It was August 2016 when I arrived in this beautiful city. It was summer, but it was raining. I arrived with someone, who is also from my country and also a nurse like me. We were tired after a long flight and two stopovers, but that time I didn’t mind it. As soon as the plane took off from Istanbul, I could already hear people speaking in German. I could already feel the ‘‘Germany”, that’s it, the reality was finally sinking in.
We arrived at Tegel Airport, which is located in West Berlin and is the main international airport of the city. We were fetched by the owner of the agency where we directly applied as a nurse then we were brought to a locality called Wannsee, which is located in the Southwestern part of Berlin.
Arriving there, I met halfway somebody I know, and the first thing I heard was, her complaints, that it was summer but it was raining!
Well, I didn’t let myself be affected by it. I already like the area Wannsee. It is too quiet, with beautiful houses plus there are lakes in the area. For people who don’t like this quiet corner, could live in the heart of the city or in the Mitte. In the German language, that means center. One of the famous public squares in the heart of Berlin is the Alexanderplatz, some locals call it Alex. Within this area, you could see and visit the Fernsehturm and the World Time Clock. People use these landmarks as a meeting place. You couldn’t leave Berlin without visiting Alexanderplatz or taking a photo of the World Time Clock. The word ‘‘Fersehturm” means television tower which has served both as a symbol of Communist power and of Berlin. It is the tallest structure in the city that it could be seen in some suburban districts.
If you want to experience going to the sphere of the tower within 40 seconds using a lift, you need to pay for an entrance fee which costs 12 Euro if I am not mistaken since it was already a year ago when I went to the tower as I celebrated my first anniversary in the city. What makes this tower more interesting for tourists is this rotating restaurant. It rotates once every 30 minutes, and you couldn’t even notice it sometimes. If you want to know more about this amazing restaurant, just try to visit the site and you’ll definitely know the prices and how to book. Yes, you have to book in advance. About 1,500 people want to visit the restaurant every day out of 5,000 visitors of the said tower.
Berlin is such a colorful city from people, cultures, streets and to buildings. Out of 3,5 million population, estimated last 2016, 30% of it is foreign-born inhabitants and this was estimated ten years ago. If you’re planning to move to the city or visit Berlin and thought you couldn’t survive here without learning the language, you’re mistaken. Almost all people here speak English especially if you go to districts where tourists swamped for clubs and parties like Kreuzberg, where you could see this street art and graffiti, and the East Side Gallery, a famous landmark in which the longest remaining part of the Berlin Wall is located and is now converted to an open-air art gallery.
So if you intend to have a sniff of the city for a couple of days, you don’t have to worry if you don’t speak the city’s language or for fear of getting lost. When I was still new here, I always bring along this map with me, but sometimes there are locations which are hard to find especially if one is still new. I was in one of the stations with a map in my hand, trying to figure out which direction I should take when an elderly woman approached me and offered help. Yeah, 99% chance that somebody will approach you and offer help even without asking for it, you wouldn’t be alone in Berlin!
Even now 2 years after that incident, when I go to some areas in the city which I am not so familiar with, I don’t have to be anxious about getting lost. As long as I have a phone with internet connection, a Google map (but I am not really good in reading map) and that courage to ask locals for direction, it won’t be a problem anymore. But I always look for these signs anywhere I go, that huge S and U; whenever I see them it relieves me somehow. S stands for S-Bahn or schnellbahn, which means a rapid transit railway train in Berlin, and the latter means underground train or subway.
There are many reasons why Berlin is such a wonderful city, and the locals say, sometimes sarcastically, Berlin, du bist wunderbar. But everyone is entitled to his own opinion.
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