As is now tradition, I close out this series with The Good, the Bad and the Thank-yous, or, in this case, the Dankeschöns (see, my German is getting better). This is where you’ll find a wrap-up of what I thought was good, what I thought was not-so-good, and my thanks for those who helped me along the way on this trip and, in general, made it a better experience. You’ll also find all of the links mentioned in this series, all in one handy place (click-away). Finally, here is where you’ll find my approximate spending broken down by category so, in case you’d like to do a similar trip, you’ll have an approximate budget. As always, your mileage may vary according to time of year, how much you eat and drink, and other ever-changing situations (because that’s what travel is all about).

First, a reminder of a big part of this project; you may be wondering, “Wait, what happened to the volunteer part of Drop Me Anywhere and Rebel-With-A-Cause?” It’s coming. Unfortunately, volunteering doesn’t seem to be a big part of Berlin’s culture (I’m not saying that there is none, but it’s not easy to find). As I’ll be traveling more in Germany, with the help of the German National Tourist Office, I believe I may have found an interesting project in a different city. Watch out for it in the coming weeks.

Also, please don’t forget to vote on the next Drop Me Anywhere location. Voting ends January 20th! Vote here!

The Good

The Bad

The Dankeschöns

The Costs

Air – $786 (one way, booked through Webjet)

Accommodations – $157.00 (yup). Please note that this includes the $100 annual fee I paid for membership to Trusted Housesitters. If you’re an animal lover and you travel, this is a great way to get free lodging as well as have a warm, fuzzy friend to come home to.

Food and Beverage – $350.24. This includes groceries as, when you stay at a house, flat or apartment, you have the option of cooking.

Ground Transportation (buses, trains, parking, taxis) – $98.52. Note that this price includes a five-day Berlin Welcome Card which Visit Berlin was kind enough to supply. At €32, it’s well worth it.

Attractions/Activities – $64.20 (again, while I received some media rates, this number includes actual prices of things).

Miscellaneous fees and tips – $9.00

For a grand total of 1464.96..

The Links

Transportation (Air, Ground, Underground)

Berlin Welcome Card

VBB app

Webjet

Accommodations

Berlin Plaza Hotel

Cheap Tickets

House Careers

Hyatt Place Hotel

Trusted House Sitters

Restaurants

Carisma Bakery

Activities

Brandenburg Gate

Charlottenburg Christmas Market

Deutsche Opera

Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

KaDeWe

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche Christmas Market

Lagoa Yoga

Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted under the National Socialist Regime

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Radio Tower (Funkterm)

Reichstag Building

Schloss Charlottenburg

Staatsballett Berlin

Topography of Terror

WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt

General Information

Visit Berlin

 

 

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Stewart
7 years ago

Excellent information! Just one small correction – Caipirinhas are Brazilian not Argentinian!

Frank
Frank
Reply to  Stewart
7 years ago

Nice summarization and links, thank you.

While we’re at proofreading, obviously, please let me count two beans: it’s “Deutsche Oper” (die Oper = the opera) and “Funkturm” (der Turm = the tower, Funkturm = radio tower).

As for volunteering in Berlin, there are indeed, and somewhat unfortunately, MANY projects and initiatives – and they are quite easy to find, although many of them are in German, of course.

Before I give you a couple of links, please let me state that many critical thinkers deem this overboarding volunteering and charity “culture” here as part of the so-called further “Americanization” of the social fabric in Germany. What once were definitely characteristics of a social welfare state, are now increasingly becoming tasks for private citizens.

Like taking care of socially disadvantaged children, of the elderly, of poor people, etc., even handing out food to them (“Die Tafel”). That’s absolutely disgusting, further promoting both poverty and disadvantages – because these volunteers and interns (“Generation Praktikum”) are, in essence and for the most part, doing jobs they – or even better: professionally trained people – should be decently paid for. They – and society in its entirety, apart from the wealthy top class, of course – will pay the price for this in the future, no doubt about that. Old-age poverty (“Altersarmut”) because of not being paid for work is just one thing to consider.

The German government has obviously no problems whatsoever shelling out obscene numbers of billions of Euros to banksters and foreign countries, yet constantly cuts down deep on the welfare of its needy citizens. Hiring unpaid “volunteers” or even forcing unemployed people into sort of unpaid internships or “one-euro jobs” is their solution to give more money to the greedy and the rich.

Work that is deemed important enough to be done in society should be paid for. Period.

Btw, some of the info people you encounter at train stations or major bus stops here are forced by the government into these “measures”, maybe that’s in part why they are not always as friendly as trained Disney employees.

Yes, sometimes (social) life here is certainly different from what the fine brochures and colorful websites of VisitBerlin or other PR organizations run by the German or Berlin government are trying to sell to you tourists…

A couple of exemplary links for voluntary work in Berlin
in English:
http://www.givesomethingbacktoberlin.com
http://www.betterplace.org/en/portals/berlin
in German:
http://www.berlin.de/buergeraktiv/

On the topic of German men not picking up things women dropped: If you did that, i. e. pick their dropped stuff up, you’d run the risk of being accused of gender discrimination. “How do you dare, I can manage completely on my own!” So unless a lady explicitly asks for it, at least by unambiguously speaking body language, a man here is usually unlikely to help women with the doors or with their coats or with their droppings, etc. Women are considered absolutely equal and you don’t wanna mess with that and getting called a macho. Politeness or chivalry are two-edged swords in this context. And who wants to hurt himself? Or was Women’s Lib about cherry-picking??? *lol*