Thursday, February 6, 2014

To The Bank!

So after obtaining our visas one of the last few things we need to do is to set up a German bank account. We researched and decided that we'd go with Deutsche Bank, for a few reasons, one of which is that they are often the choice of expats because they have apparently have the best English-speaking assistance (online, via phone, and in person- especially at the touristic Alexanderplatz). We had originally planned on going in on Monday, but found when calling that they were booked and that we needed to make an appointment. Luckily they had one for the next day, as many things require a German bank account, such as ordering our German cell phone service.

We left our place early, so we could take the Ubahn down to the Kreuzberg district and have a look around. We're trying to investigate which neighborhood we want to live in, after our 2 month sublet is up. We're beginning to surf the German version of craigslist, Immobilien Scout 24, but even after searching that site, numerous blogs, and using the knowledge and wisdom of actual Berliners, we're still unsure of the characters of each district. It's actually something that has drawn us to Berlin- the fact that this city is still constantly changing and evolving. It's too difficult for a layman like me to explain in a few sentences, but needless to say, we don't yet understand this place and it's sections- where they are now, where they will be in a month when we sign a lease, and where they will be after that lease is up.

Anywho, one of the neighborhoods we're looking into is the Kreuzberg district. We came to the surface and arrived right in the middle of the platz at the Kottbusser Tor station. It was a very busy, bustling area with a diverse crowd. It's the district with the highest population of Turkish people in Berlin, so obviously there were a ton of Turkish restaurants that Rahsan was drooling over. There were actually restaurants of nearly every cuisine, from Asian to Mexican, and coffee houses on top of coffee houses on top of coffee houses. Those scored some major points for Kreuzberg.

Rahsan at the bank!
Before we knew it, after only a walk around the block, we had to head back to Alexanderplatz to make our appointment at the bank. As expected, they were very welcoming to us English-speakers. A friendly young guy quickly and easily set up our account, while I asked him many, many questions, ranging from language to housing in Berlin. Much of it was difficult to understand and went right over my head. But we're closer to properly pronouncing Friedrichshain, another neighborhood we're interested in. After he set everything up, of course we needed to sign loads of paperwork. None of it was translated into English. So we looked at each other and aside from asking for a couple of questions about the terms, we shrugged and signed away our souls, or perhaps just to their modest terms, we have no idea either way.   

After that, we walked in the direction of home, stopping off at a photography supply store to buy some film. Walking home, we realized that Alexanderplatz is closer than we thought. Two stops on the metro and a 15 to 20 minute walk and we move from our quiet block to one of the busiest plazas in Berlin.

The hot 43 degree Fahrenheit weather!

The Berlin Fernsehturm

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