BERLIN: Scene on the Street

Time to read:

2 minutes

This is a post for snaps that didn’t fit anywhere so far or that I didn’t think to include when it would have fit nicely with the narrative. Sometimes these are the most interesting impressions of the trip.

What’s wrong with this picture? Not a single stop sign on any of the four corners! The rule is: Yield to the car on your right. They do, and these cars are zipping through here at around 5 p.m.

This is how the mail gets delivered door-to-door in this neighborhood.

This is how the sidewalks get cleaned in this part of town.

The sign on the cab is an ad for a hotel-related website. There’s no company name or phone number on a cab. That means everybody but me knows the number to call (or they schedule online). I checked five cab web sites; only the company name was different. The layout and language are identical. Maybe the owners figured a taxi is a commodity, so why not throw in together, drive costs to the minimum and make a little extra in advertising?

This is the Bücherwald (something like “forest of books”). People take books and leave them. It’s free. The tree trunks stand right next to the sidewalk in a highly gentrified area of the former East Zone.

“The biggest festival of the year.” This poster is everywhere along the tracks, even at abandoned stations that the trains pass. It’s promoting the Day of German Unity, when the eastern and western parts of Germany were reunited. The day, October 3, is a national holiday. About 1 million people are expected to party at the Brandenburg Gate.

This Schnitzel plus a beer would cost close to $30 in Munich. In Berlin, it cost about $22. My host says that the cost of housing, including apartments, has skyrocketed in Berlin, as it has all over Europe in big cities. But the other costs, such as food, have remained lower in Berlin.

These photos are made with an iPhone X. I keep data roaming turned on, Google Maps guiding my every step and the camera app running. I thought that would use a ton of data. It doesn’t. But it drains the battery. Once the phone battery gets to 25%, I connect the phone to an external battery in my back pocket that could charge the phone several times over.

Whoever said “cash is king” could have been German. Electronic payments are making inroads, especially among the young. But about 80% of the cafes, stores, restaurants, etc., that I entered just wanted cash.

Someone smarter than I suggested I let my phone help find its way back home if it got lost. Using the lock screen this way won’t make anyone return the phone, of course. But if it falls into the hands of someone inclined to help, it should make that easier.


3 responses to “BERLIN: Scene on the Street”

  1. edmetzler Avatar

    I’m glad to see the corner markets survive in Germany. It was so nice going to the corner market next to our house in Rossdorf to pick up dinner for the night. That was in the 80s, of course, and I’ve often wondered if they were still there.

    1. Clint Swift Avatar

      Could be. Maybe ownership passed down to the next generation. The need probably still exists in a society where opening hours and even days are regulated and monitored.

  2. patyclark Avatar

    Thanks, Clint! Very interesting. I’m impressed with how modern and clean everything is.


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