Oct 1st, 2002, 12:44 PM
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any experiences to report with native berliners??i will be spending quite a bit of time there and just heard someone on the radio say the people were ruder than new yorkers (especially to those who speak german poorly or not at all)
Oct 1st, 2002, 12:55 PM
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My sister lives in Berlin and loves it there. Of course she is fluent in German and knows the country very well. On the other hand, I have had great difficulty there because I don't speak German and found the people to be very rude and brusque towards me - even the younger people who I was told speak English. Perhaps your experience will be different from mine (hopefully!) but this treatment has been consistent for the last 4 years, every time I go visit her.

I am fluent in French and Italian and will take France or Italy over Germany ANY DAY. Best of luck to you nonetheless!
Oct 1st, 2002, 02:34 PM
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We were in Berlin last month for 4 days. We spoke no German & got along fine. The people in our hotel, the post office, the train station & the restaurants were very polite & helpful.
Throught Germany we foung that English was spoken more in Berlin than anywhere else. Don't worry about it.
Oct 4th, 2002, 09:07 AM
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Was there for 6 days in July with my wife and we had no problems whatsoever with the natives! We were treated politely and helped when necessary just as we have been in most countries we have visited.
Oct 7th, 2002, 02:53 PM
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I have friends that live there and have gone to visit them once (about 4 years ago). I had NO problems and found that they (the Berliners) were friendly and helpful - or at least they were more friendly and helpful than those natives of other large city. I do speak German, but I'm very rusty, so I wasn't speaking very good German when I was there so I don't think it changes if you speak German or not.
Oct 8th, 2002, 06:32 AM
Jinx Hoover
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When John F. Kennedy proclaimed, "Ich bin ein Berliner" in the early 1960's, he literally was saying, "I am a jellied donut"! A Berliner is a German pastry.

Jinx Hoover
Oct 8th, 2002, 06:36 AM
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I'll take the Germans anyday over the French.
Oct 8th, 2002, 06:46 AM
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I prefer "I'm a little jelly donut."

You can purchase small plastic replicas of little jelly donuts, usually in the form of key rings. The chubby little east German "walk" sign man was also memorialized in this way (the west German "walk" sign man was skinnier and altogether less jolly-appearing).

I found people in Berlin to be quite pleasant and helpful. Like city dwellers everywhere they will not invade your space unless invited to do so (unless it's truly an emergency, like the woman who alerted me to a ladder in my stockings one evening on a subway escalator---she was reticent, but clearly felt the situation warranted the intrusion, for which I was most grateful).
Oct 8th, 2002, 07:05 AM
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I had no problem. I know just a few phrases of German, but everyone was kind and patient. (Several even started speaking in English because they wanted to practice their English with a native speaker). I even had a wonderful lady help me locate Marlene Dietrich's grave.

By the way, I have one of those keyrings and I love it.
Oct 8th, 2002, 11:49 AM
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I had my worst restaurant experience in Berlin, a few years ago. I was there for a conference and a group of us were eating at a restaurant, occupying 2 tables. My colleague was brought a dish he hadn't ordered. On pointing this out, he was roundly abused, indeed yelled at, by the waiter. So for a quiet life, he decided to accept the dish and started to eat it. 2 minutes later the waiter reappeared, snatched the plate from in front of him and took it away to give to the person who had ordered it. My colleague's order was slammed down in front of him a few minutes later.

But, apart from this, I loved Berlin and have been back since then.
Oct 8th, 2002, 12:19 PM
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For a debunking of the jelly doughnut story, see
Oct 8th, 2002, 12:59 PM
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Thanks for the urban legends link. It doesn't take much for a story to perpetuate.

Oct 9th, 2002, 05:35 AM
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Berlin is a big city and as is true of any big city you will find more rude people than in the more rural areas - I guess it goes with big city life. I have found that throughout Europe, the incidence of rudeness is much smaller than it is in many U.S. cities. I also think that what we call rudeness on the part of some Europeans is actually a response to real or perceived rudeness on our parts. Rudeness is a personal trait not a national trait and you will find Berliners to be no more or less rude than in any other big city in Europe.

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