Whether it‘s the cathedral in Cologne or the Berlin wall, Germany‘s cities are full of history. Even though many old buildings have been destroyed during the second world war, some cities like Ravensburg still have their medieval town centre. In those narrow alleys it can be tough, not to get lost. But even in more modern cities like Frankfurt, you might want to ask someone for directions.
„Wie komme ich nach X?“ means „How do i get to X?“. „Nach rechts“ means „to the right“, „nach links“ means „to the left“ and „geradeaus“ means „straight ahead“. So if someone tells you: „Gehen Sie die erste nach rechts und dann die zweite nach links“, it means: „you‘ll have to take the 1st road to the right and then the second one on your left“. If know one knows how to get to the place your looking for, or if you just can‘t find it, you could ask for the tourist information by saying: „Wo finde ich die Touristeninformation?“
If you go by car and if you‘re from the UK, you should remember that the cars in Germany drive on the right side of the road! As you might have heard, Germany‘s highways - „Autobahn“ - often don‘t have speed limits but that doesn‘t mean they don‘t have them anywhere, especially near towns or on very busy parts of the road. Ignoring a speed limit can be very expensive! Within a town you‘re not allowed to drive faster then 50km/h.
If you travel by „Fahrrad“ (bicycle) you should be aware that it‘s illegal for grown-ups to drive on the „Bürgersteig“ (sidewalk). It is also illegal to drive drunk! You can rent bikes at a local „Fahrradverleih“.
Luckily „Bahnhöfe“ (trainstations) usually have signs in German and English. You can buy tickets at the counter or use your credit card with one of the ticket automates. There you can choose your language. To understand what‘s on your ticket you need to know that „Gleis“ means platform, „Wagen“ means wagon and „Sitzplatz“ means seat.
If you can‘t find your way, just ask the information desk!
Taxis are usually yellow in Germany but in some states they are allowed to have a different color. All taxis have a yellow Taxi sign on the car roof. You‘ll find detailed information about the rates within the taxi. It is important to know that a taxi driver, who doesn‘t have another customer, is not allowed to reject a customer. He‘s bound by law to drive you unless you want him to leave the city!
Some German cities offer „Frauentaxis“ (literally: women taxis) which will transport female customer after dark for a reduced fee so they don‘t have to walk in the dark on their own. If you feel uneasy with a male driver you could ask the „Taxizentrale“ (cab office) for a „weiblichen Fahrer“ or „Fahrerin“ (female driver).
In „Großstädten“ (major cities) you‘ll also find the „U-Bahn“ (subway) or „S-Bahn“ (city railway). They offer English websites and the „Fahrstrecken“ (routes) are usually color coded, so it shouldn‘t be a problem for you to find the right train. In Berlin they have something called „Berlin Welcome Card“, which costs around €16 and allows you to use the U-Bahn and S-Bahn for 48 hours. Additionally you‘ll get a map and a 50% discount at more then 140 highlights of the German capital, like sightseeing tours, boat tours, museums and much more.
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