dear: That sounds much better to me. Berlin is a strange place as it was a divided city that still is in the process of becoming one. It's dirty and run down at places (no wonder, the city is more or less bankrupt), and brand new and futuristic at others. But I found that Canary Wharf was as strange as Potsdamer Platz, so there is no such big difference again.

I thought about what annoyed me so much about revolution's post: Imagine 30 loud Germans would "invade" an English city, talking German loudly. I'm convinced that they would get VERY evil looks (and in some places maybe even a smacking). I once visited London with a group of three friends and we were merely talking to each other in German (not loud, not drunk). An old fellow approached us, yelling "the Panzers are rolling again" (no kidding!) and we were glad to be able to switch to English.

The bottom line: I really like the English society and people a lot. That's why it annoys me that some people (gladly its just a few) confuse the fact that their mother tongue is world language no. 1 with the right to being totally ignorant toward a culture which is not theirs. So revolution, if you read this sometime, maybe think about the impression you have made to the people around you and you might understand their behaviour better.

Windsor, UK
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7. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

Let me make one thing clear, we enjoyed Berlin!

The thing is Germans think all English groups of men are football hooligans, when we are not. Some of your countrymen didn't give us a chance!

My comment about the appearance of Berlin is factual.

Germany
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8. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

> We had a good time in Berlin but were not hugely impressed with the city. It is very run down/graffiti/empty buildings etc., compared to London it is third world.

Grafitti is a real (and my view political) Berlin problem. Other cities are able to fight it.

"empty buildings"

There are a lot of *development spaces* (isn't this the nicer word?) in Berlin. The city has now approx. 1 mio inhabitants less than before WWII. And the battle of Berlin was one of the biggest battles ever in history. Than the "Cold War". The big companies moved their headquarters from Berlin to the West.

> We went to 'Prater Garten' which had been recommended.

That's something for Summer. But if it comes to beer gardens or beer halls Berlin is really not the first choice in Germany.

> stag tours and the English

The attitude towards getting drunk is quite different between both countries. Between football fans there maybe not much difference, but otherwise getting drunk is not socially accepted in the same way like in the UK.

You may have already noticed that barely any question about a stag tour will be answered in the forums.

> The bars on Oranienburger Str. where ok but not that welcoming of English.

With larger groups you'll often run into problems. It must not even be a stag tour.

In the beer gardens in Munich or the wine pubs (Heurigen Lokal) in Vienna this will be no problem, they are used to bigger groups or even live from them. For smaller places and esp. the ones which live in first place from the locals (and this is in Berlin mostly the case) larger groups are a problem. In doubt they will opt for the local/normal clientele.

> Kudorf club was very hostile, Germans giving us evil looks.

If your countrymen at home would it keep it just to "evil looks" it would be nice.

> for a capital city which should be the showpiece of any country

No. At least not in my (German) view.

Germany is not as centralistic as England and France, where e.g. London/Paris have been always the *centre* - not just the capital.

Berlin is *just* the political centre. And this only since 1871 (with interruptions). It is not the cultural centre of Germany (albeit an important one). And certainly not the industrial or economical centre of Germany. With a GDP per head below the German average definitly not.

And while in Greater London or Greater Paris approx. 25% of all English/French live, Greater Berlin (Berlin + Potsdam + sand + water + forests) counts just for 5% of all Germans.

Bristol, UK
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9. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

we (4 of us - 3 guys one woman)went to Berlin in March 2005 and had the most amazing time! We found that some of the best clubs in berlin were well hidden in warehouses etc with one tiny doorway leading into a huge friendly nightclub (Pfefferberg being an all time brilliant place!) I'm not surprised that a group of 30 lads had trouble finding somewhere to go. The way around it is to get to know the locals and ask their advice - this is very hard to do in large groups but it worked wonders for us. And yes the nightlife doesnt get going until after midnight (we once went out for dinner at 2330 and then went out partying all night - Clubnacht - 11 euro for entry to 31 clubs - awesome! once a year i believe)

As for stag parties Prague or amsterdam are much more set up for that kind of weekend.

I must disagree with the whole graffiti and development comments you made - for me this makes berlin a more exciting venue - the graffiti is part of the process of berlin becoming a unified city and dealing with its politically charged and troubled past.

Berlin is the ultimate party town for me with very friendly locals, and a fascinating past. It is however a different culture to the UK - and for me thats the whole point of going.

I love berlin and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in a youthful vibrant culture which is still trying to work out which direction to take as a reunified city.

uk
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10. Re: An Englishman's experience of Berlin

i must agree with the statement about the garffiti.

i came back from berlin end of feb, i was really looking foward to my trip.

but i was actually disapointed, i thought berlin was a dump.